Fixed, metal, or ceramic braces can do wonders in correcting your dental misalignments. They can help correct bite issues, overcrowded teeth, and gappy or crooked teeth, not forgetting they help adults and children improve their smile and self-confidence.
These strong and sturdy devices push teeth into their desired positions, however, that doesn’t make them exempt from damage. Strong they may be, the responsibility of the wearer still comes into play and whilst it is very difficult to strictly steer clear of hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, these foods tend to be the main cause of broken braces.
The Most Common Parts of a Brace That Gets Damaged.
For fixed braces, whether that’s metal or ceramic, the most common parts of these fixed braces that get damaged are the brackets and archwire that runs through them. Brackets are the small, square-shaped metal or ceramic devices, bonded to each tooth, and which serve as an anchor for the archwire to attach. The archwire, in turn, applies gentle pressure to help guide teeth into their desired positions.
What Causes Braces to Break?
Although the breaking of brace brackets and wires is very common, proper care is still needed to keep them in good working condition. Your orthodontist will likely have run through how to care for your braces but sometimes, in the busyness of everyday life, we can forget, hence a broken brace ensues. Some common reasons why your braces may break are:
- Aggressive Oral Care – It is vital to maintain good oral hygiene when you have fixed braces, but it is also important that you’re not too aggressive with your brushing technique. Brushing your teeth too hard and using a hard bristled toothbrush, can damage your braces.
- Grinding Your Teeth – The pressure created on your teeth when you grind them is significant and can cause brackets to loosen and break. Also, if you have a deep bite, this can put pressure on your lower brackets, loosening and potentially causing them to detach from your teeth.
- An Inappropriate Diet – Certain foods can cause damage to your brackets and wires. Foods such as chewy gum and sweets can get stuck in between your braces and pull on the brackets and wires. Also, crunchy, and hard foods such as nuts, corn, and crisps can cause significant damage.
- Incorrect Flossing – If you have food stuck in between your braces, then using proper flossing methods such as a floss threader can help. Using your finger or the end of a pen to prod and poke food out of your braces can cause them to detach from your teeth and break.
- Sustaining an Injury – Getting hit in the mouth with considerable force can cause your brackets and wires to break or dislocate. Contact sports and physical activities can make mouth injuries more common so using a protective mouthguard could help.
How to Identify a Broken Brace.
If you suspect a broken brace, it is important to try and identify the issue. It will more than likely be obvious to see if your brace is broken by looking in a mirror. Missing brackets, floating wires or wires sticking out in the wrong direction, even rubber bands hanging off your molars at the back.
If you notice any of the small brackets are loose, gently remove them, ensuring not to swallow them. It’s important to check your teeth also, to ensure there is no additional damage. Most issues are relatively easy to spot, however, here is a run-down of just what to look out for if you need a little confirmation.
Pain or Discomfort
One of the first signs that your braces might be damaged is an increase in pain or discomfort. If you experience unusual or heightened soreness, it could be an indication that a wire or bracket has shifted or broken.
Loose Brackets or Bands
Keep an eye out for loose brackets or bands. If any part of your braces is no longer securely attached to your teeth, it’s a clear sign that there’s an issue. If possible, avoid attempting to fix it yourself and schedule an appointment with your orthodontist.
A common problem with braces is the protrusion of wires. If a wire is poking into your cheek or tongue, it may be due to a broken bracket or a misalignment. Avoid attempting to cut the wire yourself; instead, contact your orthodontist for professional assistance.
Swollen Gums or Sores
If you notice swelling or sores in your mouth, it could be a result of a broken or protruding wire irritating your gums or cheeks. Ignoring this can lead to more significant issues, so it’s important to address it promptly.
Changes in Tooth Movement
Pay attention to any unusual changes in tooth movement. If your teeth are not aligning as they should or if there’s a sudden shift, it could indicate a problem with your braces. Inform your orthodontist about any unexpected changes during your regular check-ups.
Difficulty in Chewing
Difficulty in chewing or discomfort while eating can be indicative of damaged braces. This may be caused by a loose wire or bracket interfering with your bite. Inform your orthodontist about any changes in your ability to eat comfortably.
Inspect your braces regularly for any visible signs of damage. This includes broken or loose wires, brackets, or bands. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist for a thorough examination.
How You Can Prevent Your Brace from Breaking.
To prevent damage to your braces, your orthodontist is the best person to talk to. They will give you a thorough rundown of what to eat, how to clean and properly look after your teeth and braces, and the dos and don’ts of care. It is essential to be gentle when brushing your teeth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush, and rinse your mouth after eating and brushing to dislodge any remaining bits of food. Use floss threaders or interdental brushes to remove stuck food instead of your finger.
Stick to the recommended diet of soft foods that won’t impact your braces. Stay away as much as possible from hard and crunchy foods such as nuts, corn, apples, etc, and sticky or chewy foods that get stuck easily in between your braces. Lastly, if you play contact sports or other physical activities, it is recommended to take a short break from this immediately after your braces are fitted, and when you do return, ensure you use a mouth guard in case any accidents to your face or mouth occur.
How your Expert Orthodontist in Chorley can Help.
If you suspect you have a broken brace and need assistance or guidance, then your specialist orthodontist in Chorley can help. Chorley Orthodontics offers a wide range of the latest orthodontic treatments, helping children and adults gain beautiful smiles. We are expert orthodontists in Chorley with an extensive background in fitting, maintaining, and fixing brace brackets and wires.
If you would like more information or to book an appointment with our specialist orthodontist in Chorley, we will be only too happy to discuss fixing braces and other treatment options with you. Contact us today and book your free consultation.