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How to Handle a Broken or Loose Bracket on Your Braces

By May 26, 2022December 18th, 2023No Comments

How to Handle a Broken or Loose Bracket on Your Braces

At Innovative Orthodontic Centers, we use streamlined self-ligating brackets combined with the state-of-the-art SureSmile® prescription wire system for all our Shorewood and Naperville braces patients. Not only does this ensure better results in less time, it also means improved comfort and less likelihood of issues. 

That said, minor problems can still pop up during your treatment. One of the most common ones we see is a loose or broken braces bracket. In this post, we’ll talk about what can cause a damaged bracket and how to fix it until you’re able to get to our office. 

What Causes a Loose/Broken Bracket on Braces?

What can cause this essential part of your braces to come loose? The most common culprits include:

  • Eating really hard, sticky or chewy foods – When you start orthodontic treatment, we’ll let you know the foods to avoid with braces. The list includes anything really hard (e.g., raw carrots, hard rolls, pizza crust, Doritos, hard taco shells, nuts, ice, popcorn, hard candy), chewy (e.g., hard, chewy bagels, beef jerky, caramel, Starburst, jelly beans) or sticky (e.g., caramel, gum, candy, etc.). You’ll also want to steer clear of food you bite directly into like whole, raw apples, corn on the cob and meat on the bone (off the cob or bone is fine). 

Eating these foods with braces on is the number one reason patients experience a loose braces bracket, as well as bent archwires and loose bands.  

  • Mouth injuries – A traumatic mouth injury can damage your appliance. This is why it’s important to always wear a mouthguard when playing sports or doing any physical activity that could result in a blow to the face. 
  • Chewing on non-food items – To keep your braces safe, don’t chew on your fingernails, ice, pens, pencils or any other hard objects. 
  • Biting down hard on a lower braces bracket – As your teeth shift and your bite changes, you’ll want to be careful about accidentally biting down really hard on a lower bracket. The bite force may loosen it. 
  • Aggressive brushing – Aggressive brushing and flossing can lead to breakage. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and be gentle when cleaning around your appliance. 
  • Bond failure – Occasionally, there can be low bond strength between the bracket and the tooth. This can happen because of things like saliva contamination during the bonding procedure. When bond failure is behind a loose bracket on your braces, the bracket will usually start to get wiggly within a day or two of it being placed. 

Emergency Orthodontist

Do I Need an Emergency Orthodontist?

Appointment for a Loose Bracket on My Braces?

Text or email our office any time your braces are damaged. A team member will let you know if a repair appointment is necessary and they can also walk you through how to fix a loose bracket on your braces at home so you’ll be comfortable in the meantime. 

If you’re not in pain and you’re booked for a check-up soon, you can usually wait until your regular visit. In other cases, if your appointment is a while away or the problem will interfere with the tooth movements we planned, you’ll need to come in to have the bracket fixed. 

How to Fix a Broken Bracket

Here’s what to do for a loose bracket on your braces:

  • Secure the broken bracket – If the braces bracket comes completely off a back tooth and it’s bothering you, you can carefully slide it off of your wire. Put it in an envelope or container and bring it with you to your appointment. 

For a loose or broken braces bracket in the front of the mouth, gently move the bracket into its correct position. Use a piece of clean tissue or gauze to dry the bracket. Then, break off a piece of orthodontic relief wax, roll it in between your fingers to warm it up and flatten it over the bracket to hold it in place and prevent cheek and gum irritation. 

  • Remedy your wire – Sometimes, when a bracket breaks, it causes the archwire to slip out of the bracket slots on your back teeth. You can use sterilized tweezers to gently try to place the wire back in the tube. If that doesn’t work and the wire is poking you, you can also carefully use the eraser end of a new pencil or a clean cotton swab to push the wire against the nearest tooth and out of the way. Cover the loose wire with your braces wax.
  • Determine whether you should skip the rubber bands – Don’t connect rubber bands to a loose bracket or band. However, if the brackets or bands they attach to aren’t affected, you can continue to wear them. 
  • Use a mouth rinse – If the damaged bracket is irritating the soft tissues of your mouth, get relief by making a salt water rinse. Dissolve ½ teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of warm water. Swish the salt water around in your mouth and spit it out. Repeat until you finish the glass. A product like Colgate® Peroxyl®, a mouthwash formulated for mouth ulcers and irritation, can be helpful too. 
  • Notify your orthodontist – As we said, you should text or email our office and tell us about the situation. We’ll determine if an emergency appointment is needed and we can offer additional guidance on how to fix a broken bracket at home. 


Innovative Orthodontic Centers Has Your Braces Needs Covered!

Haven’t started orthodontic treatment yet and interested in learning about your options? In need of an emergency orthodontist in Naperville or Shorewood? As one of the world’s leading Invisalign® and SureSmile braces providers, Dr. Manal Ibrahim and Dr. Christine Gin can help. 

Our American board-certified orthodontists will get your braces treatment back on track or offer personalized treatment recommendations to bring out the best in your smile. Schedule a complimentary consultation at Innovative Orthodontic Centers today!