More likely than not, you will have broken braces at some point during your treatment. Not because you didn’t take care of them or because they’re not durable, but because sometimes life has other plans for us. Fortunately, broken braces are not usually a dangerous emergency and will not alter the course of your teeth’s movement. For the most part, broken braces are more annoying than anything else. To help minimize the frustration they cause, here are some at-home things you can do until they are repaired.
How Do They Break?
Removable braces can become warped if exposed to excessively high or low temperatures (such as being left out in the sun or washed with hot or cold water). They can also become damaged if stepped on, chewed up, or crushed. Usually, clear aligners can be kept in good condition if you put them in their case when you’re not wearing them and follow Dr. Johnson’s cleaning instructions closely.
Metal and clear braces can break due to facial injury or trauma, being too rough on them when cleaning, and consistently eating non-approved food (though sometimes it can happen after just one “cheat day”)! Wearing a mouthguard, gently cleaning, and maintaining the diet Dr. Johnson prescribed can preserve your braces and oral health.
What Do I Do When They Break?
Throughout his years of practice, Dr. Johnson has seen more than a few broken braces and, as a member of the Schulman Study Group, knows precisely how to help. The following are some of his tips and tricks that you can use to minimize the disruption broken braces cause until you can get them fixed.
Bust out your orthodontic wax!
This is a removable, waxy product you can put on your braces and clear aligners in the spots troubling you. When applied, the wax is a barrier between the appliance and your skin, preventing uncomfortable poking and rubbing, which reduces the risk of open wounds. Its transparency allows it to blend in as much as possible, so you never have to choose comfort over style—even if you have clear braces or aligners!
If you don’t have any orthodontic wax handy, stop by our office for a complimentary pack. You could also try an oral numbing product like Orajel. Numbing solutions will minimize discomfort but won’t stop the issue from progressing, so keep an eye on the problem area!
Try to put the bracket back in place.
Depending on the severity of the damage, you might be able to push your bracket gently back into place and use orthodontic wax to hold it. This will inhibit friction irritation and further divergence. If your bracket has come all the way off, put it in a safe location until your appointment.
IMPORTANT: DO NOT try to glue your bracket back on yourself, and DO NOT attempt to remove it if it is still attached to your braces or teeth. For your safety, let Dr. Johnson perform all repairs and removals!
Cut or bend wires.
If a broken wire is sticking out or poking you, use nail clippers or small wire cutters to cut the wire down. You want to get as close to the teeth as possible. Be careful not to cut yourself or swallow any metal. If you are uncomfortable trimming your own wires, don’t worry, there’s another way. Try bending the wire until it is no longer rubbing against you.
After bending or cutting, cover the wire with orthodontic wax to protect your cheek and gums.
Maintain oral hygiene.
If your fixed braces break, it might seem like a good idea to discontinue your oral hygiene so that you don’t damage them more. However, that’s not the case! You should still continue your routine to avoid infection, tooth decay, or gum disease; just be gentle!
Rinsing with warm salt water is a good way to prevent sores, swelling, and infected wounds. You can also try an antiseptic mouthwash to disinfect the mouth if you cannot gargle salt water.
Eat soft food.
Eating the wrong food is one way to break your fixed braces in the first place and is a great way to make the issue worse! Until we repair your appliance, eat soft foods like smoothies and soups. Eating hard food can produce unnecessary pain and further harm the devices.
Even if your severed wires or dislocated brackets are not causing you discomfort, you should still eat soft food to keep their condition stable until repaired.
This last tip is specifically for patients with clear aligners. If your aligner is unwearable, use your previous tray until you receive a replacement. Do NOT advance to the next tray in the set unless Dr. Johnson tells you to do so!
Lastly, Visit Johnson Orthodontics For Repairs.
Dr. Johnson and his team have seen it all and are more than capable of repairing or replacing your braces. Contact our office as soon as possible and be completely honest about what happened and the extent of the damage so that we can schedule an appointment for you and provide appropriate care instructions. Don’t be embarrassed to say you were eating something you shouldn’t have or forgot to wear your mouthguard to practice—we won’t judge you! We only want to help.
No matter your needs, Johnson Orthodontics has got you covered. To learn which treatment is best for you, schedule your free consultation in our Rehoboth Beach office today!