• Top Five Tips to Save You From a Broken Bracket

    • June 21, 2021
    • Braces

    Broken brackets can be super stressful, but with the right guidance they can be a cinch to solve. Here’s some important information even if you don’t have a broken bracket:

    Don’t panic, broken brackets happen to the best of us. Here’s what you can do in the meantime until you’re back in the clinic chair.

    First off, is the bracket still attached to the wire or is it completely off?

    You should only remove the bracket if it is extremely loose. Keep it safe until you can bring it with you to your next ortho appointment. 

    If the bracket is still attached to your wire, leave it where it is: trying to move it yourself can cause more damage.

    To keep you comfortable until your appointment, try some orthodontic wax:

    • Applying wax over the loose bracket keeps it from irritating your lips and causing sores.
    • If a loose wire is poking the inside of your mouth, put some wax over the sharp end. (add clipping instructions for wire ends here)

    Now that you’ve made things more comfortable, get help from your orthodontist.

    Even though damaged brackets don’t seem like an orthodontic emergency, get your doctor’s advice as soon as you can. 

    In certain cases, a delay in treatment could result in more damage, so give us a call at (872) 222-9567 or shoot us an email with pictures at info@wlortho.com and we’ll schedule an emergency appointment if need be.

    Do my braces still work?

    The short answer: Yes. One missing bracket doesn’t mean your treatment isn’t working any more!

    The long answer: When a bracket is broken, that means an individual tooth is no longer attached to the active wire. Which means that tooth can move in an unfavorable way. Ideally we want to prevent that from happening because that one tooth may linger behind while every other tooth continues to move.

    Every case is different, though. If the broken bracket does create a need to adjust the course of your treatment, your orthodontist will be able to tell you. Then you can plan accordingly together.

    Now that you’ve got your ortho appointment scheduled, read up on how to protect yourself from another broken bracket. Here are 5 tips to keep your orthodontics safe:

    Tip One: Avoid the Dangerous Dozen 

    Any foods that are hard, brittle, or sticky can damage your orthodontic treatment. To keep your brackets intact, steer clear of the 12 worst offenders:

    1. Caramels

    2. Taffy

    3. Hard candy

    4. Chewy candy

    5. Jelly beans

    6. Licorice

    7. Bubble gum

    8. Lollipops 

    9. Sour candy

    10. Popcorn

    11. Nuts

    12. Ice

    Don’t fret if you see your favorite treat on this list. For safer snacks that are just as delicious, the American Association of Orthodontists has you covered. Just make sure you brush afterwards!

    Tip Two: Prepare Before the Next Play

    We’re all about an active, healthy lifestyle. For athletes with braces, there are a few extra steps to play it safe. Whether you’re strapping into a football helmet or putting a mouth guard in before wrestling practice, make sure you’re taking the right precautions for your sport before you jump into the next game.

    Tip Three: Alternatives to That Dangerous Toothpick

    Using a toothpick can damage your orthodontics and your mouth. If there’s something stuck in your teeth, you’ve got much better options (that won’t give you tongue splinters):

    • Floss
    • Water irrigation
    • Interdental brushes

    You can purchase a Waterpik or orthodontic flossers in the oral care section of your local pharmacy. 

    Tip Four: Kick the Nail-Biting Habit

    Biting your nails is bad news all around. Besides the ick factor (here are 12 germ-tastic reasons to quit), chomping down on a nail could easily crack a bracket. 

    If you need help kicking the habit, try playing with slime or silly putty to keep your hands occupied, or coat your nails with one of these bitter-tasting treatments. Your brackets (and rest of you) will be grateful you did!

    Tip Five: Brush with Care

    Frequent brushing and flossing are an important part of caring for your braces (of course, you knew that already!). But did you know that brushing and flossing too hard can actually do more harm than good? 

    If you get too aggressive with your brushing, you could loosen your orthodontic appliances. 

    Thorough and gentle brushing after every meal and careful flossing and/or water irrigation at least once a day are the safest way to care for your ortho treatment as well as the rest of your mouth.

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