What You Need to Know about Broken Bracket Braces

For many people who wear braces, broken bracket braces are one of the scariest things that they have had to deal with at some point during their treatment program. Fortunately, this type of situation is easy to resolve and is not typically cause for immediate concern. The purpose of our article is to teach you about the causes of this ocurrence and to offer guidance on what to do if it happens to you.

dentist checking braces

Broken Bracket Braces Causes

The first thing we are going to discuss in our article on broken bracket braces is the primary causes for this situation. For starters, it’s important to understand that this is actually a very common occurrence for many orthodontic patients. In fact, many professionals agree that it is the most common issue that they see in their patients.

The reason for this is that your braces brackets are actually quite fragile and lightweight. With this in mind, one of the leading causes of damage to them is eating the wrong types of foods. During your initial consultation, your orthodontist likely recommended that you steer clear of various foods. One of the recommendations was probably hard foods like ice, jawbreaker candies, and popcorn.

For many patients, they feel that occasionally snacking on these types of foods can pose little harm. Unfortunately, these foods can cause the bracket to completely snap. In addition, they can cause a loose bracket on braces as well.

Less common causes of brackets breaking include sustaining an injury to the mouth and using your toothbrush too vigorously. In the case of mouth injury, the most likely cause of this is contact sports like football. To prevent this, invest in a high-quality mouthguard that is approved for braces wearers.

As for brushing and flossing habits, always remember to use gentle strokes and a circular motion when you are cleaning your teeth. This can help prevent snagging the wire bracket and result in a more thorough cleaning job over time.

What Happens When a Bracket Comes off?

The most important thing to understand about your braces bracket coming off is that it’s generally not an emergency situation. Since this is a common issue, there is a wide range of things you can do in the short-term while you wait to see your orthodontist for reattachment. However, there are still some long-term effects that can occur should you choose to ignore the situation.

For starters, the bracket is the main element of your braces that applies specific pressure to certain areas of your mouth. With this important piece missing, your teeth are not being shifted into the correct position any longer. This can eventually result in teeth returning to their original positions. In addition, it can ultimately increase your total treatment time as well.

For brackets that have not completely come off, another common issue that users experience is mouth sores. This occurs when the portion of the bracket that is unattached continues to rub against your cheek or gum area. Over time, these sores will get worse. If left untreated, this can result in infection and cause significant amounts of pain. Other symptoms may include bleeding in certain areas of the mouth as well.

How To Fix a Broken Brace Bracket

1. Don’t Panic and Assess The Situation

If your bracket has broken, the first and most important step is to not panic and to assess your situation. Start by carefully inspecting your bracket. The primary thing you want to determine is the extent of the damage. Is the bracket still attached or has it come completely loose? The answer to that question will play a major role in the next steps you take to rectify the situation.

If the bracket has come completely loose, remove it from your mouth and store it in a secure area. You will need to bring this into your orthodontist’s office for reattachment in a later step. If it’s still partially attached, examine the inside of your mouth to determine if the loose side is poking your cheek or gum area. Look for signs of bleeding or scratching in the area and rinse with lukewarm water as necessary.

2. Contact Your Orthodontist ASAP

While not a life or death situation, it’s important that you contact your orthodontist as soon as possible and advise them of your situation. There is a wide range of questions that you should be prepared to answer for the staff. They will start by asking about the extent of the damage. Be prepared to describe the state of the bracket in great detail.

They will want to know if the bracket is fully intact and whether it has come fully detached or only partially. They will also likely ask about the activity that lead to detachment in the first place. You will then be given an appointment time to meet with your orthodontist to fix your bracket and to make any necessary adjustments.

During this step, if there are any instructions that your orthodontist gives you that are different than this guide, it’s important to follow them to the letter. Your orthodontist understands your unique dental needs best and carefully following their instructions is your best bet for a full recovery.

3. Use Dental Wax

If your bracket has not fully come off, your orthodontist may recommend the use of dental wax as a temporary measure to repair your bracket. Dental wax is a soft putty-like substance that is safe for use in the mouth. It can be used to temporarily bond the bracket back to the appropriate area of your braces.

Dental wax can also be used to cover a jagged edge to prevent accidentally tearing your gum and cheek tissue. Apply the dental wax according to the instructions on the package. Remember to only eat soft foods until you have the chance to visit your orthodontist again for a more permanent repair.

4. Rinse with Warm Salt Water

For dealing with mouth pain and open sores, one of the best solutions to speed healing and help with the pain is to rinse with a mixture of warm salt water. You can make your own mixture by combining approximately a quarter teaspoon of salt in a cup of warm water.

Swish this around in your mouth for approximately 30 seconds and spit out. This will help remove debris from the open sores and scratches. It also has the added benefit of inhibiting microbial growth as well. This can be repeated every two to three hours as needed. Once you visit your orthodontist for permanent repair of the broken bracket braces, they may recommend a prescription mouthwash to use as well.

woman gargling using a glass of water


As you can see from our article, dealing with broken bracket braces is not typically an emergency situation. By following the steps in our guide, you can ensure that you reduce any lasting damage and help speed healing by taking the appropriate measures. Just remember to consult with your orthodontist as soon as possible to schedule an appointment for a permanent repair. If you have any thoughts on broken bracket braces you would like to share, feel free to post them in the comments area.

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