Treating your child’s teeth with braces is a significant investment of time and money. The payoff of a perfect, healthy smile will be worth it in the long run, but braces require special care while your child undergoes treatment. Braces and wires can be quite fragile, and your child may face several mishaps over the course of their orthodontic treatment. One of the most common issues that children going through orthodontic treatment face is broken brackets on their braces.
If your child breaks part of their braces, there’s no need to panic! This handy guide will help you and your child get their braces back to perfect condition in no time.
Common Causes of Broken Brackets
The best way to help prevent broken brackets is to avoid habits that can be harmful to braces. Educating your child about some of the behaviors that can break their braces is a good way to help avoid them. Some of the most common things that can damage braces include:
- Eating certain foods like popcorn, nuts, sticky or hard candy, and other hard foods
- Sustaining a mouth injury
- Brushing your teeth too hard or otherwise incorrectly
- Using a toothpick
- Flossing too roughly
Of course, sometimes accidents happen, and even a careful child may wind up with a broken braces bracket or two. If your child does break a bracket, make sure you take the following steps to resolve the issue.
Check the Damage Level
The first thing to do with a damaged or broken bracket is to assess the level of damage. Look at the wires around the bracket first. If the wire is still attached to the bracket, gently push it back into place using a cotton swab. Then, cover the wire with orthodontic wax to ensure that the wire doesn’t irritate or poke your child’s mouth.
Taking care of the wires of a broken bracket on braces is important to prevent injuries to your child’s mouth. If there are any overlong or protruding wires, use a pair of nail clippers to cut the wire as close as possible to the teeth. Push any extra wire close to the teeth and cover with wax.
If the bracket itself is very loose, remove it only if it comes off easily. You can then bring the bracket with you to the orthodontist, who can reattach it.
Securing Loose Brackets
Sometimes, brackets won’t break entirely, but may become loose. Brackets are attached to your child’s teeth using tooth-colored resin. Over time, this resin will weaken and can cause the brackets to become loose. If your child complains that a bracket feels loose, have them apply orthodontic wax over the braces sharper edges to reduce discomfort.
Call your child’s orthodontist as soon as you or your child notices a loose bracket. The orthodontist will ask your child a few questions about their broken braces bracket and will use that information to determine how urgent the matter is. If the issue isn’t too severe, your child may be able to wait until their next scheduled appointment to get the bracket repaired.
Make an Orthodontist Appointment
Whether the damage to your child’s braces is small or extensive, it’s imperative that you make an appointment with their orthodontist to repair the braces. Braces are a very effective treatment for a variety of orthodontic issues, but they need to be in good condition to work. As soon as you notice an issue with broken braces brackets, call your child’s orthodontist.
While making your child’s appointment, be sure to give the orthodontist as much detail as possible about the broken bracket. If the bracket became unattached from the teeth and you still have it, you can bring it with you to the appointment. Giving the orthodontist as much information as possible will help them decide what the best course of action is for repairing the braces.
What to Do in the Meantime
Since most cases of broken brackets on braces aren’t necessarily emergencies, your child may have to wait a few days before the bracket gets repaired. If so, there are a few steps they can take to prevent any discomfort.
Have your child rinse their mouth with salt water regularly since this can promote healing from any cuts or sores that the broken bracket may have caused. You can make a salt water mixture at home by stirring half a teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of water. Your child should swish this mixture around their mouth for a few seconds, then spit it out.
Hard and sticky foods can exacerbate issues with broken braces brackets, so your child should avoid those foods. Instead, opt for soft foods like yogurt or cooked pasta.
Broken braces and wires can cause sores or irritation if they rub against your child’s mouth. If this happens, you can treat the sore with an oral medication like benzocaine. An over-the-counter painkiller like ibuprofen can be used in conjunction to treat any lingering pain or discomfort.
Braces do require a lot of care in order to properly do their job. It’s important that you talk to your child about maintaining proper oral care while they undergo their orthodontic treatment. Of course, accidents do happen, and even the most conscientious child may wind up with a broken braces bracket or two over the course of their treatment. If your child breaks a bracket, take steps to make sure that the wire and bracket aren’t irritating their mouth.
After all of your at-home steps are taken care of, be sure to contact their orthodontist at Children’s Dentistry right away. Our team of children’s orthodontists are happy to help repair your child’s braces so that they can get back on the road to a happy, healthy smile. To make an appointment for braces or any other children’s dentistry concerns, contact us at one of our offices today.