Three Reasons Why Brackets Fall Off and What You Can Do About It
One of the biggest misconceptions about braces is that they are permanent – at least until the orthodontist takes them off. But in reality, they can come loose and fall off. The most common problem concerns the brackets.
If you don’t already know, brackets are those small pieces of metal or ceramic (depending on the type of braces you have) attached to each tooth. The main job of these brackets is to guide the movement of teeth while holding the orthodontic wire in place. For a more in-depth look at braces, including the brackets and other parts, please read this post.
Brackets can fall off for a variety of reasons. When your orthodontist is done placing the wires, brackets, and other parts of your braces, you will receive specific instructions. They tell you how to take care of your teeth now that you have braces. Part of your dental hygiene now is to care for your braces, which includes brushing and flossing.
Sometimes, one or more brackets can come off. It is an inconvenience, but it happens to a lot of people with braces. Even if you have good oral hygiene or follow your orthodontist’s instructions, you could lose a bracket. What could be the reason behind it?
Here are the answers:
1. Your Tooth
There is a reason why your orthodontist takes a good look at your teeth before placing your braces. The process often takes a while to finish, but it is to make sure that your teeth are healthy. Brackets are bonded to the surface of the teeth. Some people tend to have a weaker bond because there already is a problem with their teeth.
The reason is that brackets attach better to healthy teeth with strong enamel. If your enamel is discoloured or there are other issues, the brackets and your teeth may not bond properly. It is why brackets have a high risk of falling off when placed on teeth with a filling or crown. Even though the brackets can stick to artificial replacements, they work better when attached to natural enamel.
This problem, however, does not often have a solution. You cannot change certain traits of your mouth. The best thing you can do is ensure that you have the best oral hygiene, especially when you have enamel issues. That way, the problem does not get worse.
In your dental visits, you may already be aware that you have weak enamel. In this case, you should be even more careful because your brackets have a bigger chance of falling off if you do not pay attention to them.
2. Your Orthodontist
Orthodontists are human and are prone to mistakes. Even the most experienced and knowledgeable orthodontists can make errors. And the problem with your bracket coming off maybe because of that error.
Brackets should be bonded when the teeth are clean and dry. However, we have seen some orthodontists who are in a hurry or a little distracted. As a result, they may install your brackets hastily. When you are being prepped for the application of braces, try to feel your mouth. IF you can sense excess saliva in your mouth, don’t hesitate to tell your orthodontist before work starts.
Another instance is when the orthodontist keeps trying to position the bracket correctly. Sometimes, the adhesive used to bond the brackets may begin to weaken when it is continuously manipulated. Unfortunately, you are a patient who cannot gauge how to place the brackets properly and how much time should elapse for the placement.
If you can recall that your orthodontist took too long to place your brackets, do not hesitate to discuss it if you lose a bracket. Have a similar conversation if your orthodontist was in a rush when placing your brackets.
3. Your Lifestyle
One of the first few things that your dentist talks to you about is regarding what you should and should not eat upon getting braces. Before your treatment, if you loved eating sticky or hard food, it is time for you to give them up. You also have to stop drinking soda or at least limit your consumption of anything sugary.
Many people who wear braces are fond of chewing ice and gum or drinking too much soft drink. Unfortunately, those food choices are not only bad for health but also for the teeth. It is often tough to give up the sweet stuff, but they can contribute to cavities. Apart from that, most candies are sticky or hard. Consuming them, especially like how you used to before getting braces, can cause your brackets to fall off.
You may have to give up sugary food and drinks, as well as sticky foods until your treatment is complete. Doing so may be difficult, but it will also help the braces work faster, so you do not have to wear them for a long time. Think about it as a short-term sacrifice so that you can finally enjoy long-term beauty.
Besides your food choices, you may also have bad habits, such as chewing on your fingernails or any hard objects, such as pen caps. If you bite too hard, the brackets can become dislodged. Most chewing habits are tough to avoid, especially if you have been doing them for as long as you can remember. But remember that you could spend extra time in the orthodontist’s chair if you do not take care of your teeth.
Another thing that you may have to worry about is brushing. Yes, brushing your teeth is essential and should be done at least twice a day. You need to follow a strict routine to ensure that your oral health is in optimal shape. But sometimes, your enthusiasm could do more damage than good. If you brush too hard, either because you are used to it or in a hurry, you could lose a bracket.
Your orthodontist will give you a replacement toothbrush after the placement of the braces. This toothbrush has very soft bristles. You may also have to change how you brush your teeth. You’re wearing wires so you have to be careful not to brush too hard. At the same time, you should also brush at an angle so the bristles reach your teeth. Be gentle when brushing and never apply too much pressure. You can switch to an electric toothbrush, which will do the work for you. You will only have to place the brush head on each tooth for about two seconds and move on to the next. It’s easier and does not require any pressure from your hand.
What to Do When You Lose a Bracket
So, you checked, and you saw that you lost your bracket. Perhaps you brushed vigorously, or you ate something hard and sticky. Not to worry; there are a few things that you can do when you’re at home to prevent further damage.
First and foremost, you should not touch the device in your mouth. It can be tempting but always seek advice from your orthodontist first. If you have no choice or, for some reason, it is not possible for you to leave your house and go to the dental office, you can do the following:
- Make sure that you keep the bracket or wire that broke. If you did not visit your orthodontist for an adjustment or skipped a few months, there could easily be a problem with the whole appliance. Keep the bracket and bring it with you when you go to your orthodontist next time. Some dental offices require their patients to have the bracket with them for free fixing or replacement.
- If you cannot go to your orthodontist, get your orthodontic wax from the kit that you received from your orthodontist. Take a small piece, roll it in your finger, and flatten it before placing the wax on the surface where the bracket is missing. It is best to do this in front of a mirror. That way, you can see exactly where you should put the wax. It should cover the spots where the wires could poke your cheek. It’s a common problem with brace-wearers, especially those with metal braces. So, if you have had your braces for a while now, you know how to deal with pesky wires. That’s how you can deal with a loose bracket.
A broken wire is a more serious issue because it can stick out and hurt your mouth. You can push it back to its original position using a cotton swab. However, be very careful and gentle. An alternative is to use a pencil eraser, but once again, don’t apply too much pressure. If the wire is still protruding, you can put orthodontic wax on the pointy end. Repeat the process until you are ready to see your orthodontist.
Losing a bracket is not a dental emergency. You do not have to wake your orthodontist in the middle of the night to fix the bracket for you. However, it should be addressed right away. Remember that brackets falling off means there is a delay in your treatment. And the longer the delay, the longer you have to wait to get straighter teeth.
At Oasis Orthodontics, we make sure to communicate with patients well. If they have concerns, our friendly staff will help them address the situation as quickly as possible. Loose brackets or those that have completely fallen off can be replaced by scheduling an appointment. We will be happy to assist you and ensure that the situation does not worsen, so there is little to no setback in achieving a healthy and straight smile.