Braces have come a long way since their creation, and every update to their technology makes them more resilient, comfortable, efficient, and aesthetically pleasing than ever before. One thing they still aren’t, however, is invincible! Fortunately, broken braces are generally not an emergency and will not alter your teeth’s movement path. But they can be pretty annoying! Here are some tips to help you get by until Alba Orthodontics repairs your braces.
How do braces break?
Metal and clear braces can break due to facial injury or trauma, being too rough on them when cleaning, and eating food unacceptable for braces (either frequently or just once)! Wearing a mouthguard, gently but thoroughly cleaning, and maintaining the diet Dr. Fred Alba or Dr. Jeff Alba prescribed can preserve your braces and oral health.
Since clear aligners are removed for eating and oral hygiene and could be taken out for sports (but is not always necessary), there’s no way for them to get damaged…right?
If you don’t place your removable aligners in their case when you’re not wearing them, they could become damaged by being stepped on, squashed, or chewed up by pets. Aligners exposed to extreme temperatures, like being left out on hot sunny days or washed with hot or cold water, can become warped. They can also become damaged if cleaned too aggressively or with harsh products. No matter how it happens, broken aligners can be uncomfortable or unwearable.
To keep your aligners in good condition, always put them in their protective carrying case when you’re not wearing them and follow the cleaning instructions given to you by our orthodontist team.
Let’s say your braces break. Now what?
Broken braces happen to even the most careful patients, and knowing the answer to the question, “What To Do If My Braces Break?” can save you from experiencing a lot of anxiety.
Wear Your Extras
When you become a Spark Clear Aligner patient, you are sent home with a series of removable trays and an advancement schedule to follow. When you switch to the next one in the set, usually after one to two weeks, you might be tempted to throw away the ones you no longer need, but we encourage you to hold on to them!
If your clear aligners become broken (or lost), you must come to Alba Orthodontics so we can make you a new tray. Until your appointment and the new trays are made, you will need to keep your teeth from regressing or shifting backward and undoing the progress you’ve made so far. That’s where your previous trays come in! You should wear them until you get your replacement aligners to minimize the space teeth have to return to their original spots.
You do not want to skip to the next in the set ahead of schedule without prior approval from Dr. Jeff Alba or Dr. Fred Alba.
Hold The Bracket In Place
If you have a loose bracket still attached to your tooth or wire, you want to try to keep it in place until you see us. Push it back into place gently and use orthodontic wax (below) to hold it. The wax will inhibit friction irritation and further divergence. If your bracket has already come off, store it in a safe location until your appointment.
DO NOT try to glue your bracket on yourself. Anything besides orthodontic glue can cause health and cosmetic harm to your teeth.
DO NOT try to remove the bracket from the wire yourself. You risk causing further damage and unnecessary pain.
The rest of our tips are helpful for both fixed and removable braces.
Use Orthodontic Wax
This is a removable, waxy product you can put on your braces and clear aligners. 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! It soothes irritation by being a barrier between the appliance and your skin to prevent uncomfortable poking and rubbing, which reduces the risk of open wounds!
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 as close to the teeth as possible. Be careful not to cut yourself or swallow any metal. If you prefer not to cut your wire, try bending it until it no longer rubs against you.
After bending or cutting, cover the wire with orthodontic wax to protect your cheek and gums.
Maintain Oral Hygiene
When your braces break, you might feel like you should stop performing oral hygiene to keep your braces’ condition from worsening. Unless you have eye-watering and unbearable pain, you should continue to brush and floss your teeth twice daily. The last thing you want with broken braces is an oral health issue, like a cavity or infection.
Rinsing with warm salt water a few times per day is an excellent 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, but follow the instructions!
Eat Soft Food
Until your braces are repaired, eat soft food that requires little to no chewing. This will keep your braces’ condition stable and decrease the discomfort you will experience if your mouth is tender or sore.
See Alba Orthodontics for repairs!
Broken braces are nothing to panic about, and they usually don’t affect your treatment program or how your braces work. If you find yourself with broken braces, Dr. Jeff Alba and Dr. Fred Alba will know just what to do, so contact us as soon as possible to schedule your repair appointment.
Please be as honest about the state of you and your braces to allow us to determine the urgency of which we need to see you! Do not be embarrassed to tell us what happened, even if you were eating hard food or doing something else you weren’t supposed to. We are not here to judge you, only to help!