With braces, loose brackets, also called broken brackets or floating brackets, are a common problem. In order to avoid dental problems like loose brackets, it is essential to take good care of your braces.
Read our blog post for valuable insights and tips on preventing complications and ensuring a successful orthodontic journey with a loose bracket. The answer depends on various circumstances, but fortunately, the problem is easy to fix.
We delve into its causes, risks, and measures for treating and preventing loose brackets. We also tell you how long you can go with a loose bracket to help you seek timely treatment.
Table of Contents
Causes of Loose Brackets
To understand loose brackets, you must first learn about their common causes. Here are the top reasons for brackets becoming loose:
- Biting fingernails.
- Nibbling on pens and pencils.
- Chewing ice.
- Eating the wrong foods, like hard or sticky foods.
- Improper or aggressive brushing.
- Lack of brushing.
- A weakened bond between a tooth and a bracket.
- Movement of teeth.
- A change in bite.
- Trauma or injury to the mouth.
- Rough use of a toothpick.
- A bracket attached to a filling or veneer.
Risks And Effects Of Ignoring A Loose Bracket
Should I worry about a loose bracket? You may not face any immediate consequences for ignoring a loose bracket. But if you delay treatment, a broken bracket may cause an archwire to stick out. A protruding archwire may rub against or poke the cheeks and gums and cause pain, discomfort, and irritation to them.
Loose brackets may also derail your orthodontic treatment and set it back by months. The teeth near the loose brackets will have to catch up with the other teeth around them, affecting your dental alignment.
Prompt attention to loose brackets will ensure your treatment stays on track and help you get even teeth.
Managing a Loose Bracket
Here are a few simple tips to help you manage a loose bracket:
Contact Your Orthodontist Immediately
Is it OK to leave a broken bracket? If you spot a loose bracket, schedule an appointment with your orthodontist immediately. It will help them assess the damage quickly and figure out the best treatment plan.
Usually, they only replace the broken bracket. But if there is a severe crack or breakage, the treatment may be more extensive.
Also, if you experience any pain or discomfort, inform your orthodontist about it.
If you already have an appointment for an archwire change scheduled within a few days of seeing the loose bracket, your orthodontist may recommend waiting until the appointment date. But if your next appointment is scheduled for a few weeks later, they may tell you to book an earlier appointment to re-cement the braces onto your teeth.
Use Orthodontic Wax
If the loose bracket is rubbing against your gum or your cheek’s inside and causing irritation, apply a small piece of dental wax to it for temporary relief. It is easy to use orthodontic wax, as you only have to take a little and press it onto the loose bracket. Your warm fingers will soften the wax and help you apply it easily.
Once you cover the bracket with dental wax, smooth it out using a cotton swab and secure it in place. It will protect your bracket and relieve discomfort until your next scheduled appointment with your orthodontist.
If any minor ulcers have developed in your mouth due to the loose bracket irritating the tissue, rinse your mouth regularly. Rinsing with an antiseptic rinse or warm salt water will promote the healing of ulcers and calm irritation. While rinsing, you may also gently brush the area near the loose bracket with a soft toothbrush.
Re-Secure The Bracket And Surrounding Rubber Band
If the small rubber band surrounding a loose bracket has also loosened, get in touch with your orthodontist and ask them to re-secure it.
Ways to Prevent Loose Brackets
Prevention is always better than cure. Here are a few precautions to help you prevent breaking your brackets and wires:
- Wear a mouth guard to protect your braces while playing sports, especially contact sports.
- Do not fidget with or keep touching your brackets and wires.
- Inform your orthodontist at the earliest when you notice a loose bracket or wire.
- Don’t bite hard objects like fingernails, pens, and pencils.
- Don’t chew ice.
- Avoid consuming hard, crunchy, or sticky foods like apples, carrots, or toffee.
- Eat soft, easy-to-chew foods like yogurt, boiled eggs, and soft bread.
- Don’t use a toothpick to avoid damaging your brackets and mouth.
- Use floss, interdental brushes, or water irrigation to remove something stuck in your teeth.
- Brush and floss gently, and avoid putting too much pressure on your braces.
- Go for regular orthodontic check-ups so that your orthodontist can detect issues early on.
If you spot a loose bracket, we cannot stress enough the importance of taking timely action and contacting your orthodontist. Depending on its severity, we may be able to fix the loose bracket without removing and replacing the archwire. But if you leave it untreated for too long, it may damage your oral health and prolong your treatment.
Transform your smile with confidence at Gluck Orthodontics in Nashville, TN! Dr. Gluck and our skilled team are dedicated to correcting misalignments and enhancing your smile’s beauty. Schedule your consultation now and start your journey to a brighter, straighter smile today. 🔗 Schedule Your Consultation Now
Dr. Joel Gluck has practiced orthodontics since 1983 when he opened his own office in Nashville. He earned his undergraduate degree at Washington University in St. Louis, and his dental degree at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Gluck then completed an orthodontic specialty residency at the University of Michigan, one of the top five orthodontic training residencies in the country. He also wrote an original thesis and received a Master of Science degree.