Why do braces brackets fall off sometimes? If you wear braces, you might experience common challenges such as food getting caught in them, difficulty flossing and brushing, or even brackets falling off. The brackets are small metal or ceramic pieces used to attach braces to your teeth. Although they are adhered securely, they are not intended to be permanent and can come loose or even fall off sometimes. If this happens to you even once, you know it is a hassle and requires repair.
Knowing it’s a common occurrence that happens even to people who follow their dentist’s instructions to a tee can help you feel a little better about losing a bracket. However, there are a few things you should know about your brackets to help make the most of your treatment. Here we explore the common things that cause brackets to fall off, what to do, and tips to avoid bracket issues.
Why Do Braces Brackets Fall Off?
There are a few reasons brackets for braces fall off:
Tooth Health: The bond of your bracket is affected by the condition of your teeth. If your teeth are healthy, the bond is stronger. This is because you need healthy, strong enamel to support the bonding. If your enamel is weak, discoloured or eroding, there is a higher risk the brackets won’t stay in place as long. Also, fillings and crowns don’t provide as secure a surface as your natural tooth enamel. Unfortunately, if this is the reason you are experiencing bracket issues, there’s not much to be done. The better your oral health, the better the condition of your teeth, and the less likely you’ll have erosion or require restorations that interfere with your braces.
Bracket Placement: During the placement of your braces, it’s possible errors can occur. Your dentist takes every precaution to ensure they are careful when bonding your brackets to your teeth. However, on occasion, something might be slightly off. To get the strongest bond possible, your teeth need to be clean and dry during the prepping. Excess saliva during this process, as well as plaque buildup, can interfere with the bond. If your dentist is having trouble getting the bracket in the right position, they can end up moving the bonding material around too much, which means it starts to weaken before the bracket is even in place. We promise we won’t let this happen!
Bad Habits: Your lifestyle can also increase the risk of brackets becoming loose or falling off. Eating foods your dentist tells you are off limits is a good example. Sugary, sticky foods and drinks are not good for your teeth or your braces. Also, chewing anything not considered food, such as gum, ice, fingernails, pens or pencils, or using your teeth as a tool to open packages, can loosen brackets.
Oral Hygiene: Although we tell all our patients to brush and floss their teeth, if you’re a rigorous or aggressive brusher you can damage or loosen your brackets. Keep up the good work and continue to brush twice a day BUT do it slowly and gently to avoid damage. Your dentist or orthodontist usually provides you with a special toothbrush when you get your braces. This is because you should be using a soft bristle brush. Your wires and brackets require a gentle touch, and brushing less aggressively and at an angle to reach your teeth as opposed to the brackets, is important.
If you find you’re losing brackets often, it might be best to use an electric toothbrush with a pressure sensor. This will alert you when you’re brushing too aggressively. It’s an easy brush to use because you just apply it to each tooth for a few seconds and let it work its magic.
What To Do If Braces Brackets Fall Off
If a bracket falls off, It’s not an emergency, so no need to panic. Just give your dentist a call and set up an appointment to have it repaired. While waiting for your appointment, follow these steps to avoid causing further damage:
- Recover anything that has fallen off. Put it in a zip-lock bag and store it somewhere safe, so you don’t lose it.
- Avoid touching the area where the bracket fell off as this can cause further damage.
- If the bracket is loose and hasn’t completely fallen off yet, grab your orthodontic kit. Take a small piece of wax, roll it in your finger and then flatten it out. Place it on the bracket, using a mirror to make sure you get the wax in the right position so that you have covered the bracket and wires.
- If the bracket fell off and the wires are loose, use a cotton swab to push the wires back in place, and then apply the wax to cover the sharp ends.
- Bring your bracket to your dental appointment.
You might have to apply the wax a few times if your appointment is a few days off. Be cautious when brushing in the area as well.
What To Do If Braces Brackets Are Loose
If your bracket is dislodged but stuck on the wire, you can use a pair of sterilized tweezers to slide the bracket between two teeth so it isn’t so pokey. If it is twisted, you can also use the tweezers to turn it back into the right position to make it more comfortable until you see your dentist. You can then cover it with dental wax as instructed in Step 3 above.
Can Brackets For Braces Be Salvaged?
Yes, this is why it’s important to recover your bracket and any wire that has come off and bring it to your dental appointment. Brackets in good shape can be used up to five times. It costs less to put the existing bracket back in place than to replace it with a new one.
How To Prevent Brackets From Falling Off
There are a few steps you can take to prevent damaged, lost, or loose brackets, including:
Follow Your Dentist’s Instructions
Make sure you follow all your dentist’s instructions regarding care of your braces, brushing and flossing. When you brush your teeth, check your braces to look for any signs of damage or loosening so you can address them before it becomes serious.
Avoid Sticky Foods
As mentioned above, sticky and sugary foods and drinks cause damage to brackets and braces. Avoid the foods your dentist recommends avoiding and you’ll reduce the risk for damage. Other foods on the no-no list include:
- Corn on the cob
- Raw carrots
- Tougher meat
- French bread
Basically, anything that is hard, chewy, sticky, or sugary should never pass your lips.
Don’t Chew Anything That Isn’t Food
This may be a hard habit to break, but avoid chewing anything that isn’t food, including your nails, ice, pens, pencils, gum, etc., as well as using your teeth for purposes such as opening packages or bottles.