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Broken Braces? What To Do if a Bracket or Wire Breaks

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More than 20,000 children and teenagers in Scotland receive orthodontic treatment every year.

Wearing braces can help you straighten your teeth and improve your smile, whether you are a child or an adult.

But sometimes, the wire or bracket of your braces can break. While broken braces are nothing to worry about, they can cause discomfort and make your treatment less effective and take longer if left unchecked.

Below is a comprehensive guide on broken braces and what to do if you have a missing bracket.

What Causes Broken Braces?

Bracket and wire breakage is not uncommon. Several things may cause your braces to break, from eating the wrong foods to brushing your teeth too hard.

Eating Inappropriate Foods

When you have braces, eating some types of food can cause damage. Watch what you eat and avoid:

  • Chewy foods like gum and sweets can get stuck in between braces and pull on the brackets or wire
  • Crunchy or hard foods like corn, popcorn, and chips can also break brackets

Mouth Injury

Getting hit in the mouth can cause your bracket and wire to break or dislocate. This happens when you participate in contact sports or engage in physical activities. Talk to a member of our team about protective mouthguards.

Aggressive Oral Habits

While taking care of your teeth is essential, vigorously brushing your teeth can damage your braces. Another bad habit is chewing hard objects, especially in children.

Prodding and Poking

Using a finger or pen to try and remove food pieces stuck in your braces can break them. Instead, you can use better options like interdental brushes.


Grinding your teeth at night can put too much pressure on your braces and break them. Also, a deep bite can cause your top teeth to bite down on the lower brackets, making them detached.

Side Effects and Risks of Broken Braces

Broken wires and brackets can pose some serious risks. If left unchecked, they not only increase the risk of infection but also your treatment will take longer.

Common side effects include:

  • Discomfort: when the wire pokes inside your mouth
  • Cuts: can lead to bleeding and mouth infection
  • Sores: A Broken wire can irritate the tissues, leading to mouth sores
  • Infection: Cuts and sores caused by the broken braces can lead to an infection

What to Do if Your Bracket and Wire Break

While orthodontic treatment is beneficial, braces can break. Below are some tips you need to know when your bracket or wire breaks.

Step 1: Stay Calm

Broken braces should not make you panic. Ensure you stay calm, as broken braces aren’t considered a dental emergency. They are easily fixable.

Step 2: Inspect Your Teeth and Braces

Once you realise you have broken braces, you need to inspect your teeth and braces. If the small brackets are loose, remove them carefully and ensure not to swallow them. Also, check out your teeth and ensure there’s no additional damage.

Step 3: Try Some Temporary At-Home Remedies

If your wire or bracket breaks, there are things you can try at home to protect your mouth. Here are some quick fixes you can attempt:

Orthodontic Wax – Got protruding wires or floating brackets? You can use orthodontic wax to keep the brackets from rubbing on the inside of your mouth.

To do this, take a small piece of wax and roll it into a small ball with your fingers. Then, flatten the wax and gently press it onto the floating brackets or protruding wires. This type of wax is available to buy in Boots!

Pencil Eraser or Cotton Swab – If you have a protruding wire, use a soft object like a cotton swab or a pencil eraser to push the wire until it rests against your teeth. Ensure you apply gentle pressure so you don’t irritate the inside of your mouth.

Clipping – Broken wires can stick out and hurt your mouth. If the wire is still attached to the small bracket but protruding, you can use nail clippers to trim the broken wire. Clipping a protruding wire should be a last resort as it can be dangerous.

Place a piece of gauze or tissue around the area to clip the wire safely. This can help trap the clipped wire so you don’t swallow it.

Step 4: Control Pain

You may feel discomfort if a broken brace causes a cut or sore. To find relief, you can:

  • Rinse your mouth with salt water
  • Use over-the-counter medication
  • Use a toothbrush with soft bristles
  • Avoid acidic or spicy foods as they may irritate the sore or cut
  • Choose foods and drinks that are soft

Step 5: Schedule an Orthodontist Appointment

At-home remedies are sometimes not enough; ensure you see an orthodontist as soon as possible.

Staying with a loose brace can negatively impact your treatment. Your orthodontist will fix the bracket and wires, ensuring they apply a force that works to adjust your teeth and jaw.

Moreover, they can deal with various complications you may have, such as cuts, sores, and discomfort.

Preventing Bracket and Wire Breakage

After fixing your braces, you want to ensure they won’t break again. You can help to lower the risk of breakage with proper braces care. Follow the steps below:

Practise Safe Oral Habits

Be gentle when you brush your teeth. Ensure you use a soft-bristled toothbrush and rinse your mouth to dislodge the remaining bits of food from your braces.

If food sticks around your braces, use floss or inter-dental brushes to remove it instead of a finger or toothpick.

Avoid Some Foods

To prevent damage when braces are fitted, do not eat hard, crunchy, or sticky foods. Stick to soft foods.

Protect Your Facial Features

Protect your mouth when playing contact sports by wearing a mouth guard. Not only does it help shield your teeth from damage, but it also protects your braces from damage. Also, wear a helmet.

Access Quality Orthodontic Care to Fix Your Broken Braces

Are broken braces giving you a hard time? Park Orthodontics is here to help.

Ensure you get help as soon as possible to avoid developing other dental issues.

Our orthodontists will create and implement a tailor-made treatment plan to fix your braces to improve your smile. Contact us today to book an appointment.

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Dr Andrew McGregor

Dr Andrew McGregor

Andrew completed his three years of orthodontic specialist training in 2010 gaining his Masters degree and Membership in Orthodontics and has worked at Park Orthodontics since then. As an orthodontic specialist he has treated thousands of patients ranging from simple bite correction in children to complex smile and bite makeovers in adults. Andrew is a member of the British Orthodontic Society, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Scottish Orthodontic Specialists Group and the British Lingual Orthodontic Society.

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