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Managing Loose Wires and Broken Brackets: A Guide for Parents who are Navigating Braces with their Child

Broken Dental Brackets

Every journey usually comes with a unique set of challenges as the pursuit of reaching the final destination occurs; and the path to a picture-perfect smile is certainly no exception to this process. Whether it is through biting a rogue popcorn kernel or playing an intense basketball game, loose wires and broken brackets are potential risks that a child who wear braces may face in their daily lives. At Tebo Orthodontics, we believe in equipping both parents and their children with the expertise to tackle these unexpected, minor setbacks quickly and in the safest way. 

First, it is important to recognize the problem your child is having with their braces so you know how to address the situation and determine the appropriate solution.

If you or your child senses an issue with their braces, it is crucial to identify the issue before diving into solutions.  The following are some of the more common problems your child may experience with their braces.       

  • Loose Wires: Wires that have become loose often have edges that protrude and may poke the inside of the cheeks, causing discomfort.
  • Broken Brackets: Brackets are small square metal or ceramic pieces attached directly to each tooth. If there is enough force or impact on them, they may become loose or completely dislodged.

If you experience either loose wires or broken brackets, here are a few first-aid measures to take to help temporarily resolve these orthodontic issues.

For Loose Wires:

  1. Wax to the Rescue: If a protruding wire causes irritation, cover it with a small piece of orthodontic wax. This can serve as a temporary barrier between the wire and the inside of the mouth.

For Broken Brackets:

  1. Bracket Still Attached: If the bracket is connected to the wire, leave it in place. Cover it with orthodontic wax to prevent it from sliding or causing irritation.
  2. Bracket Completely Off: Place the broken bracket in a secure container and bring it to your next orthodontic appointment for repair.

Home Care and Comfort:

  • Saltwater Rinses: Gargling with warm salt water can help alleviate soreness or minor cuts caused by loose wires or brackets.
  • Over-the-counter Pain Relievers: If discomfort persists, consider administering an over-the-counter pain reliever as directed. Always consult with a healthcare professional before administering medication to children.

Preventive Measures:

  • Dietary Precautions: Avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky foods that can dislodge brackets and/or bend wires. Apples, caramel, popcorn, and ice are common culprits responsible for damage to braces.
  • Wear a Mouthguard: If your child plays sports, ensure they wear a protective mouthguard as this can significantly reduce the risk of damage to braces during physical activity.

When to Call Tebo Orthodontics:

It is especially important to contact your child’s orthodontist if they encounter loose wires and/or broken brackets.  Discussing options with a professional will ensure that they can address any issues quickly and your child’s braces can continue working on their perfect smile.

While minor issues can often be managed at home, never hesitate to contact us if:

  • Discomfort lasts more than a couple of days.
  • You are unsure about the severity of the damage.
  • Any parts may have been swallowed or cause breathing difficulties.

Your child’s orthodontic treatment should be as smooth as possible, which is why our team at Tebo Orthodontics is always here to assist and guide you along the way.

Though minor hiccups like loose wires and broken brackets might pose temporary challenges, they are easily manageable with a little knowledge and care. At Tebo Orthodontics, we are committed to ensuring the process towards a beautiful smile is both comfortable and effective. Keep this guide handy and remember – every great smile has its story, and occasional bumps in the road only help make the ending even brighter.

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