Broken Braces

Braces are actually quite delicate pieces of equipment; brackets held onto teeth with a small drop of cement, thin archwires pulling teeth into place and thin plastic retainers under the strain of being taken out and put back in to position. Chances are that at some point during your treatment, the braces will break or become damaged in some way. Some of these problems will require emergency treatment, others should be seen by your orthodontist as soon as is convenient while minor breakages can wait until your next regular appointment.


If a bracket or band becomes loose, this can wait until your next scheduled visit to the orthodontist, unless it is causing you any pain or irritation. The braces will continue to work effectively with just one piece out of place. A lost elastic tie can also usually wait a few weeks as, again, the archwire is still held in place by the other elastics and is still doing its job.

As Soon as Possible

With some breakages or problems you should call your orthodontist for a quicker appointment as the braces have stopped working or there may be a risk of causing injury to your mouth. Sometimes the wire can slip out of its slot; if this happens, cover the offending area with wax or cotton wool and make an appointment with your orthodontist. If you have metal ties in stead of elastic, they can sometimes move and start poking into your mouth or gum. Again, use something to protect the area until you can be seen at your surgery.

Finally, as your teeth start to move the end of the archwire can begin to poke out at the back of your mouth. You can try some “home remedies” with this one, such as bending the wire away from the irritated area or even cutting the wire with nail clippers. Make sure they have been sterilised before attempting this! If neither of these are effective, or you are unsure about trying something yourself, call your orthodontist before the irritation gets worse. If you are wearing a retainer or removable braces and these become broken, you should get a replacement as soon as possible or your treatment will suffer. Most dentists will charge for replacements.


If you have any accident that involved your mouth or your teeth, for example in sport, then you should contact your orthodontist for an emergency appointment to check that the braces are still in one piece and in the right place.