If your brackets or wires have broken due to a trauma you may need to visit your dentist for an appointment immediately. They will assess the situation and tell you if you need treatment or if the problem can wait for your next appointment.
If, however, you are unable to schedule an appointment, there are a couple of things that you can do at home to that can relieve any discomfort that you may be experiencing.
What you can do
The brackets and wires can break due to multiple factors. One of the biggest being caused by sticky or hard foods - this can either cause the bracket to break off the tooth or potentially snap a wire.
If the problem is caused by a loose bracket it may poke into your tongue or gums. Brackets are the little metal or ceramic pieces which are attached to each tooth with composite resin. If the resin is weakened or breaks, it can cause the entire bracket to fall off. Your dentist will be able to give you a special wax, which you can stick over the metal bracket so it won’t hurt your mouth or tongue. This way you can protect your gums from further discomfort or cuts until you can visit your orthodontist to get your bracket fixed properly.
In case of a loosened band, you should call your dentist straight away so they can re-attach it back to your tooth. The bands usually need to be cemented or replaced if they have come off completely. Don’t try to put it back on yourself – rather, bring it with you to your appointment.
It is common that a wire sticks out or breaks completely. However, it can hurt the inside of your cheek and your tongue. You can try to use a blunt and soft object to push the wire back into place or apply a little bit of orthodontic wax over the end of it. You should not cut the wire as this is potentially very dangerous due to the risk of inhaling or swallowing small pieces of the wire.
If you are feeling any discomfort or have noticed that the inside of your mouth is cut up because of the protruding wire, you can take some painkillers or a salt water rinse which will relieve any discomfort and reduce the risk of infection.
Sometimes your dentist will place rubber bands called spacers or separators in between your molars to create some space. It doesn’t happen very often but these spacers can fall out. If this happens, call your orthodontist for an appointment and they can easily assess the situation. The good news is that you are most likely ready to have your band put into place.
What your orthodontist will do
Depending on which component is broken will depend on what your orthodontist will do. They may even need to replace the wires or brackets. It is, however, really imperative that you call your Orthodontist or Dentist immediately if anything is broken. If you leave the broken bracket or wires then it will delay your orthodontic treatment and you will have to wear your braces for longer.
There are a few reasons why you could have lost a filling or crown:
- you have had them for a while
- your fillings or crown has fallen out because of possible decay, or
- they could have broken due to particular food you have eaten such as hard or sticky foods
If this happens, it can turn out to be quite painful. If a large portion of the tooth has broken off it can potentially expose the nerve of the tooth. If this is the case you can experience pain to hot and cold, a throbbing pain that can extend into the jaw, inability to sleep at night and swelling (if there is an infection). Do not hesitate to contact your Dentist if you experience any of the above as you may need an emergency Root Canal Treatment.
If you have lost a crown, keep it somewhere safe and visit your dentist as soon as possible, as they will be able to re-cement the crown to the tooth. If the crown has broken, then you may need to have the crown re-made.
It’s very important that you make an appointment immediately because the remaining structure of your tooth will be weaker without the crown and could sustain even more damage without it.
What you can do
If you are experiencing any discomfort you can take painkillers such as Panadol or Nurofen, which will ease any pain. If you are experiencing any sensitivity with a lost crown you can place some sensitive toothpaste over the tooth, which will create a protective layer and ease any discomfort.