If your child is looking at needing braces you already know that will be a big investment. Another thing to keep in mind is maintenance, care and dealing with broken braces. No matter how careful our kids are, broken braces does happen.
Parents Guide to Broken Braces
Over 3.5 million kids and teens experience some problems with their teeth each year. That’s why it becomes necessary for them to seek orthodontic treatment. And one of the most common treatments is to have braces. The better they take care of their braces, the quicker they’ll have them removed from their orthodontist.
However, there is always a chance to come across problems such as broken braces, loose bands, loose braces, or broken wires. That’s because braces are so delicate that even if your child takes proper care of them, they need to be sure if all wires of their braces are not sticking out. Moreover, braces or bands sometimes fall off. This can often result in pain and discomfort which is why it’s highly recommended to call your orthodontist and discuss the issue right away. Your orthodontist will suggest if you need urgent attention or if you should wait till the next appointment.
Below are some of the possible problems your child may come across (and what you can do immediately to avoid the uneasiness and pain):
These are ceramic or metal pieces fixed with each tooth. The material used to attach brackets is referred to as composite resin. This is a lot similar to the material used in fillings. Chewing something sticky or hard often weakens or even breaks the resin. As this happens, the bracket becomes loose. Hence, it could poke into the gums, cheek, or tongue. That’s why the orthodontist will give a special kind of wax to your child so that they can put it over their bracket to avoid the irritation. This way, the wax provides some comfort till the orthodontist is available to fix the loose bracket.
Bands are rings made of metal. These are mostly lined with back teeth. A loose band has to be replaced or re-cemented by the orthodontist. But if your child complains that the band has been removed from their tooth completely, then it’s useless to insert it back. The only solution is to save the fallen band and consider dental care after hours so that the orthodontist can examine it and insert it back on the tooth.
Just like loose brackets, this is a common issue faced by many people. If the braces wire sticks out or some part of it is broken without your child knowing about it, it can cause pain to their gum, tongue, or cheek. In case of emergency, tell your teen to use the corner of a pencil eraser to push the broken wire into a position where it doesn’t hurt.
However, it’s better to prevent the broken wire from touching the gums or cheek by putting a bit of orthodontic wax over its end. Besides this, here are some suggestions to help your child get across the discomfort caused by a broken wire:
- Never cut the broken wire. Otherwise you’ll end up accidentally inhaling or swallowing the broken wire.
- If the broken wire has hurt your cheek, use salt water to rinse your mouth. Make sure it’s eight ounces of warm water. Rinsing with salt water will reduce discomfort while keeping the area clean.
- If the pain is unbearable, using a pain reliever suggested by the orthodontist will help numb the affected area. Though this is temporary, it’ll relieve pain. But if the sore starts worsening or pain isn’t relieved, call the orthodontist immediately and ask for an appointment.
Also called separators, spacers are rings made of rubbers. These are inserted between the teeth and are left there for several days. However, sometimes these separators may slip out of their original position or even fall out. This indicates that the band has to be placed. In this case, it becomes necessary to get an appointment with the orthodontist.
What to Eat and What Not to Eat With Braces
People living with braces must follow a simple rule: keep it soft. Some examples include soft fruits (such as grapefruits, kiwi, tangerines, and nectarines), steamed vegetables, dairy products (such as cheese and yogurt), soft grains (such as cooked rice), soft bread, and eggs.
Likewise, a single hard bite can break your braces. Therefore, avoid hard foods, tough meats, sticky foods, and even ice.
The Bottom Line
To avoid any pain or discomfort while wearing braces, it’s always better to be proactive. Instead of worrying about your child’s broken braces and the discomfort caused, call the orthodontist for immediate help. Meanwhile, you can carry out the above-mentioned DIY dental practices to ensure your child doesn’t have to suffer from any pain till the orthodontist comes to the rescue!
Mike Plambeck is a dental marketing professional who writes about the world of online dental marketing as well as educational dental health topics. He lives in Lincoln, NE and raises 2 kids, Noah and Dani, along with his wife Marissa.