Made of 96% mineral content, teeth are the hardest substance in the human body. Traditional metal braces are made of stainless steel, an extremely durable material. However, both can be damaged or broken. Damage to either teeth or braces can necessitate an emergency visit to the dentist or orthodontist.
Can Braces Break?
Damage to braces typically involves the bracket or wire, which are the most fragile components.
According to Colgate, common causes include:
• Eating the wrong foods – such as nuts, popcorn, etc.
• Sustaining an injury to your mouth – usually the result of not wearing a mouth guard during sports activities.
• Brushing teeth incorrectly or too vigorously.
• Using a toothpick or flossing roughly.
If your bracket is broken or your wire is detached from your bracket, it is important to see your orthodontist immediately. Broken braces wire can poke the gum inside your mouth and cause bleeding and significant pain. When you schedule the appointment, you will be asked to specify the level of damage to the bracket and wire so your orthodontist can properly repair your bracket during the appointment.
Can You Get Braces With a Chipped Tooth?
A chipped tooth occurs when a small piece of enamel detaches from the tooth. Biting down on hard foods or ice, falling on your face, playing contact sports without a mouth guard, or teeth grinding are potential causes. A chipped tooth, depending on the size, can displace a filling and expose a dental nerve – as well as create the opportunity for tooth decay.
Before you start orthodontic treatment, Dr. Cara Wiewiora or Dr. Rick Dunn will recommend that you have damaged teeth restored to prevent further damage or related issues (such as decay) during the length of treatment. In the case of teen and adult patients with existing crowns, your orthodontist may recommend Invisalign rather than traditional metal braces.
How to Avoid Broken Braces and Teeth
Avoiding broken braces and teeth is all about caution. Follow your orthodontist’s list of foods to avoid. Don’t chew ice or use your teeth to perform tasks – that’s what bottle openers, pliers and scissors are for. By the way, the advice in the previous sentence applies to everyone, not just those who wear metal braces.
Grinding your teeth (known medically as bruxism) also causes damage, but may have a dental basis – such as an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth – or a medical basis, such as a sleep disorder.
If you play team or contact sports, a mouth guard is essential safety equipment. According to statistics, at least 5 million cases of knocked out or broken teeth are reported each year, most of which occur during sports. Not enough athletes wear mouth guards, which is why sports is one of the highest causes of dental emergencies.
In addition to practicing caution, you should be mindful of the condition of your teeth and braces. Being proactive before an issue becomes a dental emergency can prevent even more serious damage and pain.
If you are seeking treatment for yourself or your child, Wiewiora & Dunn Orthodontics offers best-in-class patient care using leading-edge techniques and equipment. Serving Central Florida for 40 years, we are part of the community, and committed to providing healthy smiles. We invite you to also read our blog post about what foods you should avoid when wearing braces and tips for how to play sports while wearing braces.
Visit our smile gallery to see before-and-after photos of our happy patients.