What Are Breakages?
An ideal world would be a world where braces do not break. However, anybody that’s ever had braces can tell you that reality is way different from your ideal world. The issue comes in with how often breakages happen, why they happen, and how to prevent them. A breakage means an emergency orthodontist trip, a bit of money, and a loss of time. You could’ve been doing something else instead of sitting in a chair getting your braces touched up.
So let’s talk about why breakages sometimes happen, how you can prevent them, and what to do if you can’t make an appointment for a little while. Any good orthodontist will talk to you about breakages, and if you work with an orthodontist that you trust such as John Redmond Orthodontics, your treatment will go much smoother. Each patient treatment plan in orthodontics is going to be different, so you want to work with someone who is suited to your individual needs.
Why Do Breakages Happen?
Breakages happen when the acrylic resin that attaches the brackets, which hold the metal wires that are in braces, into place. The glue is selected because it is strong enough to hold the brackets in place, but not so strong that it damages teeth when it is removed. The brackets can become dislodged from the place if you are eating hard or chewy foods, or if you’ve bitten into something and it forces the bracket out of place because whatever you bit into was too hard for the bracket to withstand. Even something as simple as biting your fingernails or the top of your pen can cause your brackets to dislodge.
Another reason and why breakages occur is with the wires that are attached to the brackets. If your teeth are extremely crooked, then these wires are going to be very small and thin—they may fall out of the brackets, especially if you are not taking proper care of your teeth and taking care while chewing. However, this issue should be lessened as your teeth become straighter, because the wire becomes thicker and the brackets can better hold the thicker wire into place.
You might be wondering why your orthodontist starts you out with thin, flimsy wires and moves you to thicker, stiffer wires as your treatment plan progresses. This is because the arch wire—the wire attached to the brackets—helps your teeth to move. When you are first starting your treatment, the only purpose of the wires is to move your teeth to be more “straight”, and therefore the wire needs to be able to return to its original shape after being bent to fit the shape of your teeth. As the teeth become straight, the physician will want more control over how they’re moving into place, and the wire will become stiffer and thicker so that the orthodontist controls the movements better.
You can reduce breakages by avoiding hard foods, sticky foods, cutting food into small pieces, chewing slowly, avoiding habits where you chew on your nails, pens, or pencils. You can never eliminate breakages, as not every breakage is due to something you’ve done. Sometimes breakages occur as a malfunction.
If you have a breakage, contact your orthodontist and acquire some wax so that you can keep your wire and bracket in place until your appointment.