Orthodontic bracket breakage

Orthodontic bracket breakage…

Why it happens and what can be done to prevent it.

We are all human and we at Windermere Orthodontics understand that sometimes accidents happen. Any breakage of brackets is unwanted and if it occurs occasionally, it should not have an effect on your treatment. Excessive breakage on the other hand, will prolong your time in braces.

Orthodontic brackets may become loose due to several factors:

1. The anatomy of the tooth
2. The patient
3. How the bracket is placed (the technique)

The anatomy of the tooth – A proper bond between a bracket and a tooth involves healthy enamel. Whenever an orthodontic bracket has to be bonded to a surface other than enamel, the bond strength is weaker, which can make the bracket come loose. Examples of this include teeth with porcelain crowns, porcelain or composite veneers, teeth with amalgam fillings, or hypo or hyper calcified enamel. We use stronger cement and bonding agent to bond to these surfaces, but sometimes even that is not enough to keep the brackets on. If back braces continuously come off due to the anatomy of the tooth or any restorations that are present, those teeth can be banded with orthodontic bands.

The patient—Being aware of what foods may break brackets and making the right choices when selecting foods to eat will help prevent broken brackets. Also, always remember to wear a sports mouth guard when participating in physical activities. It is even a good idea to wear one during sports that don’t typically require you to wear a mouth guard. This will help prevent brackets from being broken while you are playing the sport. Please ask our office for a mouth guard if you need one, since a poorly fitting one bought over the counter can break brackets. Also, please avoid putting fingers, pens, pencils, etc. in your mouth while you have braces on. Habits can cause braces to come off, plus all those things introduce bacteria into your mouth.

Technique – Bracket placement is a technique sensitive process and proper isolation is required to prevent contaminating the surface of the tooth before bonding the brackets. The amount and consistency of a patient’s saliva can affect the success of isolation techniques. Sometimes, a bracket comes off due to improper isolation, but there is a way for us to tell if a broken bracket is off due to the tooth surface getting wet during bonding or due to improper care of the braces.

Please remember, we are here to help you get the best orthodontic result possible, which involves all of us working together as a team. Please follow all of our instructions on home care and selecting foods to eat. Let’s work together and get you the beautiful and healthy smile you deserve!