Why Do Brackets Break and What Should I Do?Millions of people have brackets at some point in their lives and one of the top concerns is avoiding breaking them. Brackets, the ceramic or metal pieces attached to each tooth, can end up breaking if the orthodontist’s instructions aren’t adhered to. The following information will explain why brackets break and what to do if it happens.

Avoid Hard or Sticky Foods

Eating something hard or sticky will end up weakening or breaking the resin that was used to hold the brackets in place. When a bracket comes loose, it can end up painfully poking your cheek, tongue and/or gums. A few of the foods that will increase your chances of breaking your brackets include hard candies and sticky sweets like taffy and caramels. There are several other foods that can cause problems if you don’t follow your dentist’s instructions, including pizza, meat, apples, corn on the cob, carrots, basically anything that is overly chewy or hard. You can still eat some of these foods if you cut them in small pieces.

What Should I Do If My Brackets Break?

Call and discuss the problem with your orthodontist or their office staff and schedule an appointment. If it’s not possible for you to get in right away, the orthodontist will be able to offer advice to address treating any discomfort and to prevent additional complications until you can get in for your appointment. If you put the appointment off, it can end up causing additional complications and add months of your treatment time.

Care Tip


If you have broken bracket that’s causing you pain, you can use the wax that your orthodontist gave you, applying it over the bracket to keep it from causing discomfort until you can get in for an appointment.

Other Injuries
If an injury occurs, like a fall or a blow to the mouth, apply a cold compress to the injured area and call your orthodontist immediately. With these types of injuries, an x-ray of the teeth is required to determine the severity of injury and treatment to address the determined problem. If the brackets are dislodged or displaced, they’ll need to be adjusted or replaced as soon as possible.

Eating restricted foods and not following your orthodontist’s instructions regarding the appropriate care of brackets can cause problems that result in more time in the orthodontist’s chair, additional out-of-pocket expenses and will in some cases extend the length of treatment. You will have plenty of time to enjoy restricted foods after your braces are removed. It will be well worth the wait once you have achieved the beautiful smile that you got the brackets for in the first place.

Ousama El-Hillal
Ousama El-Hillal, referred to as Dr. O by patients, staff and friends is an Orthodontist at E&S Orthodontics. He founded E&S Orthodontics with Dr. Saavedra in 2004. He is driven to create Wide Beautiful Smiles Without Extractions.

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