Broken braces? What To Do - From A Top Orthodontist in Ohio
Posted on 02/02/2023
Patient on treatment chair

When you have braces, it’s not unusual to sometimes break a wire or bracket. Even with strict adherence to best practices (like no taffy), things can happen. But as a top orthodontist in Ohio, we can tell you now DON’T PANIC! Even if it’s a Friday night and you won’t be able to get it repaired at your trusted orthodontist near you for a few days.

That said, we know it can be uncomfortable, so here are some easy steps to follow and rest assured you’re doing what you can for a temporary at-home fix:

  1. Call and leave a message with your orthodontist’s office so they can get back to you Monday with an appointment.
  2. If a wire is poking you somewhere inside your mouth:
    1. Place wax over the irritating area of the wire - hopefully you have orthodontic wax that your provider gave you at the start of treatment, or sometimes you can get quick shipping from an ortho wax provider online. If you do this, change out the wax every 12-24 hours or after a meal as needed.
    2. Use clean and disinfected nail trimmers to trim the wire IF there is easy access (typically not the end of the wire at the back of the mouth), and pull the trimmed section straight forward and out of the mouth carefully (you don’t want to cause any cuts on your way out!).
  3. If a bracket or brackets are loose (no longer bonded to the tooth) but still on the wire:
    1. Place orthodontic wax over the bracket if it’s irritating the lips or cheeks. This mishap may not even be bothersome.
  4. If a bracket has been swallowed:
    1. This has and can happen, but do not worry, it will pass uneventfully!
  5. If a cut or sore has already formed from irritation, use these tips for faster healing:
    1. Keep the mouth clean with regular brushing and flossing.
    2. Use warm salt water rinses several times per day (1 tsp of salt in 6-8 ounces warm water).


Beyond these steps, try not to worry and let your orthodontist know on Monday so they can get you in for a repair. You don’t want to leave any of these issues left untreated – aside from causing discomfort and even long-term harm, they could lead to less effective treatment.

But a minor temporary fix yourself can keep you comfortable until you can get in to see your doctor - who is hopefully a top provider in your area, just like O’Brien Orthodontics is a top orthodontist in Ohio.

Don’t panic, and happy healing!