What Causes a Loose Bracket and How to Handle It

By October 21, 2016 July 7th, 2017 Blog, FAQ's, Life with Braces, Maintenance

what causes a loose bracketHalloween is just around the corner! At Dougherty Orthodontics, we love Halloween. But we know that it can be challenging for patients with braces. Loose brackets (or loose braces) are one of the most common orthodontic issues around this time of year. Read on to learn what causes a loose bracket, how to prevent it, and what to do if it happens to you.

What Causes a Loose Bracket?

There are three main causes of loose brackets: the tooth, the placement of the bracket, and the patient’s eating habits. If the bracket is attached to any surface other than normal tooth enamel (e.g., porcelain, decalcified enamel, silver fillings, etc.), it is more likely to come loose or fall off. Occasionally, a bracket may become loose because it got wet from saliva while being placed by your orthodontist. Most commonly, though, loose brackets occur when patients eat foods that they’re not supposed to—such as ice or any foods that are hard and sticky. Additionally, brackets may get dislodged by your mouthguard, or they may become loose as a result of bad oral habits—such as chewing on fingernails or pens.

What to Do If Your Bracket Is Loose

If your bracket comes loose, it may move side to side or spin on the wire but should never cause discomfort. Call us the next business day to determine whether or not you need to be seen before your next appointment. If it’s still attached to the wire, leave it in place and cover it with wax.

For related info, check out our previous post: Tips for Dealing with Orthodontic Emergencies.

How to Prevent Loose Brackets

As a patient, one of the best things you can do to prevent loose brackets is to avoid eating foods that are hard, sticky, chewy, or crunchy. Around Halloween, you may find it especially difficult to avoid hard, sticky candy. Luckily, there are plenty of alternatives. Read our previous post on Halloween Candy with Braces for more advice on what’s safe to eat and what’s not. To learn more about National Orthodontic Health Month and get recipes for safe and delicious Halloween treats, visit MyLifeMySmile.org.

Have questions about what causes a loose bracket or what candy is safe to eat with braces? Contact us. Call our office at 636.825.1000 or email info@doughertyorthodontics.com. Have a safe and Happy Halloween!