What to Do About Loose Braces

Loose braces may be handled in a variety of ways depending on the situation at hand. If your braces have become loose, you need not worry, because dealing with a loose bracket is easier than you might think.

A boy with braces brushing his teeth
Juanmonino / E+ / Getty Images

When Braces Are Loose 

Your braces can become loose due to a number of reasons. The most common reasons are:

  • Eating the wrong food
  • Bad habits such as biting your fingernails, nibbling on pens and pencils, or chewing ice
  • A poor bond between the tooth and the bracket
  • A change in bite due to the constant movement of the teeth
  • Injury or trauma to the mouth

What You Should Do

If one or more of your braces have become loose, call your orthodontist or dentist right away. If you are due for an archwire change within a few days of the bracket becoming loose, your orthodontist may suggest you wait until your scheduled appointment.

If your next appointment isn't for a few weeks, you may be instructed to book an earlier appointment to have the braces re-cemented onto your teeth.

Either way, the office should be informed, so they are able to prepare in advance for the extra time required for this type of appointment.

Loose pieces can be a choking hazard. If a piece is at risk for dislodging, contact your orthodontist for guidance about removing it.

The bracket is essentially "floating" on the wire when it has become loose, which may cause it to slide into a position where it causes some discomfort.

If the bracket is rubbing on the gum, place a piece of the orthodontic wax over the bracket as needed. If you don't have any wax, use a piece of sugar-free gum instead.

If the small rubber band that surrounds the bracket has also come off, you will want to contact your orthodontist to re-secure it.

The Risks

Having your braces become loose may set your treatment back by months. The teeth will need to play "catch-up" with the other teeth around it.

Promptly taking care of an orthodontic emergency, such as having loose braces, will ensure that your orthodontic treatment continues to stay on track.

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  1. American Dental Association. What (and How) to Eat When You're Having Dental Issues.