At Home Solutions Part 2: Loose Brace

Another common concern that can be addressed at home is a brace coming loose.  You'll be able to tell that a brace is loose by feeling it.  When you push on the brace, it will move up and down.  It may even come completely unattached and fall out of your mouth.

Why do braces come loose?  There are a number of reasons, but the most common is related to eating.  Eating foods that are especially hard, crunchy, or chewy can easily result in broken/loose braces.  Patients often tell me that a brace came loose spontaneously.  Odds are, the brace was loosened while eating and not noticed until later.  No matter what the case is, don't panic!

While we almost always need to eventually repair the loose brace, it usually isn't urgent enough to require a special trip to the office unless it's causing substantial discomfort.  Here's what we recommend:

  • Call the office to let us know that the brace is loose, and we can help you decide if we should make a special appointment to repair the brace or if it can wait until your next visit.
  • If the brace is detached, you can remove it from your mouth.
  • If there is a remnant of wire sticking out where the brace came loose, you can treat this as you would any other poking wire.  (See my post from two weeks ago.) In other words, use wax to protect it, or clip the wire if you're able.

How do we decide whether the brace needs to be replaced as soon as possible?  It depends on several factors including which part of the mouth is affected and how close you are to completing your treatment.

If you've had a brace come loose, don't feel bad!  While the goal is always to complete treatment without any loose braces, it isn't uncommon to have one or two become unattached during your time in treatment.  If you're able to pinpoint the reason, then it can be a learning experience that can help you avoid more loose braces in the future!

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