What to do if a bracket comes off or becomes loose

Well, first: Don’t panic.

Bracket breakage can happen! They can become loose on the tooth, lose one of their colored (or clear) ties, and brackets can even completely come off your tooth, leaving them hanging on the wire. The most important thing to realize is that this is a simple fix! And we’re here to help walk you through it, step by step.

STEP 1- Evaluate the issue

Some questions you may want to ask yourself are: 

  • Which tooth is it that the bracket feels loose on?
  • Is that the only bracket with an issue?
  • Is it poking or causing any discomfort?
  • Look at the rest of your braces – is there anything else that should be addressed when you come in to take care of this bracket?
My braces bracket is loose let's evaluate the situation blog

STEP 2: Evaluate why this happened

The next step is to properly evaluate why this happened so that your orthodontist can address the issue and hopefully save you any future trouble. Consider the following: 

  • Did you bite into something hard or sticky? (If so, definitely don’t do this again!)
  • Have you been neglecting your brushing?
  • Have you been brushing too aggressively?
  • Has this tooth lost a bracket in the past?

All of these questions are important in determining what went wrong so that you may discuss with your orthodontist how you can prevent this from occurring in the future. If you don’t know how it happened, that’s okay, too! The important part is…

STEP 3: Call your orthodontist!

Your local orthodontist can help walk you through ways to stay comfortable (wax is your best friend in these situations) and work diligently to get the bracket fixed and have you back on track for your treatment plan.

How long can you go with a loose bracket?

If you are not experiencing discomfort from your broken or loose bracket, then you can usually wait several days to a couple of weeks before it begins to interfere with your treatment. The main reason we want to address these in a timely manner is that lost brackets mean braces usually aren’t working at the full capacity your orthodontist is aiming for. The longer you go without addressing the loose or missing bracket, the longer you may be extending your treatment time. Having all teeth except for one engaged means that the unengaged tooth is not moving the way it was intended. All it takes is one bad apple (or tooth) to throw off the whole bunch!

Always remember to be cognizant of your braces so that you stay on track throughout your orthodontic journey, allowing you to reach your healthiest, most confident smile as quickly as possible!

Have another braces-related question?

Visit our page on Orthodontics FAQ to find more questions and answers!

Find your local Orthodontist