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Braces Troubleshooting 101: what to do when something breaks

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If you have something break or come loose, you can always call our office to get it fixed. If it is something that Dr. Montano or Dr. Cardall feel can’t wait until your next appointment, we will do our best to get you in as soon as possible. If a piece has come out, save it in a ziplock bag and bring it with you. This diagram will help you to describe to us what is loose or broken so we know how to best accommodate you when you come in.

ELASTIC TIE: Tiny rubber band that fits around the bracket to hold the wire in place.

LOOP IN ARCHWIRE: frequently used for closing space left by an extraction. Many archwires don’t have a loop.

ARCHWIRE: The main wire that acts as a track to move the teeth along. It’s changed periodically throughout treatment as teeth move to their new positions.

BRACKET: Small attachment that holds the archwire in place. Most often, a bracket is cemented directly onto the tooth’s surface eliminating the need for a band.

HEADGEAR TUBE: Round, hollow attachment on the back bands. The inner bow of the headgear fits into it.

ELASTIC (RUBBER BAND): Small rubber band that is hooked between different points on the appliance to provide pressure to move the teeth.

HOOK: Welded or removable arm to which elastics (rubber bands) are attached.

BAND: A thin ring of metal fitted around a tooth and cemented in place. The band provides a way to attach the bracket to the tooth.

TIE WIRE: Fine wire that is twisted around the bracket to hold the archwire in place.

COIL SPRING: Fits between brackets and over archwire to open space between teeth.

Now that you’re an expert in orthodontic terminology, here’s a final word of advice: The best way to avoid broken or loose brackets in the first place is to avoid hard, sticky, and especially chewy foods. The list we provide  you when getting your braces placed is a great reference guide. By keeping your braces on and avoiding breakages, you can ensure that your orthodontic treatment is completed as quickly and efficiently as possible!

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