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Braced for Dislodged Brackets: Why Brace Brackets Sometimes Dislodge from Teeth

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One of the most common issues faced by patients with braces is dislodged brackets. When a bracket dislodges from a tooth, patients can be left feeling confused and frustrated. The situation is made worse if the same bracket continually dislodges even after being replaced multiple times. Fortunately, this doesn't affect the efficiency of the affected braces and is usually a matter of reattaching the bracket.

If the problem persists however, you and your dentist should work out what is causing the problem so you don't have to keep going back for repairs.

Unconscious Habits Such as Nail Biting Dislodge Brackets

Habits like nail biting, chewing on pencils, or even leaning on your fists can apply prolonged pressure to a bracket and eventually cause it to dislodge. If the same bracket keeps popping off, for instance, it might be due to an unconscious habit that you have whilst working or concentrating.

Hard Foods Can Cause Brackets to Dislodge

When you first got your braces, your dentist will have warned against eating sticky or hard foods. However, food can sometimes be deceptively hard or sticky and cause a bracket to pop off a tooth.

The Opposing Tooth May Be Pushing Against the Bracket

Sometimes, the opposing tooth may be putting pressure on the bracket of the adjacent tooth when you eat or clench your jaw (even gently). For example, your upper eye tooth (canine) may be pushing against the bracket of your premolar if there is some misalignment.

Bonding Glue Does Not Adhere Well to Crowns

Orthodontists need to roughen the surface of your teeth using a process referred to as etching, which is done using phosphoric acid, before applying the composite glue to hold the bracket in place. Crowns cannot be etched and this means that the resin glue does not adhere to them as well as it does to natural teeth. This may eventually cause a bracket to dislodge.

Saliva with a Low pH Dislodges Brackets

If your diet consists of foods and drinks that are highly acidic, such as soft drinks and citrus fruits, the pH of your saliva may be lower than it should be. Healthy saliva should be between 6.0 and 7.0 and this range is sufficient to help neutralize acid. A study found that when saliva had a pH of 3.8 or lower, the glue holding brackets in place was more likely to fail. This could theoretically lead to several brackets or more dislodging over the course of your treatment.

If during your treatment, one or more of your brackets dislodges, use a cotton swab to gently manoeuvre the bracket back into place, and apply some dental wax to serve as temporary glue. Get in touch with your orthodontist as soon as you can to have the bracket replaced, and be sure to explore all of the above possibilities when trying to figure out why the bracket became dislodged.