You have braces, and you are eating a sandwich when suddenly you notice something jiggling on your wire. Looking closely you see that it is one of your brackets… why did it come off and what should you do?
First off, don’t worry! It is not an emergency. Generally a loose bracket will stay tied to the wire, so it is recommended to leave it alone. If the wiggling bothers you, you can place some wax over the bracket to make it comfortable, but most patients aren’t bothered by it. Give the office a call, and if your next appointment isn’t for a while, we may make you an appointment sooner to have it fixed.
In terms of WHY, the most common reason is that something put pressure on the bracket, which released it from the cement and tooth. The tooth composite or cement that we use for orthodontics is made to be strong enough to keep braces on, but weak enough for braces to eventually be removed. This is why we advise not to eat hard or sticky foods- because the cement is not meant to keep the bracket on permanently. It is made to come off with enough pressure.
But, you may think to yourself, I was just eating a sandwich! Soft bread, some meat and cheese… surely that could not have broken off the bracket. Sometimes things can happen and there isn’t a great explanation, but in most cases I find that it was something that was eaten or chewed earlier that day or in the days before that did the initial loosening of the bracket. Once the bracket-cement seal gets broken, even soft bread may be the straw that breaks the camel’s back. This is why we recommend to be mindful of the foods you eat and the habits you have like chewing on pens or pencils.