Braces are meant to help your teeth. And that’s exactly what they do. But like any medical treatment, orthodontic implements like braces sometimes can come with complications. Though uncommon, these issues can stem from a few different causes. 

While some complications are more of a nuisance, others merit attention and can cause pain, discomfort, and further issues. The chances of braces causing you any serious problems are very low, but we still think it’s important for patients to be aware of what can happen.

With a little awareness and some basic knowledge about oral care you’ll be ready to take action in the rare case that complications do arise. Equipped with the right information you’ll be ready to enjoy a comfortable treatment without incident, and experience a brand new smile in no time at all. 


Broken rubber bands


You need to eat. You need to talk. Sometimes you do both at the same time. Constant wear and tear on crucial braces elements like the rubber bands (if you have them) can cause them to break on occasion. 

You’ll probably feel it when braces break, and you may notice a release of tension or pressure on your teeth. Due to their placement, some patients can actually reapply bands themselves. As a quick tip, clean tweezers and a parent or partner to help can be a lifesaver! If broken bands are too hard to fix on your own, a quick trip to the orthodontist will do the trick. 

If rubber bands are part of your braces treatment, make sure you know exactly how to take care of them, and be sure to ask questions if anything seems unclear.


Broken Wires


Broken rubber bands are fairly common, but broken wires are a bit rarer. Broken wires can be both uncomfortable and detrimental to the effectiveness of your braces. Since wires are used to connect the brackets and keep them in tension, a broken wire means that teeth are no longer being moved to their desired position. 

Most patients find that they need to slightly trim broken wires and apply wax to the broken end to keep their mouth comfortable until their orthodontist can fully reattach the wire.


Broken or Loose Brackets


Brackets can be loosened due to poor bonding or when teeth actually strike the brackets as your bite changes during treatment. Hard or sticky foods are the most common culprit of broken brackets. This is just one of the reasons why it’s so important to watch what you eat!


Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do (or should try to do) at home to remedy a broken or loosened bracket. If the bracket is causing discomfort you can often apply some wax to a wire or any components that might be poking your gums, cheeks, or inner lip. 


Your orthodontist will need to reapply the bracket (and sometimes replace it) and ensure it’s properly bonded. Schedule an appointment as soon as possible if one of your brackets breaks or loosens.


Bad Breath


Ok, this isn’t an emergency. And while this doesn’t necessarily hurt you, it can be a big pain for others! You can control what you eat, but you can also take special care to clean your braces extra carefully. Chronic bad breath could also be a sign of an infection or a more significant problem. If additional cleaning doesn’t help fix chronic bad breath, it could signal the onset of something more serious like gum disease. 




Check out our article on how to practice good oral health with braces for more info on how to practice hygiene and help prevent complications. Good oral care can also help with issues like staining. Contrary to popular opinion, staining from braces is often caused by food that gets left behind when braces are cleaned poorly. Frequent brushing keeps food away from your gums and teeth and keeps your pearly whites looking a little brighter.




We’re here to help assess and fix these complications when they come up. Even when it’s totally unpredictable and inconvenient. The best things you can do are listen to advice from your orthodontist, practice good oral care, and immediately report any problems. 


Have a question? Reach out to our team by calling or scheduling your appointment today.