What to Do When Your Braces Wire Gets Bent

If you’re new to braces, this may be your first time dealing with a bent braces wire. Many braces components can break or poke, but what happens when the main arch wire bends?

The most important thing to remember is that leaving the wire as it is can cause unwanted tooth movement. Bent brace wires can also cause cheek discomfort and dig into your gums.

It’s best to take action as soon as possible, whether you do it yourself at home, or get help from your orthodontist. In this article, I’ll show you exactly how.

How to Fix a Bent Braces Wire at Home

Orthodontic wires typically bend when you eat something hard or sticky. This can also happen if the wire is too long between braces, and thus easy to displace.

If you notice a bend in your arch wires, it’s important to call your orthodontist right away to let them know. Still, there are certain things you can do yourself, at home.

  • If the bent wire is light and flexible, you can use tweezers or small pliers. You can even press with your fingers or a pencil eraser to try and pop the wire back in place.

    Gently grasp the wire with the tweezers and carefully guide it back into the back bracket (the molar tube or molar band). If you’re using a pencil erase push the middle of the bend back up and it should pop right back in.

    Be sure not to apply too much pressure, as this can cause the bracket to break. Also, try not to pull or tug on the wire. You risk pulling it out completely and then you have another problem on your hands.
  • If the bent wire is thicker or more difficult to manipulate, it’s best to leave it alone and set up an early appointment with your orthodontist. Trying to fix it at home can cause more damage or even make the problem worse.

    In the meantime, you can use orthodontic wax or blu tack to help alleviate any cheek or gum discomfort caused by the bent wire. Simply apply a small amount of wax to the affected area and press it down gently.

What are the risks of a Bent Braces Wire?

Whenever you’re dealing with a distorted wire, it’s important to call your orthodontist right away to get it fixed, or at least ask for advice. While it’s not a huge emergency, a bent wire can cause some issues with your bite:

  • Unwanted movement: A bent wire can cause unwanted movement in the tooth it’s attached to. If the wire in question is strong and rigid, it can pull the tooth out of alignment and undo some of the progress you’ve made. Straightening molars can be time-consuming, so it’s best to avoid it.
  • Wire coming out of the bracket: If the wire is bent into a U shape, it’s a sign that it can eventually come out of the last bracket or molar tube. This can be painful and uncomfortable, as the wire can poke into your cheek or gums. It’s important to get the wire fixed as soon as possible to prevent discomfort and injury.
  • Broken piece of wire: the permanent deflection point in the archwire can cause it to break. You may feel a small part of the wire in your mouth, or you may notice it’s missing. Swallowing tiny pieces of wire isn’t something we want, so pay close attention to the area and call your orthodontist.

When to go to the orthodontist’s office

If you notice bent braces wire from eating, you may be wondering whether you should wait or call your orthodontist. The answer is simple: call your orthodontist either way.

That being said, you can expect one of these 3 scenarios:

Solution: You can wait until your next orthodontist appointment.

  • 2. You’re on a flexible wire and you don’t manage to drive it back into the back bracket. The wire is hurting your cheek.

Solution: Call your orthodontist and set up an emergency appointment. If that’s not possible, see this article on poking wires and try to trim the end of the wire yourself.

  • 3. You’re on a thick, rigid arch wire that’s visibly bent. Since it’s such a strong wire, it can tilt and tip molars, which can take a while to reverse.

Solution: Call your orthodontist and see them within a few days. They will change the damaged wire with a new one.

How to prevent wires from bending again

When you have braces, it’s important to be mindful of what you eat to prevent a bent wire from eating. Certain foods can put too much pressure on your braces and cause the wire to bend or break. Here are some tips to prevent a bent wire from eating:

Choose your meals wisely

Most patients think hard crunchy foods are bad for braces and cause brackets to come off, but they can be equally harmful for your wires. A bent wire will never completely recover back into shape and it will put the wrong kind of pressure on your teeth for weeks.

Here’s a reminder of some of the foods to avoid:

Foods to AvoidFoods to Choose
Hard candyCooked vegetables
NutsSoft fruits
PopcornSoft meat / deli meat
Potato ChipsYogurt
IceCheese
GumSoup
CaramelPasta
TaffySoft bread
JerkyScrambled eggs
Corn on the cobMashed potatoes

Cut Food into Small Pieces

If you do want to eat harder foods, such as apples or raw carrots, cut them into smaller pieces first. This will make them easier to chew and reduce the risk of a bent wire.

Use Caution When Eating

When you eat, be mindful of your braces and take your time. If you know you have a section where the wire is longer and more flimsy, try to chew on the other side. This is easier said than done, but you need to make a habit of chewing mindfully.

Wear a Mouthguard When Playing Sports

If you play sports, wear a mouthguard to protect your braces from impact. A mouthguard can also prevent a bent wire if you accidentally get hit in the mouth.

Conclusion

A bent wire won’t harm your braces in the short term, but it can cause some issues and add a few weeks to your treatment time if left unchecked. The best thing you can do is check your braces and wires regularly and alert your orthodontist’s office if you see any changes.

Whether you’re new to braces or a braces veteran, taking care of your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment is crucial. That’s why I’ve put together a list of orthodontist-recommended tools that will make caring for your braces a breeze:

  • An awesome mid-range electric toothbrush. Rotating electric brushes are much more effective, in my opinion, than sonic ones. You can keep your teeth white by using whitening replacement heads.
  • A countertop water flosser to blast out food debris between teeth. I know handheld models are tempting, but you’ll need a lot of water. You can almost replace flossing with this and your gums will be healthier.
  • Braces accessories to get into all the nooks and crannies: straight or angled interdental brushes, floss threaders, orthodontic wax or silicone. For pain management, have gel ice packs handy, Orajel, and Mouth Magic (a cool soothing solution for mouth sores).
  • For clear aligner patients, a tool like PUL helps both remove and seat your aligner or retainer. Don’t forget to use a cleaning product like crystals to keep your trays fresh and hygienic.

Looking for advice, a second opinion & support on your braces journey? Join the Facebook group!

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