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Orthodontic Brackets Breaking

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Dr. Lance Timmerman  also does short term orthodontics to help achieve the cosmetic dental goals of his patients. 6 Month Smiles, a popular method to straighten the front teeth, is his most common method, which uses tooth colored brackets and tooth colored wires.  Sometimes this is done before porcelain veneers, allowing more conservative tooth preparation and preserving tooth structure.  However, sometimes we expect brackets breaking off.

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Starting out, the teeth are in their worst position. This isn’t an opinion, this is just stating that it “only gets better” as treatment progresses. The first wire is a very small diameter and very flexible, made from nickel-titanium, and with the special tooth colored coating it is almost invisible.

This material uses very gentle forces to move the teeth and since the wire is round there is less torque (meaning less pain).  This first month doesn’t usually see much dramatic change in tooth position, the bone supporting the teeth is softening up.  Quite often the opposing teeth may even bite down on the bracket itself and it is not unusual for a few brackets to pop off or break off.

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The greatest and most significant changes usually occur during the second month of 6 Month Smiles treatment.  This is when “fresh elastics” or ligation to the brackets are placed, and since the bone has been “softened” during the first month, visible movement of tooth position occurs.

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Since the teeth are now more aligned than before (but not perfect, so treatment continues) the likelihood of brackets breaking off or popping off of the tooth is dramatically diminished.  Much of the remaining time of treatment is more “fine tuning” than anything.

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While the first month or two can be frustrating with sore teeth or brackets breaking off, it only gets better.  As teeth line up there is less tenderness (if there was any to begin with) and the brackets are very stable.

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