Orthodontically Bent out of Shape: Is a Bent Brace Wire a Dental Emergency?

The arch wires on your upper or lower braces are crucial to the success of your orthodontic treatment. Working together with the carefully placed brackets on your teeth, among other things, these wires help to shift your teeth in the desired directions.

If you accidentally bend the arch wire then, you may inadvertently cause your teeth to move, thus, lengthening your treatment time.

Arch Wires Are Designed to Be Bent

Orthodontists actually bend arch wires to facilitate certain types of movement, such as rotation or a certain amount of horizontal or vertical movement. Since arch wires are made of materials that naturally return to their former shape if bent, your dentist will purposely bend the wire in the places where he wants your teeth to move a certain way.

In the early stages of treatment, the wire is thinner and more flexible. Later, however, arch wires are progressively replaced with thicker and stronger wires. The thinner the wire, the easier it is to bend and the more subtle the force on your teeth. The thicker the wire, the stronger the force on your teeth. Only your dentist should be bending your arch wires.

You Should See Your Dentist Immediately

A bend in an arch wire will gradually straighten. In doing this, it applies sustained force on the teeth in the area of the kink or bend. That's why you need to see your orthodontist immediately if you accidentally bend the wire. Otherwise, if you fail to deal with the issue and forget, your teeth may become even more crowded than they were before.

Don't Try to Fix the Issue Yourself

Though it may look like a simple matter of getting in there and pulling the kink out of the wire, the simple fact is that your finger are poorly equipped to do the job properly. It may look like you have adequately reshaped the wire but in doing so, the pulling and the pushing forces you exerted, could have redirected the movement of your teeth.

You could also end up dislodging one or more of the brackets affixed to your teeth. When this happens, all planned movement for those teeth will come to an end until the brackets are reattached by your dentist. Accidents happen. Your orthodontist understands this and will simply straighten out the wire and send you on your way.

If you accidentally bend your braces arch wire, call your dentist to book an appointment right away. In this case, time is movement!