Skip to main content

Something’s just happened to your loose braces bracket. It’s gone, and it didn’t fall out of your mouth. Did you swallow it? You swallowed it. Now what? Will swallowing a braces bracket hurt? Will it harm you? Can you die if you swallow a braces bracket? What if you accidentally swallow braces wire? We know it can be scary, but the first thing to do may be the hardest — don’t panic! It probably isn’t as bad as you think. 

Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics gets a lot of questions about braces treatment and has dealt with many emergency braces cases. We know it can be scary to swallow part of a wire, a bracket, an elastic band, or even dental wax. Most of the time, the item will safely pass through your system. What should you do if it doesn’t, or if you’re worried? If you’re in the Topeka, KS, area, you can contact us for advice and assistance with these or any orthodontic emergencies. We’re here to help! 

How Could I Swallow Braces Bracket?

When your braces are put on your teeth, brackets are bonded to your teeth with a strong substance meant to hold the bracket until we’re ready to take them off. It’s rare for a bracket to pop off, but it can happen. The bonding may not have dried or set properly, or you may have an accident that injures your mouth and pops off a bracket. Often a bracket loosens or pops off because the patient eats foods from the “no-no” list. Hard, crunchy foods, sticky foods, or foods with a front bite, like apples or raw carrots, can pop a bracket of the tooth, which is why we tell you to avoid those foods while wearing braces. 

If that advice isn’t heeded, a bracket could come off a tooth, or part of a wire can break. You also can swallow an elastic band or dental wax. While it’s rare, it does happen. 

What Do I Do If I Swallow a Bracket or Wire? 

If you do swallow some part of your braces, there are steps you can take to ensure you stay safe. The first one is not to panic. A bracket is very small and can pass easily through the digestive system. You likely won’t even feel it until it shows up 24 hours or so later. You’re not going to die, so don’t worry about that. 

Wires can be a little trickier, depending on the size of the wire you swallow. Again, a tiny piece of wire will pass easily through your system. However, if the wire piece is large, it could poke you here and there on the way down. Suppose you feel sharp pains or have other unusual symptoms. In that case, it might not be a bad idea to visit an urgent clinic or doctor’s office to see if further examination is necessary. Keep in mind, though, this is EXTREMELY rare. The vast majority of the time, it passes through you normally. 

Another extremely rare occurrence is if you accidentally inhale as the bracket is going down. In this case, the bracket could end up in the lungs, which needs to be treated immediately. If you swallow a bracket and experience chest pain or difficulty breathing, we recommend you see a doctor immediately. 

What If I Swallow Rubber Bands or Dental Wax?

What happens if you swallow rubber bands? What if you swallow dental wax? Again, don’t panic. The rubber bands and dental wax will pass through your system as easily as the bracket. Both of these products are specially made to be non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about getting sick from chemicals. 

Should I See My Orthodontist After Losing a Bracket?

You should contact your orthodontist as soon as you discover any damage to your braces. Each part of your braces has an important job and works in conjunction with the other parts to straighten your teeth. Any damage to your braces can delay or disrupt your treatment. The sooner we can repair that damage, the better. 

Once you call us and explain the problem, we will work with you to get you in as soon as possible to assess the damage more thoroughly. If you have a bracket or wire poking or irritating your mouth, use dental wax to cover the area until you can come in to see us. Once you’re here, we’ll assess the damage and determine the best way to repair it. We can also answer any questions you have about keeping your braces safe and damage-free throughout your treatment. 

What If I Swallowed Retainer Wire or Retainer Plastic?

Much like with braces wires, retainer wires can do damage if they’re large enough. If you experience serious pain, trouble breathing, bleeding, nausea, or vomiting, visit an emergency room or urgent care immediately. Call us to let us know what’s happened when you can. 

Most of the time, though, retainer parts will go the way of braces parts — through your system. You may or may not see it. Your stomach acid can dissolve a lot, especially if it’s a ceramic bracket from clear braces, dental wax, or a small piece of plastic. 

Emergency Care Orthodontist Topeka KS

Whatever the emergency, Wilson & Hendrickson Orthodontics is there to help you and ease your mind. We know accidents with your braces can be scary, and accidentally swallowing a part of your braces can be even scarier. But it is rare to have complications from either event. If you have damage to your braces or are even concerned about them, give us a call! Our team is ready to take great care of you.

Design, video, photo, and branding by Clear Partnering Group.