Orthodontic Information

What to do when you swallow your orthodontic bracket?

orthodontist placing bracket on woman teeth

Swallowing orthodontic brackets is a common occurrence that could happen to anyone undergoing orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists recommend patients to refrain from eating nutty chocolates and hard foods if they have orthodontic brackets because the orthodontic bracket may detach and be swallowed by the patient.

What happens if you swallow the orthodontic bracket? In the following, it is explained what to do if you swallow an orthodontic bracket.

How could swallowing an orthodontic bracket happen?

As mentioned before, swallowing orthodontic brackets could happen unintentionally as a result of eating hard foods. Moreover, damaging the teeth, brushing the teeth wrongly and using dental floss and toothpicks improperly are among the things that may cause the orthodontic bracket to detach and be swallowed by the patient. Patients never intentionally swallow their orthodontic bracket!

Swallowing an orthodontic bracket could rarely happen. However, patients should be aware of the necessary measures in case of swallowing an orthodontic bracket and its possible risks.

system of dental brackets at orthodontic office

What happens if you swallow an orthodontic bracket?

The human body often expels all foreign particles easily. So, swallowing an orthodontic bracket is not much of a concern because the bracket, as a foreign body, goes through the digestive tract and leaves the body without being digested. However, there is little chance that this foreign object (orthodontic bracket) gets stuck in a part of the digestive tract and causes injury and pain or infection in the long term. If the orthodontic bracket gets stuck in the digestive tract, you may experience pain in the abdomen. Also, if the bracket goes into your lungs, you may feel chest pain or breathe hard. If you have any of the symptoms of abdominal pain, chest pain and shortness of breath, you should go to the emergency room immediately.

What should I do if I swallow an orthodontic bracket?

Although this problem is unlikely to occur, it is recommended not to ignore it and take the necessary measures. The first step after swallowing an orthodontic bracket is to keep calm. As mentioned earlier, in most cases, the digestive system dissolves any foreign body that enters as much as possible with stomach acid and expels the rest. So, you would not be in serious danger.

Some patients who swallow their orthodontic brackets think that they should force themselves to vomit in order to get that object out of their digestive system. By doing this, the foreign body may be pushed back into the constricted digestive organs, which may cause injury to these areas, resulting in internal bleeding and more acute problems.

In case of swallowing an orthodontic bracket or wire, it is suggested that the patient eat bread or mashed potatoes, so that the wire or orthodontic bracket could be expelled more easily. After taking care of the symptoms caused by swallowing the orthodontic bracket (even in case of manifesting no symptoms), you should visit your orthodontist to replace the bracket, so that it does not disrupt your orthodontic treatment process. If you have symptoms, go to the emergency room immediately.

How to prevent swallowing orthodontic bracket

Swallowing an orthodontic bracket could cause anxiety and difficulties for the patient. Therefore, it is better to avoid swallowing it as much as possible. Take orthodontic examination sessions seriously and take good care of your orthodontic appliance. If you feel that your braces or brackets are loose, be sure to talk to your orthodontist to fix the problem. Avoid touching or playing with your braces and learn properly brushing during fixed orthodontics to avoid damaging your orthodontic appliance and brackets. Also, when exercising or doing vigorous activities, you should be careful not to hit or apply pressure to your mouth. Moreover, considering the importance of diet in orthodontics you should avoid eating foods that damage your orthodontic appliance.

FAQ about swallowing orthodontic brackets

1-If I swallow an orthodontic bracket, how long should I wait for the bracket to be expelled from my body?

If the orthodontic bracket does not enter the lung, the orthodontic bracket or wire enters the stomach and, then, exits the body through feces. This process may take 24-48 hours.

2-Is it possible to swallow the orthodontic wire?

Yes, those parts of the orthodontic wire that are extra and protrude from the sides of the orthodontic device are cut by the orthodontist. These protruding parts from the end of the wire must be carefully cut and removed because the wire could not only damage the oral tissue, but it may also detach and be swallowed with the food.

3-Is it possible for the swallowed orthodontic bracket to be completely dissolved by stomach acid?

If you do not have any symptoms after swallowing an orthodontic bracket, there is nothing to worry about. You just have to wait for the bracket to be expelled. Bracket removal takes 24-48 hours. Given that brackets are made of metal, they are usually not dissolved by stomach acid.

4-My brackets have become loose and there is a possibility of swallowing. I am not able to see my orthodontist, what should I do?

If you are not able to visit your orthodontist immediately, you should fix the loose parts in place by orthodontic wax and take good care of your orthodontic appliance, especially while eating foods, and visit your orthodontist as soon as possible.

Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist
About Dr Abdolreza Jamilian Orthodontist

Dr. Jamilian, an orthodontist, has a specialized fellowship in orthodontic surgery and maxillofacial abnormalities and is a full-time professor in the orthodontics department of the Dentistry School of the Islamic Azad University. He is member of Iranian and European Board of Orthodontics (EBO) and is a member of the Iranian, American and European Orthodontists Association.

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