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HELP! How does my child have another broken appliance?!?


We understand how frustrating this is for you as a parent because of the extra time out of your busy schedule spent to repair the braces; however it is also very frustrating for Dr. Harman and her team as well.

The number one issue we face in our practice is broken appliances. We typically will see anywhere from 50 to 75 patients a day. It is our goal to limit the number of repairs in any given day to about 2%-3%, which works out to be no more than 1 to 2 per day. It has been calculated that it costs approximately 15-30 extra minutes in chair time and $120.00 to make each repair!

If every patient came in with a broken appliance it would be devastating as far as time management and additional overhead is concerned. As an orthodontic specialist, Dr. Harman and her highly-trained team are prepared to go to great lengths to control the number of repairs each day.

What causes broken appliances (brackets, bands, wires, etc)?

There are really TWO main factors an orthodontist can control to achieve the greatest bond strength so the appliances can withstand the normal forces of mastication (chewing). We know this is absolutely imperative to prevent the least number of repairs in any given day.

  1. Teeth must be cleaned and prepped properly prior to placing braces on the teeth.
  2. Teeth must remain completely dry while cementing the braces on the teeth.

There is ONE factor that we cannot control: Dietary habits can drastically affect the endurance of orthodontic appliances. Eating hard, crunchy, sticky, gooey foods, chewing ice, pencils or even fingernails have all been identified as the possible culprit of many broken appliances in the past. However, orthodontic appliances are fragile and any type of “food”, hard or soft, can weaken the adhesives slowly over a period of time until the appliance finally breaks. Care must always be taken when eating to reduce this additional wear and tear!

At Heidi Harman Orthodontics, we allow up to (3) appliance repairs during a child’s treatment time and begin charging $45.00 per repair thereafter. In most cases, the child will be completely honest about what they were doing when a bracket was broken and 99% of the time it was because they were being a little too “rough” with their appliances. If you ever have any questions or concerns about taking care of your child’s orthodontic appliances, we welcome you to discuss them at their next appointment with us.