One of the things you need to know about getting braces is that it’s an active treatment. When you get braces put in, it’s not a one and done placement, you will meet the orthodontist regularly to check treatment progress, but that’s not all. The orthodontist pays special attention to your orthodontic needs throughout the whole treatment and makes adjustments along the way for the treatment to maintain its effectiveness. One of the most important parts of this treatment is the regular tightening of your braces, a process that’s done between week 6 and week 8 following the placement of the braces, and then every 6 to 8 weeks thereafter. In this guide, you’ll learn what takes place during a tightening and why this is a crucial part of your orthodontic treatment.
What Happens When You Get Your Braces Tightened?
Braces are put in place to realign your teeth and jaw by slowly moving them to correct malocclusion, straighten teeth and solve other dental issues. Traditional braces are made up of two key components. There are brackets which are fused to your teeth, and then wires that connect the brackets. The wires put pressure on the brackets (and your teeth) slowly shifting their position. The pressure exerted is so effective that the wires will need to be tightened. If not they would become loose, rendering them useless in correcting orthodontic issues.
How are Braces Tightened?
The process of tightening your braces includes the removal of the elastics keeping your braces in place and the wires that connect the braces (the brackets won’t be removed). This will help the orthodontist determine how much tightening will be needed. Following this assessment and even cleaning of your teeth, the archwires will then be replaced with tighter ones if necessary, and then new elastics will be put in place. Your orthodontist will determine how often you will need to get tightening done following the first time.
Side Effects of Braces Tightening
If you’re getting your braces tightened for the first time, what can you expect? Are there side effects and can they be avoided? After the tightening, it’s normal to feel discomfort, pressure, sensitivity and soreness in your teeth. Talk to your orthodontist about whether you can use pain relief tablets to ease the pain. You can also apply a cold compress to your jaw. This will ease up in the days following the tightening. Since it can be uncomfortable, eating is going to be a challenge after the treatment.
To ease the discomfort, avoid eating any hard, crunchy, sticky foods or anything so small it can get caught in the wires. Eat soft foods like;
- Mashed potatoes and squash
- Tender meat
Getting your braces tightened is one of the measures that ensure long-term effectiveness of the realignment treatment. While it can be a bit uncomfortable after the procedure, it’s necessary for you getting orthodontic treatment results that you will be happy with. Be sure to talk to your orthodontic about concerns you have about the procedure, and what can be done to improve your comfort. If you have any questions, we would be happy to provide information in the lead up to the tightening or after. Get in touch with us.