If you have braces, your orthodontist might have already mentioned something about braces tightening. So what exactly is it, and why is it necessary to tighten braces at regular intervals? Here’s everything you need to know about its process and its shenanigans.
How do braces work?
Before diving into how are braces tightened, let’s first understand how braces work to straighten your crooked, crowded, or misaligned teeth.
Braces move your teeth by exerting constant pressure on them. The shape of your jaw will gradually adapt to uphold the pressure exerted by the braces.
Your teeth are not directly connected to your jawbone, but a membrane underneath your gums surrounded by your bones upholds your teeth to your jaw. This membrane controls the position of your teeth and is the one that responds to the pressure applied by the braces.
Why are braces tightening necessary?
Now that you know how braces work, you should know why braces tightening is a crucial process for effective results.
Orthodontists do braces in stages rather than applying them in one appointment. In the beginning, the wires exert a lot of pressure on your teeth. This pressure keeps decreasing with time. Hence, to keep the pressure on your teeth maintained, you need to tighten braces regularly.
How often do braces get tightened?
Everyone is built differently, so there is no precise time limit on when you should tighten your braces. Depending on your requirements, your orthodontist will suggest you the right time for braces tightening.
Your orthodontist will usually fix a check-up appointment every 4-6 weeks since that is the average time needed to tighten braces.
Although here are some signs that indicate when you need braces tightening.
- Absence of pain from your teeth and your gums at all.
- The brackets seem to loosen up a bit.
- Your teeth do not feel like they are under added pressure when you press them together by force.
How are braces tightened?
During your braces tightening appointment, your orthodontist will first inspect the progress made and check for any problems. The braces adjustment process also includes replacing the worn-out bands, adding spacers, and addressing any pain or discomfort.
During the braces tightening process, your orthodontist will tighten or add new wire to your brackets so that they continue exerting pressure on your teeth.
Post the process, there isn’t much difference in terms of pain. However, you might feel sore or sensitive. It will last for a few days.
Do you need to do anything different post braces tightening?
According to your requirements, your orthodontist will suggest whether you have to do anything different from usual.
There might arise the need for you to wear elastic. If it is your first time wearing them, your orthodontist will show you how to put them on and take them off.
Is there pain post braces tightening?
Yes, the pain will exist after you tighten your braces, but it is not excruciating. Many people report that the pain and discomfort go away within few days, while some say that there’s no pain at all. Depending on your body, pain levels will differ.
One common thing is sensitivity. Your gums or teeth won’t hurt as you do your daily chores, but they might feel pain once you try to eat. Avoid eating sticky food or hard candies. Stick to meals that require minimum to no chewing at all like – yogurt, soup, smoothies, porridge, stew, mashed potatoes, well-cooked grains, scrambled eggs, etc.
If you experience pain from braces tightening, you can consider taking over-the-counter painkillers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen. Only use these medications for a few days. If the pain still lingers, consult your orthodontist.
Pain relief measures such as applying an icepack on the outside of your jaw and lower cheeks will calm the soreness of your teeth. The cold compress decreases inflammation and eases discomfort. Drinking ice-cold water will numb sore gums and reduce inflammation.
Try a topical numbing gel. You can apply it to your gums with your fingers to desensitize the areas of your mouth that cause discomfort.
Are you thinking about getting braces?
Getting braces is a huge decision and an extensive process. It is not just about applying braces to your teeth but also braces tightening and the after-care required for them.
Some people find the entire process a great hassle to comprehend. The braces adjustment causes immense discomfort and pain, but you will feel them being worth it once you see your straight smile post braces.
Putnam Orthodontics is the perfect solution for your orthodontic needs. With over 14 years of experience, Dr. Pai is New York’s most trusted orthodontist specializing in – Invisalign and Damon braces for all ages. Offering quality services with a team of top-notch dentists, we strive to provide you with a positive and pleasant experience.
Book an appointment today!