How and When to Tighten Your Braces

girl with braces smiling on chair

Getting orthodontic braces for teeth is time-consuming yet effective. Braces exert pressure on teeth that enables the teeth to move towards the desired position. As the teeth move, the braces become loose, and they need to be readjusted and tightened to ensure a constant pressure is applied to the teeth at all times. Read on to know more about why, how and when to tighten braces:

1. Why do braces need to be tightened?
The main reason braces need professional orthodontic adjustments is to make sure your braces are effectively moving your teeth. Traditional braces use several wires connected to brackets which are cemented and fixed onto your teeth.

Initially, these wires are exerting a lot of pressure on your teeth, but eventually, the pressure decreases. This indicates that braces have to be adjusted and tightened. The orthodontist uses fresh elastics and rubber bands to adjust the braces and the wires so that they don’t cease to apply gentle pressure to move the teeth making sure they are moving in the right direction.

2. How often do you have to get your braces tightened?
It is necessary to make regular visits to the orthodontist every few weeks for adjustments. Orthodontist usually schedules check-up appointment for every 4-6 weeks.

3. What can you expect at your appointment?
Adjustment is also a time to replace existing bands with new ones and address any pain or discomfort issues. The typical orthodontic adjustment appointment only takes about 20 minutes.

  • The adjustment process undergoes multiple things as follows:
  • The rubber bands that hold the brackets to the archwire are removed.
  • Next, the archwire is detached.
  • This is followed by the orthodontist examining your teeth and their positioning.
  • Lastly, either your old archwire or a new one will be put back onto your brackets and then the orthodontist will add new elastic ligatures to hold the brackets to the archwire.

4. How long do your teeth hurt after getting braces tightened?
Some patients don’t feel pain after their regular appointments – but others may experience discomfort for 1-3 days. If you’re a new patient, after the first six months, soreness tends to lessen with each appointment

5. What helps reduce braces pain and discomfort?
Adjusting wires can include bending, tightening braces, or even replacing the wires, as required. When the wires are changed, extra pressure on the teeth and gums can cause discomfort and irritation. If you experience soreness, follow these tips to help with braces pain relief:

  • Use an oral anaesthetic or over-the-counter pain relief medicine
  • Use an icepack
  • Drink cold water
  • Eat soft foods
  • Be patient

5. Does getting your braces tightened hurt?
As mentioned previously, adjusting and getting your braces tightened can cause soreness and pain for a few days. The discomfort is not as bad and takes a few days to get used to your teeth’ increased pressure. Each adjustment is a step toward straight teeth, but sometimes the movement of teeth can be painful.

7. What to eat after braces tightened?
Many patients experience less discomfort and pain from these appointments over time. Expect slight discomfort for a few days after tightening the braces. To prevent discomfort further, you should be mindful of what you eat. Depending on tooth sensitivity, you may need to eat a particular kind of food periodically as teeth slowly shift during treatment. These foods should be easy to chew, swallow, and digest and include:

  • Soups
  • Eggs
  • Yoghurt
  • Oatmeal
  • Smoothies
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Noodles
  • Rice
  • Tortillas
  • Bananas

After you have got your braces tightened, there are a few food items that you need to stay away from. These food products include:

  • Nuts
  • Chewy candies
  • Hard vegetables and fruits
  • Hard meat
  • Nuts
  • Granola
  • Chips

Orthodontic pain and discomfort is common and completely normal and should be expected with braces. In the end, you are going to have a beautiful, healthy smile that will make all the discomfort worthwhile.

If you’re anxious and concerned about your braces pain, or if you’re interested in getting braces on for a perfect smile, give us a call at Rome Orthodontics today.

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