If you wear braces or you are planning to get braces for teeth strengthening, you might ask, “How often do you get your braces tightened?”
Usually, you need to get braces tightened every 6 months on average. Sometimes, the adjustment of braces may take place before that time if you require any treatment option. However, it may be longer if you miss an appointment if you go out on vacation. Whatever the interval is you need to follow all instructions by the orthodontist during this time.
All cases aren’t the same and the adjustment of braces depends on various important factors.
So, what are those factors, and how your orthodontist understands whether he or she should tighten the braces? And, what to do after braces tightened and what happens if you don’t get your braces tightened.
In this article, you’ll get answers to all of these questions in detail.
How often do you get your braces tightened or adjusted?
The best person to tell you when your braces need to be tightened is your orthodontist. He or she will assess the severity of the situation and other factors during the initial appointment and design a treatment plan.
The average time interval is 6 weeks. Depending upon some factors duration between braces tightening can be increased or decreased.
Factors may include the severity of the case, age of the patient, development of dentition and face, teeth and periodontal health, and others.
Moreover, the orthodontist doesn’t tighten braces in every appointment. He or she may just adjust the braces sometimes to get the best result.
But, I think you still may have a doubt. The reason for that is you may hear that braces should be adjusted every month.
So, many people ask-
“Do I Need to Have My Braces Adjusted Every Month, 2 weeks, 3 weeks, or 4 weeks?”
It happens in the past. Now a day, it’s not the case because of the advancement in orthodontics, and technology. Now, the orthodontist uses upgraded materials such as brackets and wires. So, you don’t need your braces to be adjusted every 2, 3, and 4 weeks, not even every month.
However, you may need it if you have serious problems or factors discussed above.
But, it doesn’t exclude appointments. You may need to visit your orthodontist for a follow-up check-up every month. He or she will check the treatment progress and make a plan for the next procedure such as tightening of braces. So, follow his or her advice for that.
Now, you may have another question arising in your mind, if the interval were less, the treatment duration would be less too.
It should never be like that. If you hurry, you may make the condition worse. If your orthodontist tightened braces too much and applies more pressure, it may weaken or even damage your teeth. I explained the procedure below. Check it and you’ll know how this happens.
If you are wearing a rubber band with your braces or going to have one, you may also ask how long you have to use it. Check out this article for that.
When do you need to get your braces tightened and why?
You have to know how braces work to understand it.
An orthodontist places brackets on your teeth with certain chemicals. Then, archwires are attached to the brackets.
These wires help teeth move from one position to another position. Braces can’t do alone. So, pressure or force is applied with the help of wires. Then, the movement of teeth becomes possible.
So, the tightening of braces means applying this force using the wires. After tightening, it produces a lot of pressure on your teeth for the first few days. Then gradually it becomes loose and stops applying force. This means it stops working.
In that time, braces need to be tightened and apply more pressure. This is why you need to visit your orthodontist regularly.
But, is it possible that you realize your braces require adjustment?
Yes, it’s possible as you can feel the difference. When it requires to be tightened, your brackets feel loose and there is no pain or discomfort in your teeth or gums.
You can also feel that there is no pressure from your brackets to your teeth. But, on 1st day of tightening, you may feel a lot of pressure on your teeth.
What to do when you get your braces tightened?
After getting braces tightened, you may feel pain or discomfort for the first few days. Sometimes, you may feel your teeth getting loose or you are losing your teeth after 3-4 days. But it’s normal. Don’t panic so much.
It happens due to the mechanism of tooth movement along the bone. Check my other article to know more.
Here are what you need to do after braces tightening:
1. Take a soft or liquid diet for 24-48 hours.
After getting braces tightened, you feel pain for the first few days. So, take a soft diet to prevent this from happening. You can eat mashed potato, soft vegetables, and other braces-friendly foods.
If braces hurt you too much, take liquid diets such as soup, yogurt, and others.
2. Stay away from hard and sticky foods.
Avoid hard, crunchy, and sticky foods as much as possible with braces, Moreover, you must stay away after braces tightening appointments as it will put pressure on teeth and increase pain.
3. Don’t press teeth hard while brushing or flossing.
Know proper techniques for brushing and flossing your teeth with braces or you can put extra pressure on your teeth and braces that will increase your pain.
4. Use braces-friendly tooth cleaners
Even if you know the proper methods of tooth cleaning with braces, a poor selection of tooth cleaning products can cause pain and damage your braces. So, always know about the product before you buy.
5. Follow pain relieving methods to get rid of the pain
It’s common that braces and wires to hurt your teeth after the adjustment. So, you can follow any of the top 25 pain-relieving methods that we mentioned in another article.
6. Use orthodontic wax if necessary
After the procedure, a rough surface or braces or wires may rub your cheek and gums. It happens more after getting a new attachment for braces.
If it’s too irritating, apply dental wax to smooth the surface and get rid of discomfort.
So, get the best braces wax.
What is the braces adjustment process?
When you go to your orthodontist for adjustment of braces, he or she will remove elastics or ligatures that were placed on your brackets. After that, he or she will remove archwires.
The orthodontist checks the condition of your teeth and braces and decides whether you require new archwires or not.
Then, according to the treatment planning, he or she will bend the old or new archwires and tighten that using an instrument (plier). After that, the ligature is placed again.
This process aids in the movement of your teeth. You may wonder how?
Because applied force braces put pressure on bones that hold your teeth. This pressure dissolves bones from the side pressure is applied and forms new bones on the opposite side.
Through this process, your teeth get a path to move along the bones and they shift to the desired position.
You may feel mild pain or discomfort after the procedure for 1-2 days, especially in your 1st braces adjustment schedule.
Sometimes you may need new bands, elastic, power chains, and brackets in an adjustment appointment.
The adjustment procedure needs a few minutes only.
Then, your orthodontist may suggest you visit him or her for the next tightening process after 6 to 8 weeks.
What happens if you don’t get your braces tightened?
You don’t have to face any serious problems if you don’t get your braces tightened at right time. But, your treatment duration will be prolonged because teeth movement won’t be possible after that period.
So, it’s very important to adjust them at regular intervals.
Moreover, wearing braces for a long time without any reason won’t be comfortable for you. Who likes to wear those braces for a long time?
Maybe, no one. Also keep in mind that, you have to make a lot of sacrifices for orthodontic treatment such as the removal of teeth for braces. So, you may not want to miss an appointment.
However, if you can’t visit your orthodontist at the scheduled appointment because of another emergency or your holiday tour, you can inform him or her and make another appointment. At that time, be careful of your food habits and follow the instructions.
But, don’t do it on a regular basis and never skip it completely.
How long do your teeth hurt after getting braces tightened?
After getting braces tightened, it may hurt for one or two days. You may feel mild pain and discomfort. You don’t need to be worried about that. It disappears within two to three days.
Sometimes after adjustment, you may feel no pain and mild discomfort may present, and sometimes it may hurt only during eating hard foods. Follow your orthodontist’s instructions regarding the food habits of braces wearers.
If you get hurt from a wire which is poking your mouth, you should inform your orthodontist as soon as possible. He or she will fix it.
The average duration between tightening or adjusting braces is six weeks, though this might change depending on a number of factors. Given its importance, you shouldn’t miss any appointments.
On the other hand, missing a visit can hamper your treatment progress. So, always follow your orthodontist’s instructions.