During orthodontic treatment, you need to wear various elastics. Power chain braces or ortho power chains are one of those.
You may be afraid of the name power chain if you don’t know about it. It’s neither a metal chain, not even cruel-looking like braces or archwires. It’s made of elastic just like ligatures.
They are also of different types and colors. Braces-wearer gets excited during this period because of the braces colors.
Here, you will know everything that you need to know about power chain braces before you get them and get answers to all of your questions related power chains.
What are power chains for braces?
Power chain braces are strings of elastic rings that are connected together and used to close the gaps between teeth or hold them in the desired position. They work along with brackets and archwire to move the teeth fast by putting additional pressure.
The difference between ligature and power chain is ligature is an individual elastic that holds the brackets in position whereas, in the case of the power chain, O-shaped elastics get connected to form a chain that is attached to braces.
It’s also known as power thread braces or elastomeric or elastic chain or ortho power chains.
The power chain in braces is used for active orthodontic treatment while ligature isn’t.
It’s a long elastic band that has circular holes. The holes are located at equal distances from each other that are placed in the middle of brackets.
Some people call it rubber band braces. But, a rubber band is a completely different thing.
It’s also made of elastic and used in orthodontic treatment for other reasons.
What is the difference between ortho power chains and regular braces?
When you wear a power chain, it may look like you are wearing colorful braces. But, power chains are nothing like regular braces.
- Regular braces are made of metal, ceramic or other materials that are hard, whereas power chains are made of elastic that are soft.
- We, orthodontists, use power chains for a short period while we use regular braces for a long time.
- When regular braces are tightened using archwire, it puts more pressure that feels more painful. But, power chains don’t put that much pressure and less painful.
You may have to wear braces without power chains for a long time in the course of treatment.
Besides, this elastic can’t work alone to correct your teeth. In fact, it helps the brackets and the archwire.
Types of ortho power chains for braces
All power chain braces aren’t the same. The diameter of their holes and the length of the chain are different from each other.
Depending on various treatment requirements, there are four types of power chain for braces.
1. Closed chain
It’s also known as a continuous chain which has an interlinking space of 3 mm. It’s placed in each tooth.
You get it when you have spacing between lower incisor teeth. It can provide more force than long chains.
2. Short chain
It’s placed in every other tooth with a 3.5 mm distance of interlinking. You get it when you need to close the gap between the teeth of your lower jaw.
3. Long chain
It’s placed in every third tooth with a 4 mm interlink distance. Your orthodontist attaches to the upper jaw to fix gaps between teeth.
4. Extra long chain
It’s used in special cases. Interlinking distances and holes are less. The distance is 4.5 mm.
Depending upon the type of case, your orthodontist will decide the types and size of the power chain holes you need.
Purpose of power chain braces
The orthodontists suggest power chain braces for the following cases:
- Closing the gaps between two or more teeth.
- Holding the teeth in a position to avoid reopening of space.
- Adding extra force along with braces and archwire.
- Providing a certain direction to the tooth for alignment.
Now, we’ll know when to use these elastic ortho chains.
When do you get power chains on braces?
One of the common questions they ask is, “When do you get power chains for braces?”
Usually, you may get power chains for braces when you have gaps between your teeth that need to be close or hold teeth in position. You may have to wear these in the 2nd or last half of the treatment.
Sometimes, you may get power early chains to correct misalignment, crooked teeth, or malocclusion.
Though every patient may not need power chains, it’s very common in orthodontic treatment.
Whether you need to wear the elastic chain depends on the types of cases.
Take a look at the time when you have to wear power chains for braces:
- During the active phase in braces, and
- In the last half in braces treatment, or
- Early-stage during tooth alignment or bite correction
In the early stage, orthodontists provide you power chains to close gaps and correction of bite.
But, most of the time you may get the chains in the late phase to fix the gap after completion of other tooth alignment procedures.
However, you have to wear it to keep it in a certain position.
When your orthodontists correct your bite, in some cases it’s required to hold them in position so that they can’t go back to their previous state. During this time, they can use power chains to prevent them.
However, you don’t get these elastics on the same teeth all the time. Besides, there are various types of conditions, when you have to wear them.
You may get the power chain braces in the following cases:
1. Molar to molar space closure
Orthodontist attaches molar to molar continuous power chain when there’s a need for closing generalized spacing, which means spacing between almost all teeth.
Normally, when spacing persists after the end of teeth alignment.
Sometimes, you have to wear it when you seek him to close spacing between teeth.
2. Closing space on the sectioned area due to a canine abnormality
We, orthodontists, use the power chain not only to correct generalized spacing but also correct tooth spacing in certain areas.
It’s useful for cases like rotation or intrusion. We call it a rotated tooth when the front of the tooth isn’t in the right position.
Intrusion is a situation when the tooth doesn’t touch the occlusion or opposite tooth.
Sometimes, your canine tooth is out of the tooth-line of the jaw.
In this type of crowding tooth, you may also get power chains. We have to put the chains from the canine to the molar tooth.
The same protocol is maintained to fix the gap after the removal of the premolar tooth for orthodontic treatment.
We also use archwire during that time.
Now, you can understand that a power chain doesn’t encircle all the brackets always like ligatures.
3. Closing tooth extraction gap
It accelerates the time of orthodontic treatment. We can also use this technique to close diastemas.
4. Fixing gap in between two front teeth
Midline diastema or gap between two front teeth can be closed easily with power chains.
In this case, we place the elastic only on those two teeth.
5. Rubber bands with power chains
Rubber bands and power chains are different from each other. You may need to wear them at the same time, but for a different purpose.
Usually, the orthodontist attaches the rubber bands from the bracket of one jaw to the bracket of another jaw to move the tooth backward, forward, downward, or upward.
You may get this when you need to correct protruded or retruded teeth.
Besides, if you have a gap between teeth, you get the elastic chain.
However, you may get these two elastics at different times as well.
It depends on the case and treatment plan.
6. Elastic chains on both side of teeth
Though it’s rare, you may have to wear the elastics on both sides of your teeth. This happens to move the canine back.
When do you get the power chain to close the gaps?
Usually, the orthodontist uses elastic chains to move your teeth and close the gaps between your teeth. You may have to wear it to fix spaces in the last half of the braces treatment.
But, do you get this to close all types of spaces?
Your orthodontist may also use other materials like springs or archwire to close the spaces between teeth.
Power chain braces are basically used when tooth alignment and bite correction are completed and you have space between teeth.
You may have these gaps due to the extraction of teeth for braces treatment or even before the beginning of the treatment.
Your orthodontist places power chains to fix these gaps. Sometimes, you may not need the power chain at all.
How does a power chain work?
A power chain provides apply force to the teeth through braces and works faster to close gaps between teeth. When this elastic attached to brackets it tries to get back to its original form and in the meantime, it puts pressure on teeth and moves them.
You know when elastic gets stretched, it gets back to its original form immediately.
As the power chain is made of elastic, we take advantage of this property. We stretch the power chain and attach that to braces brackets.
So, when it wants to get back to its normal form, it gives a force on teeth. The force puts pressure on the bone that holds the tooth.
Just like tooth movement with braces and archwire, the power chain helps to shift the tooth.
When the pressure is applied to the bone, at the site of pressure, it gets dissolves.
But, on the opposite side, the formation of new bone occurs. This aids in the shifting of the tooth.
By this process, the power chain braces to close the gaps or provide the added force with archwire and braces.
This is how power chain braces work.
However, we can’t provide excess force. Otherwise, you may end up with a damaged or loose tooth.
But, you don’t need to worry, as a certified orthodontist do all measurements and plan the treatment before adding the chain.
How to put power chains on braces?
As you may know, you can attach rubber bands on braces for your own, you may want to do the same with power chains.
But, You don’t need to put power chain braces by yourself. Your orthodontist will attach it.
When it’s necessary to change the power chain, he or she will do it during the appointment.
But, how do you get power chains for braces?
Your orthodontist first takes a good look at your teeth and evaluate the gap.
During placing this elastic, he or she’ll take a simple dental instrument, attach it to your brackets.
You can see some loops within the power chains. These loops encircle the brackets and get attached to them.
Your orthodontist may put a long power chain that covers your teeth on one jaw.
When you wear this type of power chain, it covers the brackets and archwire. So, it looks like you are wearing power chain braces.
Your orthodontist may also put a short chain on two teeth to fix a single space.
You don’t need to buy the elastic chains from a dental store or market because you get them from your orthodontist.
Power chain braces colors
Making braces colorful is not only interesting for kids but also for adults sometimes.
Usually, you have to wear ligature elastics to make braces colorful.
But, power chains are also available in different colors. So, you can pick up elastic chains of your choice.
Before making your final decision, you can consider various factors like skin tone, age, season (summer), and upcoming events.
Choose power chain braces colors from the following list:
- Dark, bright, or jewel colors can be a great choice for dark skin tones such as dark blue, gold, or dark red.
- People with light skin color can choose brighter or lighter colors such as blue, navy, light purple, pink, or violet.
- Usually, boys choose blue, dark blue, red, and orange while girls pick pink, purple, and blue for power chain braces. There are so many options for everyone.
- Check braces colors for boys, girls, and adults.
You should avoid some colors that get stained easily or make your tooth look ugly such as yellow, brown, white, and clear elastics.
However, if you are worried about staining silver or smoke color power chains can be the best option for you.
Here are the available colors for power chain braces:
Pink, light pink, hot pink, green, orange, teal, light blue, dark blue, purple, light blue, navy, teal, purple, rainbow, turquoise, light purple, lavender, red, black, gray, metal, and clear chains.
But, you can change the chains from time to time. But, when and how?
When do braces power chains get broken or loose?
If you don’t take proper care of your power chains, it can be torn or broken by you. It may happen due to the following reasons:
- Eating foods that are harmful to braces elastics.
- Not following the proper method of brushing and flossing tooth while wearing braces and elastic chains
- Being careless during chewing foods.
- Changing the chains on your own.
- Buying orthodontic elastic from the market or dental store and wearing it.
Learn more about broken braces, elastics, and wires.
Let’s know how to prevent power chains from getting damaged:
- Change food habits and take foods that are good for braces and elastics.
- Use the proper technique of brushing and flossing teeth for braces and elastics.
- Chew foods slowly and be aware of elastic getting torn.
- Don’t buy and wear dental elastics from the market.
- Try to avoid changing or attaching on your own.
- Don’t use any ortho elastic that’s your orthodontist hasn’t provided.
Now you may wonder how to fix broken power chains?
Don’t try to fix the power chains that get torn or out of shape. Even if it falls out and remains intact, you can try to reattach it after taking permission from the orthodontist over the phone.
If it’s possible, place the elastic chains by your hands and follow the instruction of your orthodontist. You have to be careful that you put the elastic at the right teeth at the place.
However, if it gets damaged, you need new elastics and have to visit your orthodontist.
Moreover, most of the time, you have to make an appointment to reattach the elastics. The reason is if you can’t do it perfectly, you’ll make the situation even worse.
How to clean the power chain braces?
It’s hard to clean the tooth with braces and it gets even harder when you wear additional components like power chains.
Here are some tips to clean teeth with power chain braces:
- Clean your teeth after each meal.
- Learn the proper method of flossing teeth and do it regularly while wearing braces. Take time to remove food debris from power chains, braces, and teeth.
- Brush your tooth regularly using the proper methods with braces on teeth. Be careful to protect the elastic chain from getting damaged.
- Rinsing the mouth is the easiest way to maintain oral hygiene. So, do it regularly every time after taking food.
FAQ on Power Chain Braces
What is a power chain used for?
Power chains for braces are used to close gaps between teeth after tooth extraction for orthodontic treatment or fix the generalized teeth spacing. Power chains move teeth faster than archwire alone because it applies more force and works together with the wires.
How fast do power chains close gaps?
Actually, it depends on the complexity of cases. It also varies from person to person. But, how long do power chains take to close gaps?
We expect almost 1 mm of tooth movement in one month. So, you may need to wear it for 6 to 8 weeks if you have a small gap between your teeth.
However, it depends on various factors.
Learn more about how long to wear a power chain depending on different factors.
But, how long do braces take to close extraction gaps?
After the removal of a tooth for orthodontic treatment, we need to close a big space. So, it takes more time. In that case, some orthodontists may prefer springs or other techniques for that.
Can you ask for power chains?
You don’t need to ask for the power chains because your orthodontist knows what’s the best for your treatment.
You don’t even ask to replace your existing elastic chains, as he’ll do it regularly.
When you want to make braces colorful, you ask your orthodontist for power chains.
As it’s available in various colors, you may think, you should get power chains for that.
But, in that case, ask the orthodontist for ligatures elastics. So, don’t get confused.
These ligature elastics protect your brackets and hold them in their position.
However, they don’t any pressure on teeth.
Does everyone with braces get power chains?
Orthodontists may suggest a power chain for people of any age to close the gaps between teeth or alignment of crooked teeth. In fact, they are most commonly used to close spaces.
But that doesn’t mean everyone has to wear this elastic. It depends upon the types of misalignment and spacing you have.
What’s the age to get power chains?
Both children and adults may have a power chain to fix gaps between teeth. However, it depends on the treatment plan whether the orthodontist will use it or not.
How much do power chain braces cost?
You get power chains as a part of orthodontic treatment. Usually, you don’t have to pay for it additionally.
The reason for that is the cost is included in the braces treatment. The cost may vary in individuals and depends on the severity of the case. It also depends on treatment time and types of material or braces used.
If you compare it with those of ligature elastics, the price of a power chain is higher than that of ligature elastics.
Do power chain braces hurt
When the orthodontist attaches any active component of braces, it may be uncomfortable for you. Just like that, you may feel sore teeth or mild pain for the first few days after getting power chains.
The reason is it put pressure on teeth. However, pain from elastic chains is milder than that of the first time after getting braces tightened.
You should follow all instructions of orthodontists and eat braces-friendly foods to avoid pain.
Are power chains the last step in braces?
You may wonder if power chains are the last step in braces.
Power chains may be used near the end of your braces treatment, sometimes may not be. It depends on other important factors and the planning of your orthodontist.
We have already discussed what comes after the power chain braces in other articles.
After the end of power chain treatment, if you don’t have any other bite problem, orthodontists may take off the braces and give you a retainer to maintain the position of corrected teeth.
If you get it in the early-stage to create an extra force to teeth along with braces, after its removal, you may have to wear other braces components like archwire or springs.
How often to change power chains for braces?
You can change power chain colors each time your orthodontist gives you a braces adjustment appointment.
He removes the power chain and replaces it with a new one at your every visit.
So, the average duration is 3 to 6 weeks. But, why do you need to change the elastic chain?
The reason is it losses its elastic property and strength over time.
As a result, it becomes ineffective. So, if it gets stained, you don’t need to be sad.
Are power chains optional or necessary?
Elastics chains are one of the most important parts of orthodontic treatment. So, by no means, they are optional.
Many orthodontists prefer power chains to springs for closing tooth space because it works faster.
It can also correct crooked or misaligned teeth nicely.
Do power chain braces fix overbites?
You don’t have to wear power chains to fix overbites. In fact, you get another elastic, called rubber bands to correct the overbite.
It’s used along with brackets and archwire. However, you may need to wear spring to solve this problem.
In short, you can get power chains for braces when there are gaps between your teeth or when it’s necessary to add more pressure with archwire and braces.
It also helps prevent the reopening of a gap that’s already corrected. There are many types of elastic chains based on their use.
But, the timing of use is mainly during the second half of treatment, but sometimes in the early stage of treatment.
You may feel pain after getting these elastics just like you feel pain from other components of braces.
Sometimes, your orthodontist may not suggest you wear power chains, as it varies from case to case.
You get the elastic chains in various colors. You can take this advantage to make your braces colorful.
However, you can only wear the chains that your orthodontist provided. Follow the instruction given by him to accelerate the orthodontic treatment.