During orthodontic treatment, you need to wear various elastics. Power chain braces or ortho power chains are one of those.
If you are unaware of the term “power chain,” you could be terrified of it. It isn’t a metal chain, nor does it even have a cruel appearance like braces or archwires. It is made of elastic just like ligatures are.
They come in a variety of types and colors as well. Because of the colors of their braces, the wearer of braces gets excited during this moment.
In this article, you can find answers to all of your questions concerning power chain braces, including everything you need to know before getting them.
What are power chains for braces?
Power chains are composed of many connected rings made of an elastic material. Usually, they are used to close the gaps between teeth. By applying additional pressure on teeth and jaw, they work together with brackets and archwire to move your teeth quickly and align them properly.
The difference between ligature and power chain is that ligature uses a single elastic to hold the brackets in place, whereas in the case of the power chain, a chain is created by connecting several O-shaped elastics.
It’s also known as power thread braces or elastomeric or elastic chains or ortho power chains.
The power chain in braces is used for active orthodontic treatment while ligature isn’t.
It is a long elastic band with circular holes. The holes are positioned in the middle of the brackets and are spaced equally apart from one another.
Some people call them to 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?
A power chain might make it appear that you are wearing colorful braces. However, power chains are not the same as conventional 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. Throughout the procedure, you might need to wear braces without power chains for an extended period of time.
- When regular braces are tightened using an archwire and ligatures, they put a lot of pressure and you feel much pain. But, power chains don’t put that much pressure and are less painful. Even though combined pressure from the power chain and braces a lot more, you feel less pain from the power chain because you get it after getting used to braces.
- Regular braces are the main components of orthodontic treatment whereas power chains are their additional components or attachments to regular braces.
- Power chains can’t work alone to align your teeth. In fact, it helps the brackets and the archwire. The main pressure is applied by braces wire and power chains provide additional pressure on teeth and jaw.
Types of power chains for braces
All power chains for 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 ortho power chains for braces.
1. Closed chain
It is sometimes referred to as a continuous chain as it has a 3 mm interlinking space. It is placed into every tooth. You get this elastic when you have spacing between lower incisor teeth. Compared to long chains, it can exert a higher force.
2. Short chain
It is placed with a 3.5 mm interlinking distance between every other tooth. 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.
Can you get power chains when you first get braces?
In most cases, you don’t get power chains when you first get braces or during the first visit because the orthodontists first label and align your teeth using archwire and brackets. Then, they use power chains in the later stage of braces to close the gaps between teeth.
However, depending on the type of cases, you can get power chains at an early stage to close generalized spacing or tooth extraction gaps.
Purpose of power chain braces
The orthodontists suggest power chain braces for the following cases:
- Closing the gaps between teeth.
- Adding additional force in addition to archwire and braces.
- Moving the teeth in a special direction for tooth alignment.
- Allowing quicker tooth movement.
- Closing space between teeth left by tooth extraction
- Holding the teeth in a position to avoid reopening of space.
Now, we’ll know when to use these elastic ortho chains.
When do you get power chains on your braces?
One common question that braces wearers ask is, “When do you get power chains for braces?”
Usually, you may get power chains with braces when you have gaps between your teeth that need to be close or hold teeth in position. You may need to wear these in the 2nd or last half of the orthodontic treatment.
Sometimes, you may get power chains early 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.
Let’s look at the time period during which 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 with power chains to close gaps and correction of bites.
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 the 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 the 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 an 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 sides 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 power chains on braces 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. You can get this elastic chain for the gaps between teeth after tooth extraction for braces.
But, do you get the elastic chain to close all types of spaces?
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.
They can also use other materials like a coil spring or archwire to close the spaces between teeth.
How does a power chain work?
A power chain works more quickly to close gaps between teeth by applying additional force to the teeth through braces. When it is attached to brackets, this elastic put pressure on teeth and shifts them as it tries to get back to its previous state when it is attached to brackets.
You know that when elastic is stretched, it quickly returns to its original form.
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.
Therefore, it exerts a force on the teeth to return to their normal shape. The tooth-supporting bone is under pressure as a result of the force.
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.
In 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 does 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 on 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 evaluates the gap.
During placing this elastic, he or she’ll take a simple dental instrument, and 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
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.
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.
You can change the chains as well as colors from time to time.
What are the best power chain braces colors?
Making braces colorful is not only interesting for kids but also for adults sometimes. But, you may want to know, “What color power chains should I get?”
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.
What happens if your power chain breaks or gets loose?
After a few weeks of getting the power chain, when it has finished moving your teeth to a certain extent, it can come loose naturally. However, if you don’t take proper care of your power chains, they can be loose, torn, or broken.
It may happen due to the following causes:
- Eating foods that are harmful to braces elastics.
- Not following the proper method of brushing and flossing teeth 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.
If the power chain gets loose or broken early before doing its job, it can’t work properly and won’t be able to move your teeth and close gaps. Moreover, it will cause delays in treatment.
Let’s know how to prevent power chains from getting loose or 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 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.
Follow your orthodontist’s instructions and, if it’s possible, place the elastic chains using your fingers. You must take care to position the elastic on the right teeth at the right positions.
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 your teeth.
- To avoid damaging the elastic chain, be gentle and cautious when brushing and flossing.
- Rinsing the mouth is the easiest way to maintain oral hygiene. So, do it regularly every time after taking food.
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 been 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 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.
FAQs about Power Chain Braces
What is a power chain used for?
After a tooth is extracted for orthodontic treatment or to correct the generalized tooth spacing, power chains are utilized alongside braces to close the gap. Power chains add extra force and work with the wires to move teeth more quickly than archwire alone.
What are double power chain braces?
Though you may have heard of double power chain braces, they aren’t like traditional braces. In fact, double power chains are the same power chains. But, they are named this way because orthodontists use double power chains to add more pressure on teeth.
They are utilized to close excess gaps between teeth and move teeth in a specific direction to align them perfectly.
How fast do power chains close gaps?
Actually, it depends on the complexity of the 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?
Your orthodontist will know what is ideal for your treatment, so you don’t need to ask for the power chains. You don’t even need to ask him to change your current elastic chains; he will do it on a regular basis.
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?
For persons of any age, orthodontists may recommend a power chain to close gaps between teeth or straighten up 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?
A power chain may be used to fix gaps between teeth in both children and adults. However, whether the orthodontist uses it or not depends on the treatment plan.
How much do power chain braces cost?
As part of orthodontic treatment, power chains are supplied. Usually, there is no additional charge. However, 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 the power chain treatment, if you don’t have any other bite problems, orthodontists may take off the braces and give you a retainer to maintain the position of the 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 do you 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?
Elastic 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 a coil spring to solve this problem.