To know when you should have your braces adjusted, you need to understand how they work. Braces are designed to place force on the teeth, and slowly move the teeth through the gum tissue. Traditional styled braces use a system of wires that are connected to hardware, known as brackets. These brackets are cemented on the teeth. The wire pulls on the brackets to move the teeth.
What Happens When the Braces Need Adjustment or Tightening?
We need to move the teeth in stages, not all at once. If we took that approach, the resulting pain would be unbearable. Initially, the wires on the braces exert a good deal of pressure. But, over time, as the teeth gradually move, less and less pressure is exerted. Once the pressure is completely depleted, an adjustment or tightening needs to be made. Usually, we will have you come in for an adjustment every 4 to 6 months so we can progress with the teeth straightening process. You will tell you need an adjustment because you will not feel any pain from the gums or teeth when biting down. The brackets may also come loose.
The Tightening Process
When you come in to have adjustments made, we will take a close look at the straightening progress. We will also replace worn elastics, add spacers, and address any problems with discomfort or pain. For example, we will replace a wire or adjust it if it is poking your mouth. During tightening, we will affix the orthodontic wire to the brackets so they will exert pressure and move the teeth. Some soreness or tooth and gum sensitivity will develop immediately after an adjustment, but it will only last for a short time.
Would you like to know more about orthodontic care? If so, give us a call today to schedule an appointment for an orthodontic consultation.