What Does It Mean to Have Your Braces Tightened?

By March 21, 2017 July 7th, 2017 Blog, FAQ's, Life with Braces

braces tightened

Did you recently get braces? Many new orthodontic patients are anxious about having their braces tightened every 6 to 8 weeks during treatment. Rest assured, this process is a lot less medieval than it sounds. When you visit our office for your regular follow-up appointments, we don’t actually “tighten” the braces. What we’re really doing is “adjusting” them to help gradually move the teeth, with the end goal of creating the perfect bite.

What Actually Happens When You Come in to Have Your Braces Tightened?

Here’s a rundown of what to expect during your orthodontic adjustment appointment:

  • First, we’ll remove your ligatures—the small elastic ties that fasten the archwires to the brackets, or braces. (Click here for a diagram showing the different parts.)
  • Then we’ll remove your archwire.
  • Next, Dr. Dougherty will come over to examine you. She will determine if you need anything new—such as a new archwire, bends placed in the archwire to continue moving the teeth, powerchains, or elastics.
  • Then we’ll put the archwire (new or previous) back into your brackets, along with new ligatures. If this is one of your first adjustments, this part may cause discomfort a few hours after your visit. Your braces will likely feel “tighter” because of renewed pressure on the teeth when the new ligatures are placed.
  • Note: The archwire should not poke you. If it does, let us know immediately, and we will shorten it with wire clippers.
  • Then you’re all done! We’ll see you again for your next orthodontic appointment in 6 to 8 weeks.

Not familiar with the italicized terms above? Check out our previous post for a Glossary of Braces and Orthodontic Appliances.

What to Do If Your Teeth Hurt

You may experience some soreness after each of your regular orthodontic adjustment appointments, especially in the first 6 months after getting braces. Minor soreness is normal and should go away after a day or two. For helpful pain relief tips, read our previous blog post: How to Reduce Pain from Braces.

Have any more questions about what to expect when you visit our office to have your braces tightened or adjusted? Ready to begin orthodontic treatment? Contact us. Call our office at 636.825.1000 or email info@doughertyorthodontics.com.