At your first follow-up appointment after getting braces, you may be wondering what to expect. Your orthodontist will have probably told you about “tightening,” but you may not know what it will feel like or why it’s necessary.
Braces tightening is an essential part of advancing your treatment and getting your straighter smile. While braces can be time-consuming and uncomfortable, the result is worth it, so long as you keep up with your adjustments. Read on to learn why braces tightening is an invaluable part of your treatment.
Want to find out if you or your child needs braces? Visit Reese Orthodontics in Charleston, SC for leading orthodontic care.
Why are Braces Tightened?
Braces fix alignment issues with your teeth by applying constant pressure along a wire to slowly move your teeth into their new positions.
However, as your treatment progresses, the teeth will be more aligned, and the wire will not have to work as hard. This will cause the pressure on your teeth to decrease. Your orthodontist will observe that your treatment is progressing and make necessary adjustments to keep your treatment on schedule.
These adjustments involve tightening the wire or replacing it with a different one to apply more pressure to your teeth.
What Does Tightening Feel Like?
Having your braces tightened begins with an examination. Your orthodontist will remove the rubber bands that connect your brackets to the wire and detach the wire completely. After observing how your teeth are coming along, your orthodontist will make the adjustments they think are necessary.
This could be a new tighter wire, new elastics, or other adjustments. You may feel sore or fatigued at first, but the discomfort usually only lasts 1-3 days. The more adjustments you have, the less discomfort you should feel.
How Often Do Braces Need Tightening?
Adjustments can vary depending on your individual treatment needs. However, every few weeks you will have a scheduled visit with your orthodontist so that they can examine your teeth and make adjustments. Most orthodontists set a schedule of one adjustment per month or once every six weeks to check your progress.
What Should I Do After My Appointment?
After your braces have been tightened, you may feel discomfort. To mitigate the pain, you can take some strategic steps to help your mouth recover.
- Take an anesthetic. Oral anesthetics like Orajel or OTC medications can help relieve pain while you recover from having your braces tightened. The tighter wire will exert more pressure and can cause discomfort in your teeth or gums for a few days. However, simple OTC remedies are usually enough until the pain subsides.
- Use ice or heat. Ice can be a helpful ally in the days following your braces tightening. A cold pack can relieve numb areas of your mouth. Even just drinking cold water can apply cold pressure to your gums and teeth, creating a numbing feeling that will help with the pain. Some patients may prefer to use heat in the form of a heating pad or a rinse of warm saltwater. Just be careful not to leave a constant heat source on your mouth for too long.
- Make a diet change. While recovering from having your braces tightened, you may prefer to eat softer foods to alleviate some discomfort. Mashed potatoes, soups, eggs, rice, soft bread, smoothies, and other foods that don’t require chewing will be your best friends during these first few days. The diet will be similar to the one you used when you first got your braces.
- Don’t panic! This advice is for adult patients as well as for adults who are the parents of younger patients. Some discomfort after you have your braces tightened is completely normal, especially early on. It’s important to not worry and take the above steps to reduce discomfort. However, if the pain persists for a week or more, contact your orthodontist.
Choose Reese Orthodontics
If you’re an adult who is considering getting your braces tightened, you need professional advice on your treatment and payment options. For orthodontic treatments in Charleston, SC, Reese Orthodontics offers the latest technology and treatment plans. Our advanced and comfortable orthodontic treatments can be customized to suit your needs. A consultation with Reese Orthodontics includes scans, a comprehensive exam, and a conversation with the orthodontist to discover which treatment options are right for you.
Schedule an appointment with us today to stay ahead of your oral health and receive the best possible treatment in your area.