How Often Will I Need to Get My Dental Braces Tightened?

Posted on: February 27, 2020

braces St Peters, MO

If you have braces, there is a good chance you will need to get them tightened at some point. Braces are there to straighten your teeth and for you to get a more aesthetically pleasing smile. It can also encourage better oral health as misaligned teeth are more prone to plaque buildup. Bacteria and plaque can lead to dental problems, including cavities and periodontal disease. Learn more about braces and the techniques used to tighten them.

The facts about tightening braces

To understand why braces need to be tightened, patients need to figure out how they work. By putting gentle yet steady pressure on the teeth, braces will slowly move a patient’s teeth into the correct position. Traditional braces use wires that are connected to brackets. The brackets are cemented in place on each tooth. The wires pull on the brackets, which move the patient’s teeth.

Orthodontists do braces in several stages. The wires exert pressure on teeth to start with. Over time, as the teeth move, less and less pressure is exerted. Eventually, the wires will exert no pressure at all. This is when patients need to have the braces adjusted or tightened.

How often are braces adjusted?

The orthodontist will usually tell the patient when it is time for the braces to be tightened. The orthodontist will recommend this when the teeth stop gradually moving, or when the components of the braces become loose.

Each person’s mouth is different, so there is no exact time frame for adjustment. Orthodontists will generally schedule a checkup appointment every four to six weeks. That is the general time that patients need to wait for adjustment. However, it can take longer or less time.

There are some ways to tell if an adjustment is necessary. If the patient feels no discomfort from the teeth or gums at all, this is a sign that the braces need adjustment. Brackets becoming loose is another sign. Finally, if the patient feels no pressure on the teeth when forcing them together, it is time to see the orthodontist.

What does the tightening process entail?

The orthodontist will look at the patient’s mouth to see how the teeth are progressing or to check for problems. Adjustments can include replacing worn bands, adding spacers and addressing issues with patient’s pain or discomfort.

When the adjustment begins, the orthodontist will fit the wire to the bracket, so it continues exerting pressure. The orthodontist may remove the wire and put a new one in place. When the process is complete, it might not seem much different. Sometimes, some soreness or sensitivity may develop after the tightening.

How do braces feel after tightening?

After the orthodontist adjusts the braces, it is common for patients to feel some slight pain or discomfort. This generally only lasts a day or two. Patients may experience some sensitivity more often than pain. The teeth and gums may not hurt throughout the day but may hurt when the patient eats. Avoiding tough or hard foods for a few days may alleviate the pain.

Thinking about getting braces?

Getting new braces is a huge decision. Few people regret having them, though. The adjustments on the braces can cause some discomfort for you, but this is generally short-lived. You will likely feel that the required appointments were worth the discomfort when you see your straight smile after the braces are removed.

Are you considering getting braces in the St Peters area? Get more information at

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