orthodontist may have told you that you need to have power
chains on your braces. What does this mean?
chains are made of the same type of elastic material as the
elastic ligatures (the o-shaped elastics that hold your arch
wire to each bracket). In essence, power chains are like a
bunch of ligatures linked together. Placed on your teeth, they
form a continuous band, from one tooth to the next. Usually,
you wear power chains instead of ligatures. Sometimes,
your orthodontist can put both a ligature (or tie wire) and
power chains on your teeth. It depends on what is attempting
to be accomplished. Occasionally, some orthodontists decide to
give you "power chains" made of wire (where a
continuous piece of wire is twisted around each bracket).
would you need power chains? The most common reason is to
close a gap between your teeth. Power chains apply extra force
and help move your teeth faster. If your treatment includes
extractions, then power chains will probably be in your
future. Sometimes your orthodontist may keep the power chains
on, even after the gap has closed. This is to ensure that the
gap remains closed for the balance of your orthodontic
chains are changed just like elastic ligatures -- at each
orthodontic adjustment. Like elastic ligatures, they come in a
variety of colors, and yes, they DO stain from coffee, tea,
red wine, and most notably, curry. From trial and error, I
have found that the best colors for power chains are silver
or smoke. You can also try light blue (the ones in the
above photo). Light blue will stain bright green with curry,
but after a few brushings, will turn a pleasant dull light
teal. (Like ligatures, the "tooth-colored"
chains will stain bright yellow if you eat curry; I don't
recommend them unless you do not eat curry at all).
chains come in three different types. The best way to describe
them is with a simple illustration:
orthodontist will determine which type of power chain best
fits your needs.
here comes the most important question: how do they feel? Do
they hurt? When you first get them put on, yes, they do make
your teeth ache. You may need to go back on a soft food diet
for a few days. But if you've already had braces for a few
months, the pain should subside quickly -- within a week at
long does it take for the power chains and braces to close
extraction gaps? Each person is different. Some people see
dramatic changes in a few weeks. For others, it can take 6
months or more. Your orthodontist can measure (in millimeters)
the width of your gaps at each appointment. You may be
surprised to realize that the gaps are indeed closing, even if
you don't see progress yourself!
it harder to clean your braces with power chains? Only
slightly harder. You get used to it. A little more food debris
gets trapped, but it's rather inconsequential.
an orthodontic version of a song The Beatles did back in the
My ortho's got my teeth in these chains
And they are the kind
That you can see
Whoa oh, these chains on my teeeeeth
Are really killing me-e
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