So, you are in braces. Got nice shiny brackets and an archwire to hold everything together. Maybe some colorful ligatures (unless you are using Damon braces). Cool.
And yet, your orthodontist has another surprise: power chain braces.
Power chains are exactly what the name says: some sort of a “chain” that has the power to make your teeth close gaps and align even faster.
What Do Power Chains Do?
In most cases power chains are added to your braces in order to close a gap. If you had a tooth extracted for instance (something common for orthodontic patients with teeth that are too crowded), your archwire and brackets alone won’t be as effective as a power chain.
The power chain will apply more force and speed your treatment considerably. They are made of the same elastic material as your ligatures and, being stretched between your brackets, they’ll tend to return to their original shape, thus forcing the teeth to move more effectively.
Of course, over the time, your power chains will lose their elasticity, so your orthodontist will change them with new ones, when you go for an adjustment.
Power chain benefits
Here are the main benefits of using power chain braces during your orthodontic treatment:
- Power chains are versatile – they can easily close gaps between teeth, help rotate or move teeth into the new correct position.
- They exert more force – when your orthodontist wants a little more “pull”, power chains are a great ally. The added strenght will help your treatment end even faster
- They’re easy to apply – the orthodontist cuts the desired number of “loops” from the spool and attaches the power chains to the braces. It’s a very easy and fast procedure.
- Power chain braces allow you to be more creative – having braces is not really the best time in a patient’s life (we all want the result, but dread the journey). Nicely colored power chains give you a little more control over your treatment and can help you show your originality. With some many crazy colors to choose from, the sky is the limit.
Types of Power Chains
While they have a multitude of colors (and it’s advisable to go as crazy as you want to, with your choices), there are few types of power chains:
- closed / continuous,
The only difference between these types is the distance between the rings.
Power Chain Braces Colors
While the power chain types are limited, there are many colors you can choose from. Some orthodontic patients love pink, bright green or blue. If you’re more conservative (and know they will stain after some foods that you eat) you can use gray or silver power chains, as they don’t stain that badly.
Anyway, your orthodontist will change them after each visit, so you can test out new colors and have fun.
Do Power Chains Hurt?
Just like with any orthodontic adjustment, getting power chains will get you sore, as it’s a new force that’s being applied to your teeth. Power chains on braces shouldn’t cause too much pain than other types of treatments, but you need to be prepared.
There are many ways you can get braces pain relief, we have an entire article on this: My Braces Hurt So Bad I Want to Cry
How Long Will I Have Power Chains?
This is not an easy question and the answer will vary. In some case you might have power chain braces for 6 weeks, for instance, just to close a gap, other times your orthodontist might use them until the end of your treatment, to make sure your teeth will not move back.
In this case, think about this power chain as a special retainer.
Whether it’s 6 weeks, 6 months or 2 years, what matters is for your orthodontic treatment to be successful and your doctor to finally solve all your issues (buck teeth / overbite, underbite, crooked teeth etc.)
Taking Care of Power Chains
The best way to take care of your power chains is to keep an excellent oral hygiene. Brush frequenly and floss with great care. Now that you have braces and power chains, food can easily get trapped in all this hardware. It’s important to clean thoroughly as any cavities you could develop will extend your treatment time and cost you more money.