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Everyone knows braces straighten your teeth but did you know that sometimes braces need a little help? Sometimes, you end up with a really big gap in your teeth, either naturally or because of tooth loss. Braces can close that gap eventually, but it could take a long time. What if there was a way to speed up the process? There is! We use something called power chains, and they’re a colorful way to bring your teeth into proper alignment faster. 

Smiles by the Bay uses power chains to reduce your child’s time in braces. These power chains can close large gaps faster, which reduces the time your child is in braces and makes it easier to align the other teeth quickly and efficiently. They come in a variety of colors, so your kiddo can show off their style with their favorite shades!

power chains

What Are Power Chains and How Do They Work? 

Let’s start with the basics. What is a power chain, and how do braces power chains work? Power chains look like those little elastic loops that go around traditional braces, but these are connected into a long chain of loops. There are three kinds of power chains: Closed chains, Short chains, and Long chains. The name doesn’t refer to the chain itself but rather the space between each loop in the chain. 

With a closed power chain, the loops touch one another without a piece of elastic connecting them. In a short power chain, a small piece of elastic connects the loops. In a long power chain — you guessed it — there is a long piece of elastic between each loop. 

Why the three types?

Each type does a specific job with braces. The closed power chains connect every tooth and can close multiple gaps. The short power chains connect every other two and can close larger gaps. The long chains can connect every third tooth and can be used to close large gaps, such as where teeth are missing.

power chains

How Do Power Chains Work?

Power chains work like the other elastics that go on your braces, except they add force to work faster to close specific gaps. Your archwire and elastics will still move your teeth into their proper positions, but the power chains will add a bit of speed to extra wide gaps. This closes them faster so the rest of your treatment can proceed as normal.

How Long Do I Wear Power Chains?

Usually, you will not wear power chains the entire length of your treatment. Once the extra gap has been closed enough to match the rest of your teeth, your braces treatment can proceed without the power chains. So you may wear power chains for a few weeks or months, depending on how many gaps and how big they are.

power chains

Who Needs Power Chains?

Not everyone needs power chains. Generally, you probably don’t need power chains if you don’t have huge gaps in your teeth. That doesn’t mean you won’t have any elastics. You may need rubber bands that stretch later from your top to bottom teeth. These are often used to repair a crossbite or properly align your jaws. But you won’t need the elastics around each bracket because Smiles by the Bay uses self-ligating braces. 

Our LightForce braces use a unique locking mechanism in each bracket to hold the archwire and allow it to move more smoothly. It means less discomfort and more efficient braces treatment for you! It also means you don’t have to come in every 4-6 weeks to get the elastics changed and the braces tightened. But you may need to come in every six weeks if you have to wear power chains because the elastic may wear out by then and will need to be replaced. 

Are Power Chains Painful? 

This is a question we often get from patients who are getting power chains. Because they are applying more pressure than usual, they can become uncomfortable. It is similar to the discomfort you feel after a normal braces adjustment. If you do feel some discomfort, you can try taking an over-the-counter painkiller as directed on the bottle, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol), naproxen (Aleve), or ibuprofen (Advil). You can also try rinsing your mouth a couple of times a day with lukewarm salt water to relieve the pain in your gums. 

The discomfort should only last a few days after your adjustment or new power chains. If the pain lasts more than a week, contact us.

power chains

How to Take Care of Your Power Chains

Once you get them, is there a special way to clean your power chains? You will need to take a few precautions. For example, you’ll need to brush gently with a soft-bristled brush, so you don’t damage or accidentally remove your power chains. You’ll also need to use a floss threader to get around your power chains to floss your teeth properly. Both soft-bristled toothbrushes and floss threaders are available at major retailers and pharmacies. 

Brush after every meal if you can. If you can’t, then rinse your mouth to try to remove as many food particles from your braces and power chains as possible after eating. It will make it easier to brush your teeth later. When possible, use a fluoride mouthwash to remove particles and provide extra protection for your teeth. Finally, avoid hard, sticky, or chewy foods that can damage your power chains and braces. 

If you do see damage to your power chains or braces, contact us right away. We will set up an appointment with you to replace your power chains.

power chains

Getting Power Chains With Braces

If you live in the Annapolis, MD, Kent Island, MD, or Denton, MD, areas, you can get started with power chains and braces with Smiles by the Bay! Just contact us for an appointment. We’ll bring you in for a full evaluation and examination! We’ll lay out what treatment you might need, including whether you need power chains along the way. 

Power chains are a great way to close large gaps in your teeth faster and more efficiently, allowing your treatment to continue at a normal pace. With the help of power chains, you’ll have a beautiful, gap-free smile before you know it! 

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