Braces are an important component of many peoples’ dental and oral health. According to recent data, approximately 14 percent of Americans have or have had orthodontic treatment at some point during their lifetime.

If you want to get straight teeth faster, your orthodontist may use power chains.

Let’s examine what a power chain is, and what the different types of power chains can mean for your unique situation.

What are Power Chains?

Braces work well to help you correct crooked or crowded teeth as well as other conditions like a misaligned jaw (malocclusion). These treatments consist of thin metal brackets attached to each tooth individually.

Between each tooth is an archwire, which puts pressure on your teeth and jawline. Tiny elastic loops connect the archwire to the metal brackets to keep them together.

However, some patients may need extra help getting their teeth straightened out, or they may simply want to speed up the process. Power chains can help to make the entire treatment go faster, and they may also help your braces be more effective.

A power chain is connected to the brackets. Once they’re added, the elastic loops sit on top of the wires that make up your braces.

While the term may sound intimidating, power chains are actually made of elastic string with “o” shaped rubber bands linked together. That’s where they get the name power chains since they resemble a typical metal chain. It is important to note that some power chains are made of metal instead of elastic, but they’re thin enough not to cause pain or damage to the teeth and gums.

Types of Power Chains

Not all power chains are the same, and each type has a unique application. The different options for power chains feature varying diameters between the middle of each loop. This feature controls which bracket the loop will fit onto.

The three main types of power chains include closed, short, and long. Closed power chains connect at every tooth, and short power chains connect at every other tooth. Long power chains connect at every third tooth, so the chains you receive will depend on your orthodontist’s recommendation.

In most cases, you’ll get a chance to choose the color of your power chains. Whether you love green, blue, purple, or another hue, these handy chains come in a rainbow of fun colors to make your treatment more fun. 

How a Power Chain Works

Using power chains when getting braces helps to create more force and pressure. This applied (yet gentle) pressure moves the teeth faster than traditional braces. When power chains and braces are used together, they help many patients get their desired results in a much shorter timeframe.

These special “chains” help to close the gaps between your teeth. Although traditional elastics fit over each bracket separately, power chains connect them all together. This creates a continuous band that goes across the top and/or bottom teeth.

Your orthodontic treatment may include a power chain on just a few teeth, and the others could have individual elastics. Combining the two makes the treatment process easier, and it allows your orthodontist to treat specific teeth differently based on your unique situation.

Mechanisms of Action

If your orthodontist recommends power chains, it’s because these handy tools can help close the space between your teeth fast. The chains are stronger than regular elastics, so they’re able to put more pressure on the teeth. The looped design also means they can work on several teeth at once while applying the same amount of pressure on each at the same time.

These tiny metal or elastic chains are easy to apply and feature a continuous row of O-rings. Each one will be stretched to fit around the brace brackets on your teeth for a snug, comfortable fit.

A power chain can be part of several different treatments. They work to resolve many dental issues like misaligned teeth and jaws, crooked teeth, rotating teeth, dental midline deviation, and more.

Once the chains are applied, you’ll likely need to wear them for at least six months or more. Treatment times vary based on the severity of the issue and what your orthodontist recommends. Since these chains work so well, some patients only need to wear them for as little as six weeks. 

How Power Chains Can Help You

Getting braces is just one way to get orthodontic solutions for a range of issues. If you have gaps between your teeth, power chains can close them fairly quickly.

These elastic chains work to create even spacing between the teeth. This works well for those who may have a gap or several gaps between their teeth or if a specific tooth needs to have the gap reduced before more treatment like a crown, filling, or veneer.

Patients with crooked teeth can also benefit greatly from power chains. When the constant pressure is applied, it brings crooked teeth back into alignment over time.

If you have rotating teeth, power chains can slowly turn them so they’re in the proper position. These small looped chains can also work to correct an overbite or underbite. They correct how you bite, or how your bottom and top teeth come together whenever you close your mouth.

Misalignment of the teeth (also called malocclusion) can happen during childhood. It’s most common in children who have a habit of sucking their thumb or tongue thrashing. Power chains and braces can correct this issue, ensuring that the patient’s teeth are straight as they get older.

Discover the Best Treatment for You

Power chains are just one of many orthodontic solutions that can help you get a straighter, more beautiful smile. If you’re getting braces or already have them, be sure to ask your orthodontist whether they think power chains will help you.

Zirbel Orthodontics is fully dedicated to providing orthodontic care to create beautiful, healthy smiles. With over 250 years of combined experience, we’re here for you, so contact us to schedule your free consultation at one of our offices today!