You might be asking, “why did the orthodontist bend my wire?”
The many processes an orthodontist uses throughout your treatment may seem confusing or unnecessary if you are new to braces. However, these trained professionals have years of education and experience to help you get the smile you want.
So, if you want to know why bending wires is necessary, we cover all the essentials here in easy-to-understand details.
- The Purpose of Wires on Braces
- Why Did the Orthodontist Bend My Wire?
- I Accidentally Bent My Archwires Myself, Now What?
- The Takeaway
The Purpose of Wires on Braces
Many standard braces will use brackets on the teeth that connect with a wire, also called archwires. This wire can be of various thicknesses, shapes, and material compositions. Their function is to provide resistance and help pull the teeth into alignment to achieve a more cosmetic smile.
You will often not have the same type of wire throughout the treatment plan. Your orthodontist will change the thickness as your teeth slowly move into place since various positions will call for stronger or less intense wire strength.
If you have braces on both sets of teeth, the top, and bottom, each set of brackets will have its own archwire.
Types of Archwires for Braces
If you are getting braces to help straighten your teeth, the archwires will consist of one of these different types of material. Depending on what your orthodontist’s plan is, the wires can be:
- Nickel-Titanium (NiTi)
- Stainless Steel
Some orthodontists will stick with one type of material, while others combine different wire materials based on their resistance and what point you are at in your treatment program.
This type of wire falls in between rigid stainless steel and highly elastic nickel-titanium wires. Beta-titanium allows for some flexibility but still provides slight rigidness, making this material best for a treatment plan already in full swing but not near completion yet.
Nickel-titanium wires contain the most elasticity of all three types of archwires. Even when bent, they will easily return to their original shape. This material is best for the beginning stages of braces treatment since they allow for the most movement.
Additionally, some nickel-titanium archwires are heat-treated, giving them extra pliability for individuals with highly crooked teeth. Heating them beforehand will make the wires easier to install into the mouth, and as they cool, they will slowly return to their original shape, helping to move the teeth.
This type of wire is not very elastic and holds a more rigid composition. These wires are hygienic, durable, rust-resistant, and adjustable. However, because of their inflexibility, stainless steel is best for the last stage of a braces treatment program.
Why Did the Orthodontist Bend My Wire?
If these wires are supposed to straighten my teeth, why did the orthodontist bend them? Although bending them may seem counter-productive, there is a good reason for this process.
Simply put, the orthodontist will bend the archwires in the direction where they want the teeth to move. As the teeth move, the wires will slowly straighten out. However, some excess wire will begin to appear behind the braces once there is substantial movement.
Will Bending Wires Break Them?
The archwires your orthodontist uses for your braces are incredibly durable and resistant to breakage, even after bending. These wires can take the force of bends during your treatment plan and return to their shape without problems. In addition, bending procedures will rarely cause the wires to break.
However, sometimes archwires do break because of other causes.
- Eating off-limits foods
- Picking at the braces or wires
- Mouth injuries
Eating Off-Limits Foods
One significant contributing factor to broken wires or loose brackets while wearing braces is eating foods that are off-limits. For example, sticky foods, hard candies, nuts, or popcorn kernels can result in some damage to your archwires or brackets.
Picking at the Braces or Wires
Picking with your fingernail, toothpick, or other items when food is sticking in your braces can cause a wire to break or a bracket to dislodge from your tooth. Be sure to use other methods, like brushing, flossing, or a Waterpik, to remove food from your braces that will not cause damage to your archwires or brackets.
An archwire could break if you receive a sudden injury to your mouth. Sports injuries or accidents will happen to everyone, so taking proper precautions to avoid mouth injuries is vital when you are on a braces treatment program.
I Accidentally Bent My Archwires Myself, Now What?
Wearing braces is not always a fun task. Occasionally, circumstances may cause you to pay an unscheduled visit to your orthodontist. One reason why you may need to see your orthodontist immediately is when you accidentally bend the archwires.
Any time a wire bends due to food, or other situations, you should see your orthodontist. The wires and their path help pull the teeth in the correct direction. If you accidentally bend a wire, it could start pulling your teeth the wrong way and prolong your treatment.
However, you should never try to bend the wires back if this happens to you. This situation is easy to take care of at your orthodontist’s office, and you do not want to risk causing damage to the wires or brackets by trying to fix them on your own.
An orthodontist undergoes specific training to know the proper methods and procedures to help straighten teeth and deal with other oral problems. So while it may be confusing how they get your teeth to move by bending wires in your braces, these professionals have the education and experience to get your smile looking its best.
The bends that your orthodontist puts in your wires have a purpose for your treatment plan. Whether they need your tooth to rotate, move up, down, or to the side, these pliable wires will allow this movement to happen. So all you need to do is ensure that you keep your teeth clean and look forward to a better smile in no time, without worrying about the process.