Braces require a number of different components, all working in perfect harmony. The direct pressure on your teeth is applied by the brackets attached to them—a process called biomechanical force. However, these brackets can only apply pressure once an archwire is threaded through them. This archwire is progressively tightened throughout the course of your orthodontic treatment until your teeth have been repositioned into a predetermined alignment. This goal becomes difficult if your archwire should ever become bent.
A Bent Archwire
An archwire is designed to retain its shape and stiffness, with the only adjustments to its configuration to be performed by an orthodontist. Yet it's certainly possible for a patient to accidentally bend their archwire. How are some of the ways this can happen?
- Improper oral hygiene can conceivably bend an archwire, and this includes brushing too hard, using a toothpick or similar implement, or damaging the wire during flossing.
- Diet can play a role, meaning an archwire can bend when eating foods that are too hard or crunchy.
- An archwire may become damaged if a patient makes the mistake of picking at it or playing with it in some manner. The only contact you make with your archwire should be when you clean your teeth, and even this has the potential to damage your orthodontics if done improperly.
What needs to happen if you should bend your archwire?
No DIY Repairs
Even though it might seem like it's a simple enough task to adjust your own archwire, you must not attempt to do this. Archwires are constructed and shaped to achieve a specific tensile force (stress and strain). Any deformities to the archwire (which can be the case with a DIY repair) will disrupt this tensile force, meaning your braces may no longer be effective (and might even be harming your teeth). Any damage to an archwire must be checked by your orthodontist.
Repair or Replacement
It's likely that your archwire will be removed for assessment. If its maximum yield strength has not been exceeded, it can be reshaped and reinserted. It can also simply be replaced. If the original choice of archwire was thought to have contributed to its damage, it may be switched to a different material with greater elasticity. For example, a multi-strand stainless steel archwire may be replaced with a nickel-titanium alloy archwire.
A bent archwire can disrupt your orthodontic progress, and it's important to have it assessed as soon as it's noticed.
For more information on braces, contact a company like Monacell Orthodontics.