Power chains work with the goal in mind of closing gaps and speeding up the alignment of teeth. For patients with braces, power chains are typically involved toward the end of treatment. In this article, we will discuss how often you should change a power chain when you’re in the level and align stage.

When you are in the level and align stage of braces, such as when you are in NiTi wires (12s, 14s, 16s, or 18s), changing power chains at six to ten-week intervals is ideal. The sweet spot for power chain changes would be an eight-week appointment to switch out the power chains of your client. As a general rule, if rubbery ties or power chains are involved, these ties need to be changed every eight weeks, if possible, during the level and align period.

If you are using self-lighting braces, the frequency at which you need to change power chains can be much longer. For these cases, you can go three to four months in between changes. This is because there are no rubbery ties, which are what get gross and degrade over time in the mouth. For closing spaces, power chains should be changed every three to four weeks to keep the forces adequate on the teeth and close gaps.

Keep in mind that putting a power chain on light wires can cause risks, including uncontrolled tipping. Because of this, closing gaps should not be attempted with power chains until you get to a thicker wire. Also, remember that power chains do expire, and you should discard and replace all power chains that are a year old. Doing so will help to make sure that your power chains are still working for your clients.