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How Long Can You Go Without Tightening Your Braces?


Children, teens, and adults alike often struggle with the new challenge of maintaining their braces. However, being able to answer common questions about orthodontics, such as, “How long can you go without tightening your braces?” is essential for getting the most out of your braces and improving your long-term dental health.

Maldonado Orthodontics, a respected family orthodontist in Hammond, LA, is ready to answer all your questions. To understand the value of promptly tightening your braces, consider why your braces need tightening and what happens if you don’t tighten your braces.

Understanding the Process of Tightening Your Braces

Your braces work by exerting pressure on the teeth that, over time, pushes them into a healthy and attractive alignment. Without that consistent tension, the braces won’t be able to move the misaligned teeth, and they will continue to cause problems, particularly in children and teens with developing jaws.

Why Do You Have to Tighten Your Braces?

The braces need periodic tightening because the tooth realignment process is gradual. As your teeth change position in response to the braces, the braces will no longer exert any pressure on them. Your dentist will adjust the braces to a new position so that they continue to apply pressure in the next stage of your orthodontic treatment. 

Skipping regular adjustments or check-up appointments will cause the braces to gradually become less effective. Even though you continue to wear your braces, they might not be doing you any good.

What Happens If You Don’t Tighten Your Braces?

One answer to the question, “How long can you go without tightening your braces?” is, “How long do you want your orthodontic treatment to take?” There is no absolute rule on the question, but if you put off adjustments for more than a month or two, you risk lengthening your treatment time. The longer it takes for you to finish aligning your teeth, the more you have to deal with problems such as:

  • Difficulty brushing teeth 
  • Scratches and irritation of the gums
  • Periodontal disease
  • Damage to tooth enamel

Serious complications with orthodontics are not common, but they are more likely to occur if you wear braces for a long period of time. If a patient delays tightening to the point where the braces are no longer effective, the risks will only increase. 

Factors That Affect Brace Tightening

The number of appointments and adjustments you will need to realign your teeth depends on the initial severity of your tooth misalignment, how early you start orthodontic treatment, whether or not the dentist has removed teeth, and other factors. Your dentist might revisit the question, “How long can you go without tightening your braces?” based on changes in tooth alignment or oral hygiene issues.

All dentists have different preferences, and they will generally take the patient’s preferences into account when recommending a course of treatment.

Self-Adjusting Braces

Newer orthodontic appliances, such as InBrace® and self-ligating braces, do not need your dentist to adjust them because they naturally tighten themselves. This saves you from hassle and discomfort while ensuring that your teeth get the continuous pressure they need for lasting change to their alignment and a healthy smile.


Your oral health is not something to neglect, and it is generally best to stick to your dentist’s recommendations when scheduling adjustments to your braces. At Maldonado Orthodontics, you and your dentist will work together to reach a consensus on the question, “How long can you go without tightening your braces?” during a personal consultation where together you will develop a treatment plan.

It is never too late to take action to improve your smile and protect your oral health. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about our orthodontic treatments, including child, teen, and adult braces. Call our office at 985-542-8719 or book an appointment online. We also have offices in Metairie and Lutcher, LA.


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