Why Did My Orthodontist Twist My Wire? All About Wire Bends

Are you in the final stage of your braces and feeling anxious about having them removed? I totally get it! But if you see your orthodontist bend and twist your wire, don’t worry – it’s all part of the finishing phase.

The finishing phase is important because it ensures that your teeth are properly aligned and in their correct position. This is essential for the appearance, functionality, and health of your teeth. During the finishing phase, your orthodontist may make minor adjustments to your teeth using bends in the wire.

In this article, we’ll be discussing why your orthodontist uses bends to finish your case, as well as some of the different types of bends that are commonly used. So sit back, relax, and let’s dive into the world of orthodontic wire bending!

What’s with the wire twisting in braces?

When your orthodontist twists a wire, it’s usually to help a flared tooth get into the correct position. We use a bend called a “third order bend” or a “torque bend” for tilting inward or outward, which involves a twisting motion.

We often need torque bends during orthodontic treatment because certain teeth may not move in the same way as others, or the bone may be more resistant in some areas, making it challenging for the root to go where it needs to go.

In these cases, braces and straight wires alone may not be enough for full correction. So, your orthodontist may need to apply additional bends or use extra auxiliaries like springs.

Flared teeth sit in an unstable position and don’t touch the opposing teeth correctly, which can cause problems in the long run. Although you may not notice a flared tooth in the mirror, it becomes evident when you look at the arch from above, such as in a dental photo.

The twisting motion when bending the wire is very subtle, and you may hardly notice any difference (although you may feel it the following day, in which case feel free to take something for the pain). But don’t worry, your orthodontist will notice the difference by the next appointment and ensure everything is moving in the right direction.

Why did my ortho bend the wire?

Bending the wire may look very similar to twisting it, but there’s a subtle difference. Wire bends are an important part of the detailing process, which is the final stage of braces.

There are many ways your orthodontist can bend the wire during the detailing process, but the most common bends are up and down, in and out, and tipping. These bends can be made to correct one tooth or a group of teeth, depending on what needs to be fixed.

Some orthodontists prefer to take control over the finishing process and bend everything themselves, while others may reposition the braces and use a lighter straight wire to apply the correction. Both methods are effective, it just depends on your orthodontist’s preferences and what will work best for your specific situation.

What is the finishing Phase in braces?

The finishing phase in braces can be thought of as the fine-tuning phase, and it’s commonly referred to as detailing. This is when your orthodontist makes the necessary adjustments to ensure that your teeth are perfectly aligned and in the correct position. The goal of this phase is to make sure that your bite is correct and comfortable, your teeth have proper contact, and everything looks aesthetically pleasing.

During the finishing phase, your orthodontist will make use of specialized tools and techniques to make small adjustments to your braces and wires. This may include bending or twisting wires to move teeth into their final position or using rubber bands to correct bite issues. Your orthodontist may also use specialized instruments to smooth out any rough spots on the edges of your teeth to make your smile look perfect.

The length of the finishing phase will vary from patient to patient depending on the complexity of their case. In general, this phase can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. The more we pay attention to the detailing process, the more stable the results will be.

While it can be tempting to want to rush through the finishing phase and have your braces removed as soon as possible, it’s important to remember that this is a crucial part of your treatment. By taking the time to fine-tune your braces, your orthodontist can ensure that your teeth will look and function their best for years to come.

Detailing bends Explained

The detailing takes place on a thick stainless steel wire that can withstand all the bending. This is the same type of wire that’s used in the working phase. I like to use a 0.019×0.025″ stainless steel rectangular wire.

Your orthodontist will use different types of pliers to bend the wire in a custom way or create a simple bend by crimping the wire with a special crimper.

It’s crucial to note that the bending is usually very subtle, only changing the tooth’s position in 0.5mm increments. Going beyond that may cause the bracket to come off, or the patient to feel discomfort from the sudden force applied to the tooth.

There are a few different types of bends that your orthodontist may use:

  • Up and down bend – this simple bend moves the teeth up or down by 0.5 mm relative to the occlusal plane.
  • In and out bend – it moves the teeth in and out 0.5 mm relative to the rest of the arch.
  • Tip bend or “Z” bend – it’s used to correct tipping, which is when a tooth is angled too far forward or backward in relation to the rest of the teeth.
  • Torque bend, or third order bend – it’s used to correct flaring or tilting, which is when a tooth is rotated or angled too far out of the arch.

It’s important to keep in mind that the correction achieved through wire bending takes time and multiple appointments. Your orthodontist may need to make more bends in the following appointments to ensure your teeth are moving in the right direction.

When your orthodontist is performing wire bends, they aren’t just correcting the position of individual teeth, but they’re also making sure that your teeth meet their lateral neighbors and align their ridges as best as possible. This, together with arch size coordination, ensures that you have the best bite possible.

You might be wondering why not just reposition the brackets instead of wire bending. Well, if the issue is just individual malpositioned teeth, then repositioning the bracket can be a quick fix. However, wire bending gives your orthodontist more control and precision when it comes to correcting your teeth. It all comes down to preference and skill.


In summary, wire twisting and bending are essential parts of orthodontic treatment. By using different types of pliers and making subtle changes, orthodontists can move teeth into their ideal positions gradually.

It may take several appointments, but the end result is a beautiful, straight smile. If you have any questions or concerns about wire twisting and bending, don’t hesitate to ask your orthodontist.

Whether you’re new to braces or a braces veteran, taking care of your teeth and gums during orthodontic treatment is crucial. That’s why I’ve put together a list of orthodontist-recommended tools that will make caring for your braces a breeze:

  • An awesome mid-range electric toothbrush. Rotating electric brushes are much more effective, in my opinion, than sonic ones. You can keep your teeth white by using whitening replacement heads.
  • A countertop water flosser to blast out food debris between teeth. I know handheld models are tempting, but you’ll need a lot of water. You can almost replace flossing with this and your gums will be healthier.
  • Braces accessories to get into all the nooks and crannies: straight or angled interdental brushes, floss threaders, orthodontic wax or silicone. For pain management, have gel ice packs handy, Orajel, and Mouth Magic (a cool soothing solution for mouth sores).
  • For clear aligner patients, a tool like PUL helps both remove and seat your aligner or retainer. Don’t forget to use a cleaning product like crystals to keep your trays fresh and hygienic.

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