How Do Braces Work?
If you have been told you need braces or you know you need to get your teeth straightened, it helps to know something about how braces work to realign the teeth. When we schedule patients for an orthodontic consultation, we want them to fully understand how braces will help them straighten their teeth and what to expect during therapy. The following information should give you a better idea about how braces function so you can decide on your care.
What Components Make Up Orthodontic Braces?
While orthodontic braces may be made of ceramic or be placed as lingual braces on the back of the teeth, the basic components are about the same as traditional metal braces. Traditional braces made of metal or stainless steel feature small squares called brackets, each of which is attached to each tooth with a special dental adhesive.
This adhesive is made to hold each bracket in place during treatment (around three years), but can be easily removed after the end of the process. Your brackets are supposed to serve as anchors - used to hold the archwire in place. Ligatures or elastic bands are included to support the alignment.
What Part of the Braces Directs the Teeth?
Because the brackets serve as anchors, the archwire moves the teeth. If elastic ties are not used, the braces may feature a sliding mechanism to gently place pressure on the teeth so they move into position. Braces with the slider are referred to as self-ligating braces.
How Does the Wire Move the Teeth?
The archwire is threaded through the brackets or, in the case of self-ligating braces, through tiny spring-loaded doors. The wire curves into an arc and ends at the back of the mouth. If you have brackets, you may have a couple wrapped around each of the back molars so the archwire can be stabilized. When the archwire is tightened, or when another thicker wire replaces the current wire, more force is placed on the teeth to move in the right positions.
To keep the teeth shifting into the right position, we schedule adjustments every four to six weeks. While the adjustment may be minor, it’s enough to encourage the teeth to move. The teeth also keep moving because they are sturdier than the jawbone. So, why doesn’t the jawbone shatter under this type of force? It is because you have a periodontal ligament surrounding each tooth root. In turn, the ligament acts as a type of shock absorber, not only when you chew or eat but when the teeth are straightened too.
As you can see everything works in sync when you have braces placed on your teeth. If you want to know what treatment plan will work best for you, contact our office. Just call Rendon Orthodontics at (972) 377-8844 for more information about how orthodontic care can help you achieve a straighter and healthier smile.