How Do Braces Move Teeth?

Dental braces are an important device if your teeth are crooked or overcrowded, or if you have a malocclusion more commonly known as a misaligned jaw. Many people visit an orthodontist as an adolescent to straighten their teeth. Corrective dental braces have become more common for adults later on in life. Your braces can be constructed using ceramic or metal with wires and a special bonding material so they can be attached to your teeth. You need to make an appointment with an orthodontist if you need braces because they specialize in not only braces but also treatments necessary if your teeth are misaligned. The length of time you will need to wear braces depends on your age and treatment goals. In the majority of cases, braces are extremely effective provided you follow the instructions of your orthodontist including making appointments for adjustments and performing proper dental care such as brushing and flossing. Braces will prevent your dental issues from becoming worse and potentially resulting in serious complications. When your braces are removed, your teeth will be straight and you will have a beautiful smile you will enjoy for the rest of your life. Orthodontists have to complete four years of dental schooling, have a DMD or DDS dental degree and a certificate of orthodontics in addition to finishing a residency program.

Types of Braces

Your orthodontist will recommend the best type of braces for your individual needs depending on a variety of different factors. This includes your age and if you have crooked teeth or an overbite. Your braces are custom-made according to your specific needs. When you think of braces, you most likely picture traditional braces. This type of braces is constructed using metal brackets individually glued to all of your teeth. Braces straighten teeth when pressure is placed on your jawline and teeth through an arch-wire. Your arch-wires are connected to your brackets with O-rings. Your orthodontist will periodically adjust your braces because your teeth will be gradually moving into the correct positions. During your appointments, your elastic bands will need to be changed. There are different types of braces available including:

  • Clear or ceramic braces are designed to be more difficult to see
  • Lingual braces are placed on the back of your teeth
  • Aligner trays are a type of invisible braces you can take out yourself
  • Retainers are also an aligner tray you may receive after your braces are removed
  • Braces straighten teeth

    How Do Braces Move Teeth?

    Braces can move your teeth because of the constant pressure over extended time periods. As time passes, your jaw will start adapting and conform to the pressure of your braces. You most likely believe your teeth are directly attached to your jawbone. If this were true, moving your teeth would be almost impossible. In actuality, your teeth are attached by a membrane around your bones. This is what is responsible for rooting your teeth to your jaw. The position of your teeth is controlled by this membrane. As your braces place pressure on your teeth, the membrane responds allowing your teeth to move. Getting braces is not painful but you need to allow one to two hours for your appointment. Adjusting to your braces usually takes about a week and you might experience a little soreness for a few days. Your orthodontist will begin by attaching brackets onto your teeth. There is a small slot in every bracket. Your orthodontist uses these slots for the insertion of wires when your braces are first installed and for all of your appointments. There are small elastic ties holding your wires in place that fit around all of your brackets. As you continue to wear your braces, the pressure is applied by these wires to your teeth. This is what enables your teeth to start to move into the correct positions. All of your teeth have different shapes and sizes. Your brackets must be customized for this reason. Braces move teeth because every bracket is the appropriate size and shape to ensure a correct fit for each individual tooth. In the past orthodontists only had one option, stainless steel wires. Due to improvements in dental technology, there are a variety of wires currently available so your teeth are moved more comfortably and quickly. When your braces are first installed, the first couple of wires are generally extremely flexible. Despite this, the wires have the strength to ensure that constant force is placed on your teeth. As your teeth start to straighten, your orthodontist will start using progressively firmer and thicker wires to make certain your teeth move into the correct positions for an optimal bite. Every time you have an adjustment, your wires are changed so the correct amount of pressure is placed on your teeth. This is the reason adjustment visits are essential for a straight smile. You will schedule your appointments every four to eight weeks to ensure your teeth have enough time to move steadily. Your orthodontist will consistently assess your progress to make certain your treatment is progressing correctly. When your braces are removed you will have a straight and lovely smile.

    The Different Parts of Braces

    Your orthodontist will use either elastics or rubber bands during your treatment. Your elastics are placed on both your upper and lower braces to generate a pulling motion on your teeth. This is what moves your teeth in the desired direction to ensure an ideal bite and a perfect smile. The bands around your brackets are called ligatures, O-rings and elastic bands. You will not receive them until all of your brackets have been placed. These bands increase the pressure placed on your jaw. The majority of traditional braces require bands. Before your brackets can be placed, your teeth must be dry and clean. Special glue is used to adhere stainless steel, plastic or ceramic brackets to your teeth. You may be a little uncomfortable while your orthodontist is placing your brackets, but you should not feel any pain. Your brackets ensure the pressure placed on your teeth is even. Wires surround and connect your brackets. Your wires can be made using stainless steel, copper titanium or nickel titanium. Your spacers are constructed using either metal rings or rubber bands. During your appointment, your orthodontist may use spaces between your molars. Spacers add more space toward the back of your mouth so your jaw can be pushed forward. If the braces at the back of your mouth are too tight for a proper fit, spacers will make the room required. You may or may not need spacers. If you do, you will most likely not wear them for more than a period of one to two weeks. The brackets on your teeth are connected with arch-wires. This is necessary for placing pressure on your teeth so they can move into the right positions. Your arch-wires can be constructed using stainless steel, copper titanium or nickel titanium. In some cases, coil springs are used for the arch-wires. This applies pressure between two teeth to add space and press them apart. Buccal tubes are made of metal and are attached to one or more of your molars. These tubes work as an anchor for the other parts of your braces toward the back of your mouth. Your orthodontist uses these anchors for releasing and tightening different sections of your braces. This is another reason braces straighten teeth. The chances of you needing headgear are rare. If you do you only need to wear it at night.