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Dental Braces Work

How do Dental Braces Work?

  • Brackets made of metal or ceramic. A bracket is attached to each tooth.

  • Bonding material (glue) or a metal band. This is what attaches the bracket to the tooth.

  • An Arch Wire, which is a thin metal wire that runs from bracket to bracket and puts pressure on the teeth.

  • The Ligature Elastic (also called an "o-ring"). This is a small colored elastic that holds the bracket onto the arch wire. The ligatures are usually changed at each adjustment visit. Some types of brackets do not need elastic ligatures (they are called "self-ligating").

Braces have four basic parts as shown below:

Dental braces work by applying constant pressure on the teeth, in a desired direction, over a period of time. The force applied can not be too high, because it will damage the tooth and periodontal tissues. You can not expect to align your teeth in a few days. It is the gentle constant pressure for an extended period of time that moves teeth in their proper position.

Dental braces work by pushing the tooth in a specified direction and the stress created within the periodontal ligament triggers a biological process which leads to bone remodeling. During this process the bone in the compressed side of the tooth is gradually resorbed, while on the other side new bone is created within the periodontal ligament to fill the gap created by the movement of the tooth (deposition).

A tooth will usually move about a millimeter per month during orthodontic treatment. depending on individual patient’s response to treatment. The pressure has to be adjusted by the orthodontist every few weeks during the orthodontic treatment, which can last from one to three years or longer depending on the severity of the patient's case.

There are several types of dental braces provided by orthodontists, from the traditional metal braces to ceramic "tooth-colored" braces, clear plastic braces and the more modern invisible braces. All types of dental braces work in a similar way, except invisible braces that are actually retainers and not braces. You can expect to feel a little uncomfortable when you wear braces for the first time and for one-two days after each time they are readjusted and ‘tightened’ by the orthodontist. The sharp edges of the archwires can be covered with dental wax for braces to prevent sores on the inner cheeks and lips.

Once the orthodontic braces are removed, a dental retainer may be recommended by the orthodontist to hold teeth in their proper position and not allow them to move back to their prior position

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