Are you looking at getting braces but aren’t quite sure how they work? You’re not alone. Most people know about the orthodontic treatment, and they know that they’re all about straightening your teeth, but few people know how they actually work.
It’s very common to see children, teenagers, and even adults wearing braces, but let’s take a closer look at the different components that are working together to straighten your teeth. Here is some information that will help you understand the mechanics of braces.
How do they work?
Basically, braces straighten your teeth and align your bite. With traditional braces this works by applying the precise amount of pressure to certain teeth to realign them. To achieve the ideal position of your teeth we go through a process that has a few different components.
The orthodontic components:
These are small squares that are the building blocks for moving your teeth. They can be made from a variety of materials; traditional braces are metal, clear braces will have white, or tooth coloured brackets. They are then bonded to the front of each tooth with an adhesive, and house the arch wire that moves the teeth.
The brackets may be the building blocks, but the arch wire is what guides the movement of your teeth. The arch wire is delicately bent out of shape and placed into the slots in each bracket. The arch wire is then trying to return to its original shape, thus creating the pressure required to move the teeth to the desired position. The wire is generally made of metal but over the course of your treatment this may change to generate different types of pressure and movement.
These are the metal anchors that wrap around the molars to provide a strong base for which the brackets and arch wire can be secured. They are cemented to the teeth to ensure there’s no movement and are fixed in position. They are a relatively common component of braces however not all patients require them as some only need the brackets and arch wire.
These small rubber bands are only used when the patient requires added pressure or more tension in one direction. They are fitted around hooks on specific brackets and connect the upper and lower teeth. They are mostly used to correct an over/under bite and apply pressure to achieve a well fitted bite.
How does it all come together?
There are many varying types of treatment, some containing only a few components over a short period of time, others requiring a vast range of techniques over many years. Believe it or not, teeth respond better to less force that isn’t overwhelming. This is why many modifications take many years. A lighter prolonged force will produce a better result.
Although braces can be an investment of both time and money, there is no doubt the effects are profound. Braces can play an important role in creating your happy, long-lasting smile. Having good teeth is not only about looking good but also feeling good. Having a nice smile can be a real confidence boost. Braces can also help prevent long-term dental problems like tooth decay, saving you time and pain in the future.
Related Article: What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?