How Do Braces Work?
Braces are a type of dental device used to correct crowded or crooked teeth, or misaligned jaws. Most people think of preteens and teens wearing braces, however, it is becoming more and more common for adults to get them too. And why not? The benefits of a beautiful, healthy smile are ageless.
Before diving into how braces work, let’s cover some of the basics. Braces are made up of three components, metal or ceramic brackets, archwires, and a bonding material that affixes the brackets to your teeth.
Before your orthodontist prescribes braces, they will perform a clinical exam, take a digital scan and x-rays of your teeth and jaws, and take photos of your face and smile. This information is used to create their treatment plan for you. Getting braces put on doesn’t hurt. However, it is a complex process that may take a couple of hours.
How Do Braces Work?
It can be helpful to know that your teeth are actually not affixed directly to your jawbone. Instead, there is a ligament that connects your teeth to your jaw. It is this ligament that responds to the pressure created by your braces.
On the most basic level, all braces move your teeth by applying light pressure on your teeth for extended periods of time. Over time, your jaw adapts to a position that conforms to the pressure being applied to your teeth.
The ceramic or stainless steel brackets that are attached to your teeth serve as the anchors for your treatment. The archwire is the mechanism by which pressure is actually applied to your teeth. It is made in a specific way to create tension as it tries to regain its original shape. In self-ligating braces, this archwire is attached to each bracket with a small gate. As the archwire changes shape, it moves your teeth with it.
During your check-ups every eight to 12 weeks, the archwires may be re-bent or replaced to ensure the right amount of pressure is being applied to each tooth. Your orthodontist will also make sure all of the brackets are still securely attached to your teeth.
Other Parts of Braces
In addition to the brackets and archwires, some individuals require more specialized treatment to move individual teeth or properly align their jaws. For example, an expander may be used to widen the upper jaw to assist in bite correction.
If a patient has an overbite or under bite, small rubber bands called elastics may be strung between the top and bottom teeth and attached to certain brackets. To fix an overbite, the elastics would be attached toward the front of the mouth on the top and the back of the mouth on the bottom to shift the bottom jaw outward. The opposite configuration would be used to fix an underbite.
Springs or rods are another way to correct bite issues. They are attached similarly to elastics, but are more permanent and don’t require the patient to remember to wear them or change them regularly.
Do Braces Hurt?
This is a logical question considering how many parts of braces are being used to move your teeth and jaws. In the days following your initial placement of braces or after getting them adjusted, you may experience some discomfort. This can be easily fixed with an over-the-counter pain reliever, or with warm salt water rinses.
Considering this procedure is completely changing your smile, the temporary inconvenience is well worth it. Both your health and self-confidence will be greatly improved by braces.
Fravel Brewer Orthodontics has been helping patients achieve beautiful smiles as the preferred orthodontist in Winter Garden, Ocoee, and West Orange County, Florida for almost 30 years. Treatment options for kids and adults include Invisalign, Invisalign Teen, ceramic braces, and silver braces. Call us at (407) 656-0001 to schedule a free consultation today!