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11Nov2015

How Do Braces Work?

CREATING A BEAUTIFUL, STRAIGHT SMILE through orthodontic treatment is a pretty amazing process! With braces, we can feel and see our teeth move over the course of treatment, but how does it happen?

Our Braces Contain A Few Key Components

To understand the science of braces, we first need to understand the components that make them up. First, there are the brackets, usually made of metal or ceramic. The bracket is the part of the braces attached to each tooth and is held in place by a bonding material that keeps the brackets firmly attached to your teeth over the course of treatment.

One of the most important pieces is the archwire. This thin piece of metal is placed over the brackets and puts pressure on the teeth, giving them the direction they need to become aligned and straight.

The ligature elastic (or “o-ring”) is a small, colored elastic that holds the bracket onto the archwire. These elastics are changed at each adjustment visit. Some types of brackets do not need elastic ligatures, however, and are actually self-ligating.

How Do Braces Straighten Our Teeth?

Anyone who has had braces knows that the process involves a bit of pressure. The component that exerts that gentle pressure on your teeth is the archwire. The light but constant force that is applied causes the teeth to move, slowly but surely, into their proper positions. But how, exactly?

The scientific word for what is actually happening to your teeth is called bone remodeling. Under the gumline, your teeth are surrounded by the periodontal membrane, sometimes called the periodontal ligament or PDL. When the archwire puts pressure on your teeth, the periodontal membrane stretches on one side and is compressed on the other. This loosens the tooth.

In response to this pressure and movement, the body sends cells called osteoclasts to break down the jaw bone. The body then sends in bone building cells, called osteoblasts, to rebuild the jaw bone into a new shape that lets the periodontal membrane hold teeth in the new position.

A Smile That You Can Be Proud Of

Having a perfectly aligned smile can affect the way you speak and chew, as well as your self-confidence. We care about you and know that a healthy, beautiful smile can make a big difference in your life. Our team provides specialized orthodontic treatment tailored to each of our patients, so that you can have a smile to be proud of!

Thank you for reading our blog and being a valued patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user Melinda Seckington used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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