Lady holding braces

How Do Braces Work?

18 January 2024

Beginning a journey to a straighter smile often involves the use of braces as prescribed by a specialist orthodontist. These orthodontic marvels may seem a little confusing, but their mechanics are designed to coax and move your teeth into perfect alignment.

What are the parts?

Braces consist of several key components, including brackets and wires, as well as some removable components such as elastic bands that you may be prescribed at some stage during your treatment. Elastic bands assist with the relationship between your upper and lower jaw and how your teeth will eventually bite together. 

What does each part do?

The braces process begins with the attachment of small brackets to each tooth, which act as anchor points. Each bracket plays a distinct role in helping to direct the movement of the teeth. The brackets act as the guides to an archwire that is placed, which applies gentle pressure ensuring that the teeth shift gradually and in the right direction.

The archwires are the long and thin wire that spans across the dental arch, usually from molar to molar. This wire is responsible for exerting controlled pressure on your teeth, guiding them into their desired positions over time.

Many braces systems use special coloured (or clear if that’s more your style!) elastic rings, called ‘modules’, that hold the archwire into place within a special slot on each individual bracket. 

There are also some braces systems that have special ‘gates’ that open and close. These gates, when closed, are what hold the archwire in place. These ‘gates’ play a role in fine-tuning the forces applied to individual teeth, allowing for precise adjustments. 

How Do They Work?

Periodic visits to your orthodontist involve tweaking the tension of the archwire. This can mean you may have a wire changed, or sometimes small bends in the wires may be placed, called ‘detailing’, to ensure that your treatment remains on track. 

The pressure exerted by braces not only shifts the teeth but also stimulates a biological response within the jawbone. This process, known as bone remodelling, allows the bone to adapt to the new tooth positions, ensuring stability and long-term alignment.

Patience is key in orthodontic treatment. The gradual, controlled movement of teeth is designed to reduce discomfort and allow the bone and surrounding tissues to adapt naturally. The duration of treatment varies based on individual needs but is essential for achieving a stable and beautiful result.

If you’d like to learn more about how braces work, and you’re interested in starting treatment for yourself or a child, why not book a consultation appointment with the friendly team at Donna Lim Orthodontics? 

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