How Exactly Braces Work and What They’re Made of
Evidence of orthodontic care can be seen going back as far as Ancient Egypt, with braces being developed around 300 years ago. While modern orthodontics have come a long way, the fundamentals have been practiced for centuries. While most people know braces are used for achieving straight teeth, most aren’t clear on how exactly they work. Whether you’re looking into getting braces or you’re just curious, here is what you need to know.
What Braces are Made of
Braces have many different parts all working together to straighten your teeth. Breaking these down we have six key components.
- The Brackets
The brackets are the metal or ceramic links that are bonded to each individual tooth.
- The Bonding Material
The bonding material is the adhesive which bonds the brackets to each tooth, providing a secure hold.
- The Arch Wire
The arch wire is the thin wire that connects all of the brackets. Its main purpose is to help move your teeth and promote proper alignment.
- The Elastic
Often called O-rings, these can be found in many different colors and serve to connect the bracket and the arch wire. Typically, these will be switched out and tightened during every orthodontist visit.
- The Spacers
Spacers are bands that go between individual teeth and help during straightening to ensure teeth move as needed.
- Orthodontic Bands
Often not used in mild cases, these bands connect the arch wire and brackets; however, unlike the elastics, they aren’t on every tooth.
While there are a few additional components that can be used, these are the most commonly used, and the ones most brace wearers will have to get used to.
How Exactly Do Braces Work?
Now that we know what we’re working with, we can better understand how braces work. To straighten teeth, braces apply pressure, slowly moving teeth to where they need to be. The arch wire is mainly responsible for this, while the brackets serve to hold it steadily in place.
Technically speaking, the pressure applied by braces is actually effecting the periodontal membrane causing one side to stretch out and the teeth to shift into the new position. This process is also known as bone remodeling, which in the end straightens teeth and makes them stronger. The same pressure that gently moves teeth into alignment also helps create new cells that improve bone density and strengthen teeth. While this might sound intimidating, it’s overall a relatively painless and rewarding process that can help give you a lasting smile that you can be proud of.
Braces are incredibly useful for helping you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted, as well as correcting bite problems and promoting good oral health. If you’re currently in need of braces, don’t hesitate to set up a consultation with your orthodontist today and see what this amazing treatment can do for you.