According to the American Association of Orthodontics, approximately 4 million Americans undergo some form of orthodontic treatment at any given time. Therefore, it is not surprising that we have a lot of questions for our orthodontist about braces and orthodontic treatments, before committing to one. However, what many of us forget is to ask how do braces work.
Every day, we rely on a substance that is harder than steel, our teeth. Braces tether your teeth, pulling them together or pushing them apart. With braces, many of us think it’s just straightening your teeth, which is beneficial for self-confidence and self-esteem. But a lot happens when you wear braces. They position your teeth perfectly so that you can have an ideal bite and your teeth function better. The longevity of the teeth is also better, and you have lesser chances of a temporomandibular joint disorder.
There are different kinds of braces today. There are the traditional braces that many teenagers and adults still choose since it is the most popular option. The more aesthetic options that people are more aware of are the white ceramic braces and clear aligners, which are popular even amongst teenagers. Clear aligners let you live your life normally with no food restrictions that people with braces have, letting you brush and floss like normal. You and your orthodontist can together decide which option would suit you best.
There are several basic components that in one form or another common to most orthodontic systems. Acting together, they deliver the forces that will efficiently straighten your teeth. Let’s look at the different parts of braces so that you understand better how braces work.
Parts of Braces
Brackets are the individual attachments that are bonded to each tooth. They can be metal or a tooth color material.
Orthodontic bands are metal rings with special attachments that are usually placed around the back of your teeth.
The archwire is engaged in each bracket and band and delivers the force that moves the teeth.
Dental bonding reshapes a chipped or cracked tooth using tooth-colored composite that helps to achieve a balanced smile.
The elastic ligatures also referred to as ties or color ties are tiny colorful rubber bands that are attached to brackets and hold the archwire in place.
Orthodontic spacers are commonly referred to as spacers that are placed between the molars at your second orthodontic appointment before molar bands are applied. They help space your teeth out before you have your molar bands on.
Working of Braces and Improving Your Smile
Although today we have different types of braces available, the procedure for getting braces is the same for all.
Your orthodontist will begin by putting on a cheek retractor that holds the lips and cheeks away from the teeth. There is also tooth surfaces are then sterilized using a cotton applicator that prepares them for the glue. The teeth are then rinsed and dried off after which the brackets are put on one at a time.
Each bracket has some glue on them and they are put onto each tooth. Each of the teeth has a very specific bracket for it. There are six different types of brackets that are put on the upper arch, while there are five different types of brackets for the lower arch. Then a special light is used that acts as a catalyst to make the glue harden. The bracket is then set and it becomes a permanent fixture on the teeth.
The next step is putting the archwires onto the braces. The wire is very flexible, but when it hits the body temperature, the wire returns to its original shape. The elastic ligatures are then put on to hold the wire to the braces. As the wire straightens out over time, the crooked teeth become straight. The wire is what puts the pressure on the teeth and causes the teeth to move.