Braces are used to gradually and safely move teeth in the mouth. If you have crooked teeth, crowded teeth or have gaps between your teeth, then braces are a possible solution for providing you with a perfect smile. But how do braces work? In this post, we’ll show you exactly how.
Common Components of Braces
Different types of braces are available depending on the positioning of your teeth. However, most braces contain a number of common components.
The first of these components is known as the bracket, which is glued to each tooth. This is usually made out of metal, although sometimes can be made from ceramic. These brackets contain hooks that a wire is threaded through.
The wire runs from tooth to tooth via the brackets. Usually, the wire will run right the way across your teeth, but occasionally an orthodontist may cut this wire, depending on the treatment type. The shape and the tautness of this wire will move your teeth in the right direction. Small and circular elastics or rubber bands known as ligatures are used to hold the wires in place.
Elastics or rubber bands are also normally used to correct a bite. These elastics are usually strung between a hook on an upper and lower bracket. They will pull the upper jaw backwards to correct an over bite or pull the lower jaw backwards to correct an under bite.
The Fundamentals of how Braces Work
In simple terms, braces apply pressure to your teeth, slowly pushing or pulling them into a better position. As teeth move, the bone also changes shape as pressure is applied.
The wire, which is inserted into the brackets, applies the pressure, slowly moving your teeth into a pre-determined location. Before a brace is fitted, a mould of the teeth will be taken, which will show the dentist how far each tooth needs to move.
As the wire applies pressure to the teeth in a way dictated by the dentist, cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts form around the root of the tooth. The combination of these cells plus the pressure caused by the wire leads to the bone reforming on one side of the tooth and bone being removed from the other. This then causes the tooth to slowly move into the correct position. The periodontal membrane under the gums also shifts, either stretching or contracting.
Once teeth are in the correct position, the brace will be removed. However, when the pressure ceases, the teeth may attempt to move back into the correct position. This is why, when braces are removed, patients are provided with a retainer to wear and a strict schedule for wearing this is provided. Usually, the retainer is worn every day for around six months.
After this, it is only worn at night for a further six months. However, your dentist will provide you with a schedule that suits your requirements, as how often you wear your retainer will depend on a number of factors, such as how long you wore the brace for and how far your teeth moved.
Are Braces Painful?
As braces move your teeth, you may feel some level of discomfort. As the underlying bone remodels, it’s likely that you will experience a feeling of pressure on the teeth. However, this should only be experienced for a couple of days.
In addition to this, while your mouth becomes accustomed to the fixed brace, you may experience some scratching of the gums or lips. However, this should also subside quickly.
If you or your child have crooked teeth and are considering braces as a possible solution, then please call us on 07 3300 1277 or contact us to discuss the possibilities for your situation.