How Braces Work to Straighten Your Teeth
If you need orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may recommend braces as part of your treatment plan. Modern dental appliances for teeth straightening have been around since the 1800s. However, the Ancient Romans used dental appliances to straighten their teeth too.
Luckily, modern orthodontics have undergone some changes over the years. Modern orthodontic appliances are much more effective and much less painful than they used to be. But, they still go through the process of shifting, straightening, and realigning your teeth.
If you’re not sure how orthodontic procedures work, read the list below. Here’s a brief explanation of the entire straightening process.
There are Several Treatment Options
If you’re ready to start your orthodontic treatment, the first thing you’ll do is choose the right type of orthodontic appliances. There are several types to choose from. Those include metal, lingual, and ceramic braces.
These braces use a system of brackets and wires to slowly shift your teeth. But, there’s also another option. You can choose clear aligners, which don't use brackets and wires. They’re plastic trays custom-made to fit your teeth.
You’ll go through a system of trays that will shift your teeth into their proper position. Your orthodontist can help you choose the treatment option that’s best for your specific orthodontic issues.
There are Different Components
If you’ve chosen any of the bracketed appliances for your orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to understand the components. There are individual components that make up your orthodontic appliances. Each component has a different job, but they all work together to straighten your teeth.
- Brackets: The brackets are individual pieces that affix to the surface of your teeth. Each tooth gets its own bracket. Once the brackets are secured to your teeth with bonding glue, an archwire is threaded through each of the brackets.
- Archwire: This archwire is adjusted throughout treatment to slowly guide your teeth into the right position. Elastic ties are attached to the wires to hold them in place.
- Elastic Ties: These elastic ties come in different colors so you can customize the appearance of your braces. If you need orthodontic work to bring your teeth and jaws into alignment, you may also need rubber bands attached to your upper and lower teeth brackets.
Treatment Follows a Precise Process
Once your orthodontic appliance is in place, your teeth will begin the process of shifting into place. This shifting follows a process of bone remodeling. The brackets and wires slowly put pressure on your teeth, which begins the work of remodeling your jaw bones.
The process goes slowly so that your bones have a chance to adjust to the changes. But, the slower process also helps reduce pain and discomfort. Remodeling the bones ensures that your teeth will hold their new positions once the brackets and wires get removed.
But, there are times when a retainer may be needed to stop your teeth from shifting back into their original position.
There’s a Timeline of Events
When you start your orthodontic treatment, your bones won’t start remodeling right away. In fact, it can take several days before the bones holding your teeth start to respond to the treatment.
During that time, you can expect to feel some mild pain and discomfort. That’s a sign that your teeth are trying to shift into a new position. Once the bone starts responding, you’ll feel less discomfort. That is until your archwires are adjusted. At each appointment, your orthodontist will make adjustments to the tension in the archwires.
The adjustments are made according to the timeline for your treatment plan. Each time the archwires are adjusted, you’ll go through a few days of pain and discomfort and your teeth and jaw bones respond to the changes.
Treatment can be Lengthy
When it comes to straightening your teeth, the process can be lengthy. In fact, the length of treatment will be determined by the type of issues your orthodontist is treating.
In most cases, orthodontic treatment can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Complex orthodontic issues can take over two years to complete. Your orthodontist can discuss the timeline with you.
If you have issues with your teeth, such as misalignment or bite problems, talk to your orthodontist. Braces work well to repair all types of orthodontic problems.