How do Braces Work?
How Do Traditional Braces Work?
Your orthodontist will carefully examine your teeth, gums, and underlying bone structure to develop a diagnosis, the best dental appliance to use, and detailed treatment plan.
Today, there are several types of orthodontic appliances available, including aligners, ceramic or clear, and lingual. However, due to speed, effectiveness, and cost-efficiency, traditional metal brackets remain one of the most commonly used orthodontic device.
These are braces with metal, wire, and elastic components that change your smile at a bio-mechanical level by slowly and precisely adjusting the positioning of your teeth under pressure.
The Three Main Components Of Traditional Braces
Let’s look at the three main components of this device:
1. The Brackets
These are the square-shaped metal pieces with slots. They’re attached to each tooth with a dental bonding agent. In some cases, orthodontic bands are bonded to the tooth before the brackets are applied.
The majority of brackets are stainless steel in composition. Brackets are classified according to size, width, and base, and your orthodontist will select the appropriate combinations to fulfill your orthodontic treatment plan.
The main function of these slotted brackets is to hold the arch wires in place.
2. The Archwires
Archwires are bent to a specific shape based on your treatment plan. Your orthodontist can either do this by hand or with the assistance of a computer.
Once you have the foundation of brackets in place, the customized archwires can be added to the slots in your brackets. In their attempt to revert to their original shape, the archwires create the necessary pressure to move your teeth up, down, right, or left and into an ideal position.
The shape, material, and thicknesses of your archwires will likely change over the course of treatment. These changes generate different degrees and types of pressure for the precise tooth movements your orthodontist has laid out in your treatment plan.
In many cases, elastics are used in strategic locations to treat malocclusion. Elastics provide added tension and pressure to targeted areas. Headgear and springs are similar devices that may also be used for this targeted added tension.
The Bio-Mechanical Response
The periodontal membrane/ligament around the root of teeth and the alveolar bone that it’s attached to are affected as the orthodontic device begins to move your teeth. How exactly they’re affected is a bio-mechanical response known as remodeling. The success of your treatment largely depends on this remodeling.
Science has shown that remodeling responds better to gentle, consistent force. Lighter force causes positive pressure from one side of the tooth compressing against the periodontal membrane. In turn, negative pressure is created from the tension on the opposite side of the tooth. The result is a space between the two surfaces.
So, what remodels the bone around the teeth? The positive and negative pressure spurs two biological remodeling functions: resorption and deposition.
In deposition, osteoblasts (bone growth cells) are produced on the tension side pulling the periodontal membrane away from the bone. It occurs slowly over a three-month period. In resorption, the bone on the side being squeezed is rapidly being broken down by the production of bone-destroying osteoclast cells. It occurs quickly, usually in around three days.
The pressure applied by an orthodontic device is pivotal to the remodeling process as it’s what regulates reapportion and deposition. Too much pressure actually hinders and slows the process.
It’s such bio-mechanical facets involved in tooth movement that orthodontists gain in their extra three years of training, and it’s a big reason the average time spent in braces is one to two years for most patients. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to the orthodontic adjustment of your teeth and jaw.
We look forward to helping you better understand how you can gain your very own healthy and happy smile with orthodontic devices. Call today for your initial consultation.