How Do Braces Work?

how do braces workThere are several different braces types, all of which work in different ways to help straighten your teeth. While traditional braces (such as fixed braces) are made up of wires, brackets and bonding agents, newer teeth straightening appliances (such as Invisalign) are using plastic.

Understanding what type of brace will best suit your preference and requirements is important to the development of your teeth.

The Components of a Fixed Brace

Fixed braces remain the most common teeth straightening choice. They were the first brace design to achieve worldwide medical acceptance and their design and functionality has been improving since the 1920s. Fixed braces are believed to offer the best success rates across all patients.

how do fixed braces work

Brackets – all fixed braces come with brackets, they are the ceramic or metal links found glued onto the front of your teeth.

Arch wires – the arch wire connects the brackets that run along your teeth. Arch wire is made from metal and helps to gently

Bonding material – this is the ‘glue’ that helps keep the ceramic or metal links attached to the front of your teeth.

Ligature Elastic – the elastics help to gently push your teeth into their desired positions. The elastics are tightened during each checkup with your orthodontist.

Spacers – these help allow the bands to fit through each individual teach. They take some getting used to.

Orthodontic Bands – these are different to ligature elastics, as orthodontic bands do not go between each tooth. They are typically used with patients who require complex teeth straightening.

The Components of Invisalign

Invisalign uses 3D printing technology to create a series of bespoke, clear aligners. It is currently the most popular tooth straightening system thanks to its clear, removable aligners.

invisalign componentsClear aligners – the main difference when comparing Invisalign is that it’s made up of two clear aligners (in contrast to metals and wiring). The clear aligners work by gently shifting your teeth into their new, desired positions.

Trays – your aligners will come in a series of trays (depending on the severity of your case, you may have more trays). The trays are swapped out every two week (unless advised otherwise by your dentist).

Dr Hoeltschi Explains the Benefits of Invisalign:

“Up until now, Invisalign has been used only in simple cases, and it’s certainly true that can treat simple cases in as little as three months. What’s less well known is that Invisalign is being used in more complex cases.

As a teenager, the clear benefit of wearing Invisalign is that you can’t see it (for the most part). Invisalign is certainly the future of orthodontics, and that we, as a specialty, will move towards using it more in the future”.

The Components of Lingual Braces

how do lingual braces work?Brackets – lingual braces also come with brackets, the only difference being they are fixed to the back of your teeth.

Arch wires – again, the arch wires are fixed to the backs of your teeth, out of sight.

Bonding material – a similar bonding material is used with lingual braces.

Ligature Elastic – the elastics help to gently push your teeth into their desired positions. The elastics are tightened during each checkup with your orthodontist.

Spacers – these help allow the bands to fit through each individual teach. They take some getting used to.

The Components of a Retainer

Retainers work differently to traditional fixed braces. Instead of straightening teeth, they help to maintain the new positioning of your teeth (after braces). Traditional retainers include:

Wiring – the wire is bonded to the back of your teeth once your braces are removed. The retainer is bonded to the canine teeth (or each of the front six teeth).

Retainers essentially cancel any potential shifting of your teeth using a fixed wire. You will require checkups with your orthodontist to remove plaque and potential tartar buildup and generally monitor your progress. You can learn more on the importance of retainers by reading the Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine.

The Importance of the Arch Wire

braces arch wireThe arch wire is thought to be the most ‘important’ component of the brace. The wire’s relationship with straightening your teeth is complex and fascinating. Wire, typically wants to remain straight, but the heat of your mouth actually forces the wire to curve and bend with the positioning of your teeth (encouraging positive tooth movement).

So, while it will adapt to this, it will also try and keep itself straight. It’s a constant push and pull mechanic that slowly and gently pushes your teeth into their desired positions without causing any sudden or drastic discomfort.

Additionally, as the brace moves your teeth into position, it applies a physical pressure to the teeth, and while this may sound stressful for your teeth, it’s quite the opposite. Your teeth slowly get used to the pressure of gentle re-positioning and the bone structure actually gets stronger because of it.

Book Your Free Consultation Today

If you would like to know more about how our braces and teeth straightening systems can brighten your smile, why not book your free consultation today? Dr Iain Hoeltschi specialises in the use of Invisalign to treat the most complex cases, call or email today to start your teeth straightening journey.

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