Several people are preparing to go through the process of wearing braces but, what they often do not know, is what exactly happens? Wires forcing teeth to move can seem a little scary at first, but once someone understands the process, its threatening nature quickly diminishes.
At Runnels Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, we specialize in different types of braces. We understand that no two patients are the same, and we can offer different treatment options to give you the best results. Doctor Scott Runnels can help determine the best treatment plan for you or your child to help give you a million dollar smile. To schedule your appointment, contact Runnels Orthodontics today.
Components in Braces
In order to understand how braces work, it is important to know the various components that make up a pair of braces.
- Brackets: Brackets are the main metal materials that are bonded to each tooth and are often the main part that people see. A glue-like bonding material is used to keep each bracket in place throughout the treatment.
- Arch Wire: Arch wire is a thin, rod-like metal wire that is placed over each bracket. The arch wire is the main component that puts pressure against the teeth in order to make them move into the correct position.
- O-Rings: O-rings are connected to the braces throughout the treatment but are changed with every tightening. Children often enjoy choosing the bright-colored versions in order to have a splash of color in their smile.
- Elastics: Elastics are only used in the case of a risked overbite or under bite and it is up to the dentist whether or not they are necessary. Elastics are used to create added pressure against the teeth in order to fix an overbite or under bite issue.
How Do They Work?
As the arch wire and elastics create pressure against the various teeth, it forces them to loosen and move into a new position. The surrounding membrane then begins to expand on one side and constrict on the other. Once the pressure is reduced after the teeth have moved, patients will have to go to their orthodontist in order to get the braces tightened or adjusted. This will continue until the teeth are in the desired positioning.
As the teeth move, the bone around the surrounding membrane re-grows to support the new position of each tooth. Because of this, braces are a slow process. If braces are tightened too fast, they will not give the membrane or bone enough time to react and the teeth will fall out. It can usually take up to three years to complete a basic treatment. Depending on the individual, it is also possible that things such as metal headgear will need to be worn as well, although this is usually only in extreme cases.
What Happens After They Come Off?
After the braces are removed, the patient will be required to wear a retainer. A retainer usually contains a plastic portion that rests against the top of the mouth and small metal bars that support the teeth. While wearing a retainer, the bones inside the surrounding membrane will continue to strengthen until they are ready to support the teeth completely. Retainers usually need to be worn 24/7 and are only removed to eat and brush the teeth. It is vital that a retainer is worn as directed in order to avoid the teeth moving back to their previous positions.