What are dental braces? How do braces work? Are they really effective in straightening your teeth? Basically, braces correct misaligned teeth and produce an even bite through a biomechanical process called bone remodeling.
This orthodontic treatment benefits children as well as adults. The process, however, may take a longer amount of time in case of adults. Thus, the ideal age for the treatment ranges between 9 to 14 years.
Dental braces are devices that generally consist of brackets, arch wires and elastic ties. So, if you are wondering how do braces work, here’s the explanation.
The brackets on each tooth are attached to the arch wire that applies constant pressure on the teeth to gradually move them into new positions in order to straighten the teeth.
Teeth are supported by bone sockets and surrounded by periodontal ligament. When force is exerted (by arch wire), this ligament lying under the gum tissue stretches at a side and gets packed in on the other side, thereby loosening the tooth in its socket.
Thus, depending on the position, the bone grows in to support the tooth to restore normal spacing between the tooth and the bone. On an average, there is a movement of about one millimeter in a month.
The entire process gives stable results in one and a half to two years, or even longer. Adjustments are required every three to four weeks. Plus, most patients may have to wear retainers for at least six months after the removal of braces.
The brackets are usually made of stainless steel, ceramic, plastic or some clear material. They are mostly bonded to the front of the teeth. In lingual-type brackets, though, they are bonded to the back of your teeth.
Besides, orthodontic bands, separators, springs, rubber bands or headgear tubs (especially for adults) are some other components that help in the process of aligning your teeth and stabilizing them in their new positions.
For instance, rubber bands and springs exert more pressure in a specific direction. The elastic tie (available in different colors) binds the bracket with the arch wire.
The arch wire is prepared from several alloys including stainless steel, beta-titanium alloy and nickel-titanium alloy. In the process of shaping your teeth, this arch wire is required to bend, yet return to its original shape, thereby providing the necessary force conducive for the process.
Here’s a video explaining the different components of metal braces.
Do braces hurt? What are the risks associated with this procedure?
It is obvious that braced tend to be uncomfortable, particularly in the beginning for about a week or so when there could be mild soreness. It does not hurt when they are placed. Pain, however, occurs when the braces are adjusted or tightened.
When wearing braces, make sure you practice proper dental hygiene by brushing your teeth carefully after each meal, floss regularly, limit the consumption of highly sugary and sticky foods, and so on. Get your teeth professionally cleaned as per your dentist’s advice. Needless to say, choose your orthodontist wisely.
There is an emphasis on greater oral hygiene because braces increase the chances of developing bad breath and tooth decay. In addition, there is also the risk of having whitish stain on teeth due to demineralization.
Generation of shorter root lengths is another possibility. More often than not, it does not cause many problems, though.
Now that you have found out how do braces work, move on to gather further information on topics like how much do braces cost, what are invisible braces for teeth and which type of braces are considered best.