How Braces Work: Part One

by Dr. Amer Hussain, on Nov 12, 2019 5:11:10 PM

So, you’ve made the decision to straighten your teeth and the recommended orthodontic treatment for you is braces. Congrats! This is a huge step to get the smile you always wanted. 

This decision is not easy to come to and you may have some questions about what braces are and how do they work. 

It’s the iconic metal wires and matching metal brackets that gives braces their iconic and instantly recognizable look, braces are one of the most common orthodontic treatment options.

Now, just before we can get into the mechanics of how braces work, it’s important to understand what braces are and the components involved. 

What are braces made up of?
Braces are made up of several moving parts (we couldn’t resist the pun) that all work together to align your bite and straighten your teeth. 

Braces are made up of: 

Brackets
Brackets are the little building blocks that help move your teeth. These little guys are bonded to the teeth, they can either be clear, plastic or metal in appearance. 

Brackets have built in features that help control the angle and rotation of each tooth. Another one feature of brackets that are important to note it is the slot where the archwire goes, this is essential for controlled movement of the tooth. 

Archwire
If brackets are the orchestra, the archwire would be the conductor. The archwire is responsible  for applying pressure to your teeth.

Archwires can be made of nickel titanium, stainless stain or beta titanium, as far as appearance they are usually metal coloured but some orthodontists can have clear or tooth coloured ones as well. 

clear-braces-1

Ligature Elastics 
These elastics are also known as “o-rings”, these little guys can vary in colour (if your orthodontists offers colours). They are primarily responsible for connecting your bracket to your archwire.

They handle the majority of the heavy lifting so they are tighten and swapped out every time you head into your orthodontic office. 

Orthodontic Bands
Orthodontic bands are different than ligature elastics, these bands don’t go on each tooth but instead are used to help align the jaw. These bands help you upper and lower jaw to fit together. These elastic bands are attached to hooks that are on the ends of certain brackets (as decided by your orthodontist). 

Buccal Tube 
The buccal tube are the metal parts that can be attached to one of your molars. These metal pieces act as an anchor and hold the end of the archwire securely at the back of your mouth.

In our second part, we will get into the mechanics of how braces actually move your teeth into alignment. 

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