How Braces Work: Part Two

by Dr. Amer Hussain, on Nov 25, 2019 10:30:00 AM

So in our first part we went over the moving parts of braces and what each component does. Now we can move onto how braces actually straighten teeth. 

The force is strong with these.. appliances
Not only a great reference to Star Wars but also a fun fact about orthodontics.When it comes to straightening your smile or aligning you bite, it is all done by applying force. Now before you cringe and turn away, the force or pressure is applied lightly and gradually over time. Too much force can actually harm your teeth and gums. 

The goal of braces is to move your teeth with constant, light gradual pressure. The archwire is what actually helps move your teeth slowly. While elastics help move you teeth in specific directions and pull your jaw into alignment. 

Okay, so force is how braces move teeth. But why do our teeth move under pressure?
If someone was constantly pushing you, wouldn’t you move too? Our bodies are incredibly smart and adaptive. Your teeth are connected to your jawbone by ligaments that form a membrane that holds your teeth in its’ place.

This membrane is the living tissue that your teeth live in. Think of this tissue as a shock-absorber for the bone below, when pressure is applied to the teeth, the tissue sends a message to the body to help reposition the bone. The end result of this process is that the gradual pressure will eventually get your teeth into their ideal positions.

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What happens after my braces are removed?
After your braces are removed, your orthodontist will most likely give you a thorough cleaning. They also might take a set of X-rays  to see how your alignment has progressed. Some time either before your braces are removed or just after, your orthodontist will fit you with a retainer. 

Your teeth just went through a big move and it’s going to take them time to settle. The bone and gums need a little time to become familiar and settled with all the new changes and a retainer is the only way to do this. 

By wearing your retainer, you help your teeth REMEMBER and RETAIN their new positions. If you aren’t consistent with wearing your retainer, you risk your teeth shifting back to their old positions and losing the new smile you worked so hard to achieve.

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