Orthodontics means “straight teeth,” and that’s exactly what it achieves. Many people have misaligned or crowded teeth that can present problems down the road. Orthodontists use braces to realign the teeth and make patients’ smiles look better. But how do they work? Knowing the basics of braces can help you have a better orthodontics experience.
What are Orthodontic Braces?
Braces comprise brackets, O-rings, and arch wires. Brackets are the metal or ceramic parts that are glued to your teeth to provide structure. O-rings are the small elastic bands that connect the brackets to the arch wires. And the arch wires connect the brackets and provide pressure that helps move the teeth.
All the components work together to exert tension on the teeth. Sometimes, orthodontists add springs or more elastics to help the braces work as a cohesive unit. Spacers may be inserted if your teeth need more room to move. The materials used in braces get stronger with body heat, making braces ironclad and safe.
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What is Bone Remodeling?
Your teeth are surrounded by your gums, also called gingiva. Each tooth is surrounded by a membrane called the periodontal ligament. The alveolar bone has tooth sockets where each of your teeth is situated.
Braces place pressure on your teeth, which causes them to shift in their sockets. The periodontal ligament stretches on one side and compresses on the other. It’s normal for your tooth to loosen somewhat in the socket. New bone tissue then comes in to fill the gap.
Your orthodontist will create a treatment plan that progressively straightens your teeth using this method. This involves regularly adjusting the arch wire and replacing the O-rings. It’s important to keep all your orthodontic appointments for optimal results.
Do Braces Hurt?
The amount of pressure that braces place on your teeth is fairly small, but it’s enough to cause the bone remodeling. Some discomfort is normal, especially during the first week after getting the braces or after they’re adjusted. However, the overall process is fairly painless. You may experience a dull ache, and ibuprofen can help relieve the discomfort.
As you wear the braces, your body produces osteoclasts that help fill in the bone. You won’t feel this process. This is a microscopic and natural event that results in stronger teeth. Eventually, you’ll become used to the braces as they bring your teeth into alignment.
How Quickly Do Braces Work?
Each patient is unique, but most can expect to wear braces for one to three years. It takes months just for the new tissue to come in, and the teeth are moved progressively as the orthodontist adjusts the braces.
It’s crucial to keep all of your appointments to stay on track. You should also take care of your braces to shorten your treatment time. This means cleaning them regularly and avoiding foods that can damage them. If you follow all your orthodontists’ recommendations, you can have a beautiful, straight smile right on schedule.
So Now You Know How Braces Move Teeth
If you have more questions about braces, feel free to ask your orthodontist. Everyone’s situation is unique, but your orthodontist will create a customized treatment plan for you. Understanding the process should help you understand how important it is to follow your orthodontist’s instructions. Straightening teeth takes time — your patience will be rewarded with beautiful results!