Braces: How Do They Work?

Dental braces are a device used in orthodontics to align teeth and correct malocclusions such as underbites, overbites, cross bite and open bites, deep bites, or crooked teeth and various other flaws of teeth and jaws, whether cosmetic or structural. Braces will straighten the teeth or move them into a healthier position, improve their appearance and the way in which the teeth bite together. In some patients, the upper front teeth can protrude, looking unsightly and causing discomfort. When the teeth do not meet correctly, strain is put on the muscles of the jaw, causing jaw and joint problems and in many cases headaches. In addition to the cosmetic advantages of dental braces, orthodontic treatment will also help you to bite more evenly and reduce strain.

Types of Braces:

Modern orthodontists can offer many types and varieties of braces. Traditional braces are stainless steel, sometimes in combination with nickel titanium. These include conventional braces, which require ties to hold the archwire in place, and newer self-tying brackets. “Clear” braces, gold-plated, Lingual (braces fitted behind the teeth), as well as newer removable aligners and Smart Brackets, which contain microchip capable of measuring force, are also available. The cost of braces varies. For example, ceramic braces and other invisible braces may cost more than metal dental braces.

How Braces Work:

In simple words, braces work by applying a continuous pressure or force on the teeth. The braces need to remain on teeth for up to 24 months. During which time they apply continuous force on the teeth, causing the teeth to move and straighten. For this, teeth must be temporarily loosened, allowing the tissues surrounding the particular teeth to stretch into the loosened socket. Once the tooth starts moving into the loosened socket and falls in place, the bone will fill in around the tooth and solidify it in that position.
The procedure of applying braces usually begins with tooth extraction if the dentist finds the patient’s jaw is too small for the correct alignment of the teeth. The dentist then applies pressure on the teeth so that it can be moved. Archwire is produced for this purpose. The brackets are glued to the teeth using the selected bonding material. The dentist will then bend the archwire in the desired shape and attaches it to the glued brackets on the teeth. Over time, the wire will attempt to return to its original shape, thus applying pressure on the teeth. This pressure causes the tooth bone to break down in one area and rebuild in another area. The teeth then shifts into its new position, and the bone solidify it in place. After the braces have been worn for the prescribed duration, and the teeth have aligned correctly, the braces can be removed and replaced with a retainer, which must be worn to assure that the teeth are firmly positioned in their new alignment and are not trying to realign themselves back to the previous position.
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