How Braces Work

Orthodontic braces are a dental device used to straighten teeth. Braces are used by Orthodontists to correct teeth irregularities including: crooked teeth, overbites, underbites and various other issues. Traditional braces are composed of five basic pieces of equipment.

• Brackets – These are the metal pieces of the device that attach to the front of each tooth
• Bonding – This is the adhesive that holds the bracket to each tooth
• Arch Wire – This is the thin wire, or band, that is placed over the bracket on each tooth
• O-Rings – These attach to the brackets and assist with the tightening of the braces
• Elastics – These are used to create additional tension on the teeth and jaw in addition to the pressure applied by the braces.

When applying braces in San Antonio orthodontists tighten the arch wire around the brackets creating pressure that moves the teeth from their original position into the desired position. Over time the pressure on the teeth forces the membrane inside the gum to expand resulting in a loosening of the tooth. As the teeth straighten, they become more rigid as a result of the growth of the bone around the membrane. The orthodontist progressively uses the arch wire, brackets and o-rings, often in concert with elastics such as rubberbands, to guide the teeth into their new positions. In this way, gaps are closed, teeth are realigned and a more pleasing and healthy dental configuration is created. Adjustments are made, usually every month over the course of one to three years. The amount of time a person wears braces in San Antonio is different in each circumstance, depending upon the original condition of the teeth.

Once the teeth have moved to their new position and the braces are removed they must be held in place with the use of a retainer. The retainer is a wire mouth piece that fits around the teeth and supports them while the bones become strong enough to hold the teeth on their own. Not wearing the retainer will allow the teeth to move back into their previous position. The retainer usually only needs to be worn for about half as much time as the original braces were worn.

Aside from the traditional metal braces there are different kinds of braces. Clear braces do the same thing as regular braces but serve a cosmetic purpose as well. They are popular with adults and others that prefer to maintain a non-brace appearance, such as actors or television personalities. Made of ceramic or other similar materials, the brackets, elastic and metal wiring are clear, or white, so as to be less visible. Lingual braces also work in the same way as traditional braces; however, the brackets attach to the back of the teeth and are not visible at all to observers.

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