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How Braces Work

How Braces Work

In this modern age, it’s easier than ever to have the smile you desire. If you have crooked teeth or teeth that just don’t seem to line up correctly, then call a SmileCare orthodontist today at 1-800-32-SMILE.

One of the first questions many patients ask is, “How do braces work?” The answer is simple. Braces work by applying gentle pressure on the teeth to slowly move them into the proper position over a period of time.

Braces are made up of these common elements:

  • Brackets: these are the small squares that the orthodontist will attach to the front of each tooth.
  • Arch wires: the orthodontist threads one wire through the brackets on the top teeth (called the top arch) and one through the brackets on the bottom teeth (called the bottom arch). The shape of the wire applies the gentle pressure to the teeth to guide their movement.
  • Orthodontic bands: these are wrapped around some or all of the molars to provide an anchor for the brackets. In some cases, the orthodontist may place spacers in-between teeth first to create room for the bands.
  • Ties: these small rubber rings fasten the arch wire to the brackets. Many of our patients like to choose their favorite color, but they can also be clear.
  • Buccal tubes: these are placed on the band of the last tooth to hold the end of the arch wire in place. Buccal means “cheekside,” so you wouldn’t want the wire rubbing against the cheek without this protection.

In addition to these common elements, the orthodontist has other tools at his or her disposal to help braces work their best. For example, you may know somebody use needed headgear to move the upper molars in the back of the mouth. Other friends or classmates may have needed springs placed on the arch wires between brackets to open or close the spaces between teeth. The orthodontist can also use elastics or rubber bands that attach to hooks on the brackets in order to move the teeth and jaw into proper alignment.

The goal is to ensure the braces do their job and move the teeth where they need to be to give you a gorgeous smile.

How Braces Work: Watch These Videos

Anyone who has misaligned teeth or jaw problems should see an orthodontist to learn about treatment options. Some problems are evident in young children. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that children see an orthodontist at age 7.

Common Problems: 7-Year-Olds

Common Problems: Teens and Adults

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