As you probably know, dental braces are used to re-adjust crowded or crooked teeth or even misaligned jaws. Patients tend to be teenagers but with the spread of both awareness and advanced treatment options, more and more adults are opting for braces. There are many types of braces and it’s a good idea to discuss your options with your dentist or orthodontist.
For now, read on to know exactly how braces move your teeth in order to correct them – and the different parts that make up a brace.
We tend to think of our teeth being connected directly to our jawline. So picturing them shifting around in your mouth probably makes you cringe. It’s true that braces move teeth by constantly putting pressure on them for a long period of time, which makes your jaw gradually adjust its shape in reaction to this pressure.
But before you decide you’re never getting braces, no matter what, hang on – it’s not as bad as it sounds. Below your gums lies a membrane that is surrounded by your bones. This membrane is what connects your teeth to your jaw, controlling the position of your teeth and acting as a buffer to the pressure exerted on them by braces.
The process of braces actually being implemented doesn’t hurt – which is a good thing because it’ll take about one or two hours. You’ll probably experience soreness during the first week but that’s about it.
Braces are made up of several different parts that all have individual functions to perform.
Brackets can be ceramic, plastic or steel and they’re glued to your teeth to even the pressure of the braces. Every bracked is connected and surrounded by wires (usually made of stainless steel, copper titanium or nickel titanium).
These are also called O-rings or ligatures. They’re elastic and placed around your brackets (once they’ve been fixed to your teeth). Their job is to support the braces by adding more pressure.
These rubber bands (which are also made in the form of metal rings) are usually placed between molars to add more space at the back of your mouth, pushing your jaw forward in order to do so. Usually, they’re only used on people who need braces at the back of their mouth and don’t have enough room. Even then, they don’t tend to be in place for longer than a week or two.
Like brackets, archwires are made of stainless steel, copper titanium or nickel titanium. Their job is to connect the brackets and they are essentially the main source of pressure that helps your teeth get into place.
Buccal tubes help your orthodontist tighten or release different parts of your braces – they are made of metal and are attached to a molar, anchoring other parts of the braces together at the back of the mouth.
Coil springs are used sometimes to apply pressure between two teeth that are growing too close together in order to create more space between them. They’re found on the archwire.
You probably won’t need this and if you do, you’ll only have to wear it at night. A facebow headgear is basically a band that is attached to your braces to add extra pressure on the teeth. It’s only used in cases where special correction is required.
As always, never jump into a decision without talking to your dentist or orthodontist.