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How Do Metal Orthodontic Braces Work?

Ann Arbor Mi Orthodontist

Metal dental braces have been the cornerstone of effective orthodontic treatment for decades, and for good reason. They are durable, efficient, and capable of addressing a wide range of dental issues. But how exactly do dental braces work to transform a crooked smile into one that’s straight and beautiful? Our Ann Arbor, MI orthodontist offers a comprehensive look into the mechanics behind metal braces.

The Basics of Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces consist of three main components: brackets, archwires, and ligatures (elastic bands). Each of these parts plays a crucial role in the process of straightening teeth.

  • Brackets: These small, square-shaped pieces are bonded directly to the front of each tooth using a special dental adhesive. Brackets are typically made from high-grade stainless steel and serve as the anchor points for the braces system. They are designed with slots to hold the archwires in place.
  • Archwires: The archwire is a thin metal wire that connects all the brackets and guides the movement of the teeth. The wire is threaded through the slots in the brackets and is periodically adjusted by our orthodontist to apply the appropriate pressure needed to move the teeth into their desired positions.
  • Ligatures (Elastic Bands): Ligatures are small rubber bands that hold the archwire in place within the bracket slots. They come in a wide range of colors, allowing patients to customize their braces. Ligatures are typically replaced during each orthodontic visit as part of the adjustment process.

The Mechanism of Tooth Movement

The key to how metal braces work lies in the consistent, gentle pressure applied by the archwire. Here’s a step-by-step breakdown of the process:

  • Initial Placement: When braces are first applied, the brackets are bonded to each tooth, and the archwire is threaded through the brackets and secured with ligatures. At this stage, the archwire is relatively flexible to accommodate the initial alignment of the teeth.
  • Gentle Pressure: The archwire exerts a continuous, gentle force on the teeth, encouraging them to move. This pressure stimulates the bone around the teeth to remodel. Bone remodeling involves the breakdown of bone tissue on one side of the tooth and the formation of new bone on the other, allowing the teeth to shift into their new positions.
  • Periodic Adjustments: Over the course of treatment, typically every 4-6 weeks, our orthodontist will adjust the archwire or replace it with a new one of varying thickness and shape. These adjustments are critical for maintaining the appropriate pressure and guiding the teeth through each stage of movement.
  • Elastics and Other Appliances: In some cases, additional appliances such as elastics (rubber bands) are used to correct bite issues. Elastics are attached to hooks on the brackets and work by applying extra force to specific teeth or groups of teeth to achieve the desired bite alignment.

The Duration of Treatment

The length of time a patient will need to wear traditional metal braces varies depending on the complexity of the case. On average, treatment lasts between 18 to 24 months. During this period, regular visits to our Ann Arbor orthodontist are essential to monitor progress and make necessary adjustments.

The End Result

Once the teeth have moved into their final positions, the orthodontic braces are removed, and a retainer is typically prescribed to maintain the results. Retainers are crucial because they help prevent the teeth from shifting back to their original positions.

Consider Metal Braces for Your Smile

Metal orthodontic braces work through a precise and controlled application of pressure over time, gradually moving teeth into their ideal alignment. This process not only improves the appearance of the smile but also enhances overall oral health by correcting bite issues and making it easier to maintain proper dental hygiene.

At Enhance Orthodontics, Dr. Bedi and her team are dedicated to providing top-notch orthodontic care using the latest techniques and technologies. If you’re considering braces for yourself or a loved one, a consultation with Dr. Bedi is the first step towards achieving a healthy, beautiful smile.

Book an Orthodontic Consultation

Dr. Jashleen Bedi is your trusted orthodontist in Ann Arbor, MI. To book a consultation and explore your treatment options, please call Enhance Orthodontics at (734) 821-7684. You may also request an appointment online and a member of our team will reach out to you soon.