Braces… my how you’ve come a long way

They say the most beautiful eyes are those that see the beauty in others. With a straight, healthy, aligned smile… beauty is all they will see. When you have a healthy, straight, optimal smile, you aren’t afraid to show it off. You look better, you feel better and you are perceived better by the world. Thanks braces. Straightening your teeth has obvious benefits in terms of aesthetics and cosmetic upgrades. What most people don’t know is a crooked smile can lead to an unhealthy mouth and unhealthy body. Our entire bodies are connected and when teeth are crooked it can lead to gum disease, decay, tooth loss and other issues. These can all come together to takes a toll on your overall health. A healthy set of teeth can improve your breathing, your sleeping and the overall quality of your life. Braces will improve your bite. A bad bite (technically called a malocclusion) puts extreme pressure on your teeth, causing chips, cracks and breaks. We are going to break down how do braces work and give you the information you need to feel secure and empowered if you’re thinking of delving into the world of braces.

What are the parts that make up braces?

Don’t be fooled by the tiny size of braces. They may be small but they are made up of a lot of parts, all designed to straighten and improve your smile. Here’s a brief overview of the specific parts of braces and how they all connect to guide your teeth into their ideal position. BRACKETS: These are the tiny ceramic or metal links that are glued onto each of your teeth. ARCH WIRE: This long, thin piece of wire is attached to orthodontic bands and applied around the dental arch to control and force tooth movement. BONDING MATERIAL: This is in essence, the mouth-friendly glue linking your individual teeth to each bracket. LIGATURE ELASTIC: Also referred to as an O-ring, these are the most well-known parts of braces. They are also the parts where you can choose their color. Their primary job is to help connect the arch wire and the bracket. They are a main player and do a lot of heavy lifting when it comes to straightening your teeth. As a result, they are typically tightened and switched out each time you visit our office. SPACERS: As the name suggests, these are essentially the “spacebar” button for your teeth — and occasionally they can take a bit of getting used to. Spacers go in between your individual teeth, allowing for the bands to be fit comfortably through. ORTHODONTIC BANDS: UNLIKE LIGATURE ELASTICS, these elastic bands don’t go on each individual tooth. Their job is to connect the arch wire to the brackets. If your teeth don’t require a lot of straightening, chances are you’ll never have to use them. In a nutshell, these are the basics of braces. There are a few additionally complicated components (that don’t apply to everyone) but these are the most common parts of braces.

How do braces work?

By slowly encouraging your teeth to move into their correct position, braces work by continually putting pressure on your teeth. The arch wire predominantly puts most of the pressure on your teeth, while other parts (like the brackets) work to hold it in place. Your teeth are being supported and cushioned by the tissue of your gums, also known as your gingiva. Beneath your gums, you’ll find a Periodontal Membrane, which protects the lower half of your teeth. The two “prong-like” portions of your teeth are fittingly called the Alveolar Bones. While braces gently encourage your actual teeth to move, they additionally put pressure on the Periodontal Membrane. One side of this membrane will stretch out, creating space for the teeth to move. The bars and bands then push it from the other side, establishing enough space for the teeth to safely shift.

Bone remodeling: An important part of “how do braces work?”

Bone Remodeling might sound a bit drastic and intimidating, but that’s exactly what braces do! They remodel your bone. And that’s a good thing because in the end, it actually strengthens your teeth. You get stronger each and every time you pump iron. The same principals are in effect with your teeth. Every time your teeth have to withstand the pressure being applied to them, they continue to get stronger. Ultimately, this pressure helps to create new types of cells, helping you with improved and better bone density. Most of this remodeling process is done by the arch wire itself — but the science behind it is intriguing. Working with wire you might know it can sometimes be tough to bend it in the way you want. Wire wants to keep straight, even in the mouth. Here’s the interesting science. The heat inside of your mouth, which is typically around 98 degrees, forces that wire to bend into the curved shape of your set of teeth. But it will still want to straighten. This back and forth creates pressure that ultimately moves your teeth into their new, accurate and healthy position.

Now you know how braces work

Now that you have a clearer picture of what’s involved and you understand how braces work, together we can create a plan designed for your specific needs. Regardless of where you are in your smile journey, we want to help. We make it a focus to personalise attention and design a protocol just for you. Our friendly Supreme Dental Cranbourne dentists will answer your questions and concerns about teeth straightening and advise you on the various treatment options available. Contact us today at (03) 5995 3819.

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