What Are Orthodontic Braces?

Braces are a type of dental tool that helps correct problems with your teeth and bite. They can correct crooked teeth and misaligned jaws, and they may help adjust your smile to improve the way you look.

Orthodontics is a specialty in dentistry that focuses on straightening teeth and improving bites and facial profiles. Orthodontists are dentists who have completed extra training to be able to diagnose and treat a wide range of orthodontic problems.

Most people get their first orthodontic treatment when they are still children or adolescents, although adults can get braces too. Your dentist will be able to decide if braces are right for you and will take impressions of your teeth or photos so they can create an individualised treatment plan for you.

The Braces used to correct crooked teeth and misaligned bites are made up of different parts, including wires, brackets and elastics. The wires move the teeth, while the elastics help with bite correction.

Wires: The main component of the braces is the archwire, which is threaded through the brackets on the front of each tooth. It applies pressure to move the teeth and can also change the shape of the bone around them.

Brackets: The brackets are small square pieces of stainless steel, ceramic or plastic that are bonded to the front of each tooth. They hold the wire in place, but can be removed to access the teeth.

Elastics: Sometimes the archwire alone can’t move the teeth quickly enough, so elastics are added. These bands can be attached to the top and lower brackets. They apply the correct amount of pressure to move the teeth and reduce treatment time.

Self-ligating: A self-ligating bracket is one that has a clip that keeps the wire in place. It allows more efficient and predictable movement of the teeth, fewer wire changes, fewer visits to the dentist and a more comfortable experience for the patient.

Clear or tooth-colored: Today’s braces are much less noticeable and can be made out of a variety of materials, such as clear or tooth-colored ceramic or metals. They are often a popular choice for patients who don’t want to have the traditional metal look or for those with cosmetic concerns.

Fixed: Most fixed braces are made with the same components, but they are fixed to the teeth instead of removable like some types of clear aligners. They are usually worn for a set period, which can vary from one to three years.

During this time, the teeth and mouth will move gradually to the new position. The soft tissue that surrounds the teeth, known as periodontal ligaments, will stretch and compress to accommodate the change.

Overcrowding: If there isn’t enough space for the teeth to fit side by side, they can become impacted or become misaligned, which can lead to infections and damage to the teeth.

The orthodontist can correct overcrowding by moving teeth back, forward or across to make more room for the teeth to fit side by side.

Posted on