How Do Braces Work?

Posted | Blog, Braces, Orthodontic Facts
Woman inn a pink sweatshirt holding a dental mold, looking curious

Braces have been around for a while – some archeologists even found evidence braces began in ancient Egypt! – and they’re pretty common. People know they work, but few understand how they do what they’re meant to do. In this blog post, we’ll explain the process and science of how braces work.

How Do Braces Straighten My Teeth?

Braces straighten your teeth by constantly putting low levels of pressure on your teeth. This constant pressure slowly moves your teeth into the correct position, following the archwire, or the wire that threads around your mouth, through each bracket on your teeth.

If you’re interested in the science behind our answer, then you should know braces take advantage of a natural process called “bone remodeling.” That might sound a bit scary, but bone remodeling is how our bodies grow. In fact, you’ve done it on your own when you were a baby to replace nearly your entire skeletal structure before you were one year old! When you wear braces, you’re actually working to move the Periodontal Ligament (PDL), a bit of tissue that connects & protects your jaw from your teeth. The constant pressure braces apply causes the PDL to send signals to osteoclasts, which dissolves part of your jaw bone, and then osteoblasts will then come to rebuild your jaw once your teeth are in the correct position.

How Fast Do Braces Straighten Teeth?

While teeth steadily straighten on a daily basis, braces ensure that the movement is not too slow or too fast. Teeth that move too fast don’t allow your body time to rebuild the supporting tissue, which can lead to pain & discomfort. Teeth that move too slowly will also cause troubling issues. 

No matter which type of braces you get, it is a custom solution tailored to you. Your orthodontist will create a plan that works as quickly as is safe for your oral health needs.The average length of time is 18-24 months. Teeth that need extensive treatment may warrant braces for up to 36 months. Lastly, engaging in 2 phase treatment plans can alter and sometimes shorten this timeline.

Does It Hurt for Braces to Work?

Did you know your teeth are harder than steel? It’s true, and it’s also true that it takes a lot of work to get them to move because of it. You shouldn’t experience any sharp pain, but you may experience slight discomfort or soreness the first few days after getting your braces on or after a check up/adjustment. Similar to getting comfortable in new shoes, your mouth will take a few days to adjust to its new position. 

Braces have a long history, and a wide variety of application types today. They all use constant pressure to rearrange your teeth and take advantage of natural processes by which your body grows itself. If you have any questions about your specific oral health needs, please contact your orthodontist.

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