How Do Braces Work?

Before committing to orthodontic treatment, your patients might ask, “how do braces work?” In this article, we explain in-depth and in patient-friendly language how braces help move teeth:

Even though starting orthodontic treatment might be one of the best decisions for your oral health, lifestyle, and confidence, the idea of tooth movement is a somewhat odd concept. Here, we break down how orthodontic treatment works and your treatment options.

Your Teeth and Jaws: An Anatomy Lesson

Did you know that your upper and lower teeth rest in your jawbones? Your upper teeth sit in your maxilla (upper jaw), while your lower teeth sit in your mandible (lower jaw). Although your teeth seem stable and securely in place, you might be surprised to discover that your teeth aren’t directly connected to your maxilla and mandible.

Instead, a set of connective tissue fibers (called the periodontal ligament or “PDL” for short) attach to the alveolar bone (the thick ridge of bone that contains the tooth sockets).

How Your Anatomy Reacts to Braces

Braces work by exerting constant pressure on your teeth slowly. When you wear braces, the periodontal ligaments stretch on one side and compress on the opposite side, gently loosening the tooth. Then, the new bone grows to support the tooth in its new position in a process known as bone remodeling.

Bone remodeling is a biomechanical process. Similar to how your muscles become stronger the more you work them, your bones and teeth respond to load-bearing activities. So, orthodontic pressure is key to moving teeth in a specific direction and eventually into the desired position.

Bone tissue is composed of cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts:

  • Osteoclasts are created when you apply pressure on your teeth and break down in response to more pressure.
  • Osteoblasts are created when you remove the pressure, rebuilding new bone cells.

This cycle repeats throughout your orthodontic treatment through the repetitive motion of gently adjusting your braces or clear aligners. Thus, steadily increasing your dental bone density over your treatment time. Your dentist or orthodontist can realign teeth into their desired position by exerting constant pressure.

Post-Braces Care: Why Retainers are Important

Once your dentist or orthodontist removes the constant pressure, your bones will drift back to their pretreatment position. So, this is why most dentists and orthodontists’ instructions include wearing a retainer after wearing braces. Properly wearing retainers ensures that teeth don’t shift or crowd because of lack of space. Thus, preventing treatment reversal.

Problems that Braces Can Address

Orthodontic treatments, like braces or clear aligners, are an excellent option for people who decide it’s finally time to straighten their teeth. Most orthodontists and dentists can treat the following dental issues to help you achieve a perfect smile:

  • Twisted teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Irregularly spaced teeth
  • Bite issues (such as overbite, crossbite, underbite, and open bite)
  • Jaw problems (like TMJ disorder)

The Different Types of Braces and How They Work

Very few people are born with perfect teeth, and over 4 million people in the United States turn to braces to straighten their smiles. If you’re considering starting an orthodontic treatment plan, it helps to understand your options. Here are the most popular orthodontic devices that can move your teeth:

Traditional Metal Braces

Metal or traditional braces are the most common type of braces used worldwide and have a reputation for being bulky, noticeable, and (at times) uncomfortable. This style of braces works by applying brackets to the teeth and connecting them with a metal wire.

Furthermore, your orthodontist fastens the wire with elastic bands, which come in various colors. Your orthodontist must adjust your wire every 4 to 8 weeks to move your teeth.

Lingual Braces

Unlike other braces on the market, lingual braces are probably the rarest. Orthodontists place this type of dental braces behind the teeth, making them less noticeable.

Although lingual braces offer many benefits, some patients experience slight speech changes (for example, a lisp) and tongue irritation.

Ceramic Braces

Sometimes called clear braces, ceramic braces are constructed from tooth-colored ceramic material. Even though they work similarly to traditional braces, they are slightly more discreet because of their color.

However, this style of braces is not for everyone. Ceramic braces are slightly larger than traditional metal braces. Although the ceramic brackets themselves do not easily stain, the rubber bands used to hold them to the arch wire can.

Clear Aligners

The most distinctive style of braces is clear aligners, like Orthosnap. Unlike other treatment that requires brackets, arch wires, and elastic bands, clear aligners move teeth with prescribed, clear biocompatible trays.

As the popularity of clear aligners skyrockets, so does the sophistication in clear aligner treatment technology. Consequently, Orthosnap clear aligners have been able to treat a wide range of malocclusion (bad bite) and misalignment. As well as serving as a “touch up” solution for those that have already experienced orthodontic treatment.

Traditional Braces vs. Clear Aligners: A Side-By-Side Comparison

Many patients wonder if they should choose traditional braces or clear aligners. Both orthodontic therapies are proven treatments that can address a bad bite, crooked teeth, or other misalignment problems.

Although most orthodontists have offered metal braces to successfully straighten teeth for decades, wearing braces has its disadvantages. Compared to patients who wear clear aligners, patients who wear braces generally have worse oral health and might experience significantly more plaque, bleeding on probing, and worse probing pocket depths.

Alternatively, Orthosnap clear aligners can help you achieve a healthy smile. Because they are removable, it’s a lot easier to maintain oral hygiene through daily flossing and brushing. Therefore, you have an improved chance of avoiding tooth decay and gum disease with proper care.

Aside from preventing potential health conditions, clear aligners are also more aesthetically pleasing. Because they are made of transparent material, you won’t have to worry about anyone seeing those unsightly arch wires and rubber bands. Also, clear aligners are smoother to the touch, so they might be more comfortable compared to wearing braces.

Ready to implement effective orthodontic treatment? Straighten teeth with Orthosnap.

While many orthodontic treatments are on the market, Orthosnap is a clear aligner system designed with you and your patients in mind. As part of our patented process, we effectively fit our aligners to match your patient’s current alignment so that we can guide teeth where they should be. 

As our patented technology facilitates better outcomes in a shorter time, you can anticipate better revenue. We offer a system that delivers better, faster results at the price-point of direct-to-consumer competitors for our providers. Find out how you can become an Orthosnap provider by visiting us online.