Dental braces fix crooked teeth by creating a mild pressure that gradually directs them into the desired position. Braces of some sort have been around for thousands of years, but today’s choices are far more comfortable, effective, and aesthetically pleasing than ever before.
With modern dental braces, small metal or ceramic brackets are bonded to the individual teeth and connected with thin metal “archwires.” These are held to the brackets with elastic “O-rings” (rubber bands)—and you can personalize your braces by picking whatever color combination you want for your elastics! Metal bands anchor the archwires to the back teeth. These are the basics, though individual treatments may involve additional components.
How Dental Braces Work
Braces work by applying pressure to the teeth by means of the archwires. What’s happening is that the bone is actually being remodeled. Gradual tightening of the wires by the orthodontist loosens the teeth slightly and, over time, nudges them into proper position. New bone tissue grows and stabilizes while you’re wearing your braces. That’s why the process takes as long as it does—the new bone must be given time to develop.
When your dental braces are removed (usually after one to three years), you’ll be fitted with a removable retainer. Wearing this will retainer properly will ensure that your teeth maintain their new position as your mouth adjusts to the changes.