If you are unhappy with crooked teeth, braces are a proven technique for straightening them. They can handle any tooth-straightening challenge, even physiologic orthodontics, and they give excellent, predictable results. Even though they are the oldest orthodontic technology, they are in many ways the best. Braces have very few complications, and continued innovation makes them better every year, making them faster, more comfortable, and more subtle than ever.
How Braces Work
Like other orthodontic treatments, braces utilize your body’s natural processes to move your teeth. Your body is constantly trying to optimize your bones in response to the physical demands of muscles and gravity, responding to pressure by remodeling bones. The key to moving your teeth is applying pressure that encourages your body to reshape the bones around them, allowing your teeth to move into their desired position.
Braces do this utilizing three components. First, there is the arch wire, a thin but strong wire that has a material memory that drives it to return to its original shape if it’s bent. This provides the force to move your teeth. Then there’s the brackets. The brackets are anchored to your teeth so that they can be moved. Finally, in most cases, ligatures are used to fasten the brackets to the arch wire. These elastic bands (like small rubber bands) not only convey force, but they can be used as a “shock absorber” to control how tightly the tooth is bound to the arch wire and how much force is passed on to the tooth. Self-ligating braces can also be used, which do not require ligatures.
Why Braces Might Be Your Best Orthodontic Option
Although there are many new orthodontic technologies, and we use some of them in our office, we have to admit that nothing has completely replaced them as an orthodontic treatment because, compared to other orthodontic treatments, braces have more:
The braces process is fairly simple, yet powerful. The arch wire and brackets give us the strength to move any of your teeth, but the combination of the arch wire, ligatures, and brackets allows us to control how that power is applied to your teeth so that it’s never too much but always just enough to get the job done. With power comes speed, as we can move your teeth faster with braces than with other orthodontic treatments, though we’re still limited by the speed at which your body can reshape bone.
Braces also give us flexibility to apply force to your teeth in any way we want. If your tooth is tipped, sunk down, rotated, or sticks up, they can apply the right force to get your tooth into the proper position. The combination of flexibility and control mean precise tooth placement. We can get your teeth into the exact position we desire. We know this because orthodontics have been studied for more than a century. We know how your teeth will respond to treatment with braces.
Not Your Parent’s Braces
Another thing that’s important to understand is that they have continued to change with the times. They are really as up-to-date a treatment as any orthodontic option.
Braces have a subtler appearance than ever, with white arch wires and clear or tooth-colored brackets, they can be almost as hard to notice as Invisalign.
There are also more different approaches to using braces. For example, Six Month Smiles focuses treatment on just the cosmetic portion of your smile, allowing treatment to be done faster. To learn more about orthodontics and some of the terms used, visit our orthodontics glossary.
Finally, they benefit from computer modeling and planning, which translates our sophisticated understanding into the optimal treatment plan for you.