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How Do Braces Work

Want to Know How Braces Work? We'll Tell You

Braces are dental appliances that are applied to move teeth, so that they align properly and are in shape. If you are wondering about their working, then read on to find out.
Dhanya Joy
Last Updated: Feb 8, 2018
Dental braces, or braces for teeth, are orthodontic appliances or gadgets that align misaligned teeth and correct various other teething problems in adults, as well as children.
Everyone understands the value of straight, properly aligned teeth, and the impact that it has on the way a person talks, chews, smiles, and on his/her overall personality. At times, crooked misaligned teeth can cause great discomfort in chewing, and may also cause pain and wounds in the mouth. In severe cases, it may result in the distortion of the face, especially the jawline. Therefore, it becomes necessary to correct these teething problems as early as possible, and dental braces do just that. The process through which these teething problems are corrected making use of braces and retainers is known as orthodontic treatment.
Braces may be made of different materials like ceramic, metal, and plastic, and also come in different colors. They may also be removable or bonded to the teeth depending upon the intensity of the teething problem. Today, braces can also be attached to the inside of the teeth, for those who wish to hide them.
Basic Components of Dental Braces
Orthodontic braces are made up of four basic and important components. 

This is the most important component of braces that is attached to the teeth. It may be made of metal or ceramic. It is attached to every tooth while applying the dental braces.

Bonding Material
This is a kind of adhesive or glue that is used to attach the brackets to the teeth.
Arch Wire
This is a thin metal wire, running from one bracket to the other, applying pressure on each tooth.

Ligature Elastics
These are tiny, colored elastics that hold the brackets onto the arch wires. These are also known as 'o-rings' and need to be changed at frequent intervals. Some braces, known as self-ligating braces, do not require ligature elastics.

Putting together all these components, the braces work to align teeth and correct tooth bites and straighten crooked teeth.
How Do They Work?
Now that we know the basic components of dental braces, it will be easier to understand how they work on teeth. In simple words, braces work by applying a continuous pressure or force on the teeth. Let me elaborate. Braces need to stay on teeth for about 24 months, during which, they apply continuous force on the teeth which makes the teeth move. For this, teeth need to be temporarily loosened, so that the tissues surrounding the particular teeth are stretched into the loosened socket. Once the tooth starts moving into the loosened socket and falls in place eventually, the bone of the tooth will fill around it in the new position and solidify it in that position.
The Procedure
The procedure of applying braces usually begins with tooth extraction, if the dentist sees that your jaw is too small for the correct alignment of the teeth. The dentist then starts applying pressure on the teeth so that it is moved. The use of the arch wire is made for this purpose. The arch wire is of a high gauge and will try to return to its original shape. The brackets are glued to the teeth using the bonding material. 
The dentist then bends the arch wire in the desired shape and attaches it to the glued brackets on the teeth. Over time, the wire will try returning to its original shape, thus applying pressure on the teeth. This causes the tooth bone to break down in one area and rebuild in another area. The tooth then shifts into its new position and the bone than solidifies it there. 
After the braces have been worn for the prescribed duration and the teeth have aligned themselves correctly, a retainer needs to be worn to make sure that the teeth are firmly positioned in their new alignment and are not trying to realign themselves back to the previous position.
Now that you know how braces work, you can get one on, confidently. Make sure you take adequate care of dental braces and follow all the precautions required to obtain the desired results.
Types of braces