Braces Work; the evidence is undeniable. Braces are an essential element of modern dental care. Not only do braces improve the appearance of a smile, but they also help to idealize the bite, resulting in healthy chewing and functioning. Straight teeth may also help to prevent cavities by making brushing and flossing more effective.
If you have been considering orthodontic treatment but still have questions regarding how the procedure works, then this post is for you.
Before addressing how orthodontics works, we must first address what orthodontic treatment can accomplish. Orthodontics can help in:
- Closing wide gaps between the teeth
- Make sure the edges and tips of the teeth are aligned
- Straightening crooked teeth
- Improving speech or eating (oral function)
- Improving the long-term health of gums and teeth
- Preventing long-term, excessive wear or trauma of the teeth
- Treating an improper bite
Clearly, there are quite a few benefits to gain by pursuing a healthy smile through orthodontics. Once your teeth are in their proper positions, you will be able to better talk, eat, smile, and maintain good oral health. But how does orthodontics work?
Understanding the Basics of Braces Work
Standard braces have four basic components: brackets, bands, archwires, and ties (also called the “o-ring”). Brackets are affixed directly to the tooth via a bonding material (such as glue) or a metal band. The shape and size of the tooth determine which sort of bond (bracket or band) is used.
Next, thin archwires run from bracket to bracket, creating a system capable of exerting pressure on the teeth. Sometimes springs or other components are placed on the archwires in order to push, pull, or otherwise create pressure between teeth.
Once the wires have been run through the brackets, they are held in place via small circular elastics (the familiar braces “colors”). The teeth move when external pressure is exerted on them through this system.
Braces Affect What Lies Beneath
When braces exert pressure on the teeth, it is not just the teeth that are affected. The teeth are able to maintain a changed position because of a process called bone remodeling.
As braces put pressure on teeth, the periodontal membrane under the gums shifts as well, either stretching or contracting. Through this system, the teeth are slightly loosened. Once the teeth are in their proper position, the bone can then rebuild and remodel around the tooth to support its new position. This procedure takes place many times through the orthodontic process until your teeth have reached their target locations.
The Other Appliances Used Instead of Traditional Dental Braces
While braces might be the most well-known orthodontic appliance out there, they’re certainly not the only one.
Orthodontists rely on several appliances to provide patients with non-surgical treatments for their dental alignment concerns. Let’s review some significant changes made to braces and other appliances altogether.
Ceramic Clear Braces
Back in the 1980s, someone saw rockets and asked: why don’t we use THAT on our teeth?
Ok, so maybe it wasn’t exactly like that, but we’re not that far off from what actually happened. The space exploration program led to various technological breakthroughs, and one such case was the manufacture of ceramic composites.
This alternative for your traditional metal braces leverages advancements in materials science. Companies used translucent polycrystalline alumina as the base for a resistant and transparent material to manufacture brackets.
This option quickly gained popularity as a discreet option for teenagers and adults all over the nation and later, the world.
Indeed, the changes imply there are additional considerations. For instance, the material is not as resilient as stainless steel, so you’ll have to be more careful with what you eat to avoid damaging your clear braces.
Make sure to ask your orthodontist about any questions you have so you can safely use and enjoy your braces as you get a beautiful and healthy smile.
Invisalign Clear Aligners
Some people refer to Invisalign as clear braces, though that’s not strictly true. Orthodontic aligners are fundamentally different from braces.
Unlike conventional metal braces, aligners are removable trays anyone can choose to take off and put on whenever they want. Likewise, the principle behind the action of clear aligners changes as well.
While braces can perform simultaneous movements and push or pull your teeth into the desired position, aligners can only push teeth.
Still, aligner trays can treat several orthodontic problems just as braces would; you just have to make sure that you can use aligners for your case with an orthodontist.
As we mentioned, Invisalign clear aligners can work as a substitute for even the best orthodontic braces Roanoke patients require. One of the reasons why people choose this alternative is that Invisalign aligners are almost invisible.
According to the official Invisalign FAQ, these aligners use a non-BPA clear material approved by the FDA, so you can get all the benefits from your orthodontic treatment without raising any eyebrows.
Sometimes, a person’s needs require additional appliances to ensure the total success of orthodontic treatment. Other appliances used in orthodontic treatment may include the following:
- Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs): mini-screws used temporarily to apply extra pressure to teeth.
- Rubber Bands (also called Elastics): used to apply force to teeth, helping to improve the fit or bite of the teeth.
- Additional appliances such as HERBSTs and palatal expanders (or RPEs) may help facilitate jaw growth, treat a crossbite, or improve the fit of the upper and lower teeth.
After You Remove Your Roanoke Braces
After your orthodontist removes your braces, you will have to complete one more stage. Because everything in nature tends toward disorder, the teeth often desire to return to their previous state.
To that end, our Roanoke Orthodontists at Lampros & Reopelle Orthodontics always fit their patients with retainers after they remove the patient’s braces. Some retainers are removable, and others are fixed, but all help protect your investment and keep your smile in top shape.
Although pursuing a healthier smile through orthodontic treatment may seem daunting at first, the truth is that nothing could be simpler. Your investment in time and effort will be well worth it in the end.
If you have questions or comments about Braces Work or orthodontic treatment, or any of our other services, please do not hesitate to contact us at (540) 306-5291. Lampros & Reopelle Orthodontics looks forward to helping you achieve your best smile.