How Do Braces Move Teeth?

How Do Braces Move Teeth?

Getting braces can be an exciting yet nervous time. You may have had dreams of a perfect smile since you were young or have just decided now is the time to transform your teeth.

Either way, you probably have a lot of questions about the process. How do tiny pieces of metal actually shift teeth into place? Does it hurt? How long does it take?

At Pinsak and Sayania Orthodontics, we understand the anticipation and uncertainty that comes with correcting your teeth. We want to walk you through the ingenious technology of braces. Understanding the step-by-step process will help you feel more comfortable and confident as you begin your smile transformation with us.

Braces have come a long way, using precise, gentle pressure over time to align your teeth. When we break it down piece by piece, you'll see the magic behind that perfect smile taking shape.

What Are Braces, and What Types Are There?

You probably know what braces look like, but what are they exactly? Braces are small appliances bonded to your teeth with a special dental adhesive. Once installed, braces apply gentle pressure over time to correctly position teeth for an improved bite and straighter smile.

And it’s not just traditional braces that work – there are several types of braces to suit different needs and preferences:

Metal Braces: The most common and effective type, metal braces have a metal bracket bonded to each tooth and an archwire threaded between them. We will adjust the wire and tighten the bands as needed during treatment.

Ceramic Braces: More discreet braces with tooth-colored or clear ceramic brackets bonded to your teeth. They blend in more than metal braces but can stain if not properly cleaned. But if you want to have less of a metal look to your mouth, ceramic might be an option!

Lingual Braces: Braces fixed to the backs of your teeth so no metal shows. This makes them invisible but harder to clean and adjust. They work best for people who don't have severe orthodontic issues.

Invisalign: Clear plastic aligners that fit over both arches of your teeth like a mouthguard. You switch them out every 1-2 weeks during treatment. Less detectable but not as effective as braces for complex cases.

All of these move teeth using gentle pressure. We will determine which type works best for your teeth and comfort – and help you know what to expect once you begin treatment.

How Do Braces Shift Your Teeth?

Braces might seem like a mysterious technology, but their effect stems from basic biological processes. When you understand how your body responds to braces, you'll feel more confident and comfortable starting treatment.

The Periodontal Ligament Makes Tooth Movement Possible

You might surprised to learn that your teeth are not fused to your jawbone – rather, they are connected by elastic periodontal ligaments. This ligament attaches the root of each tooth to the bone like a little hammock or sling. The flexibility of this ligament makes it possible to safely shift your teeth as braces are applied.

Applying Light Pressure Sets Off Your Body's Response

When we first place braces, we connect all of the brackets with an archwire. This wire applies pressure against misaligned teeth, putting tension on the periodontal ligament. This tension triggers communication to your body that tooth movement is needed in that spot.

Bone Cells Break Down and Rebuild Gradually

In response to the ligament tension, your body painlessly breaks down bone cells in the direction pressure is being applied from the braces. This makes room for the teeth to shift into better alignment. New bone then starts forming behind the moving teeth to solidify them in the corrected position, slowly shifting the form of your jaw over time.

Additional Ligament Changes Help Teeth Settle Into Place

The tension on your periodontal ligament also causes the ligament fibers to stretch and rebuild around the moving tooth. This helps the tooth settle into its new spot – giving you that perfectly straight smile. This process can take anywhere from a few months to a couple of years, depending on the complexity of your case.

Small Adjustments Make All the Difference Over Time

We adjust the archwires and tension every few weeks to keep up a constant, light force. This gradual process allows time for bone cells to remodel and stabilize the teeth. Rushed movement could make teeth loosen permanently, which is why braces take 12-24 months to work safely.

When this biological process is allowed the time it needs, mature bone cells reformat and solidly hold the straightened teeth - giving you a confident, healthy smile that will last a lifetime! Our team carefully oversees each step.

Caring for Your Braces During Treatment

Now that you understand the biology behind how braces gently shift your teeth, you may be wondering what you can do to facilitate the process and make sure your treatment goes smoothly.

Proper at-home care of your braces is just as important as wearing them. With some simple steps, you can avoid excess discomfort, breakage, and complications.

Be Gentle (But Thorough) When Brushing – Brush after each meal with a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Gently brush each tooth surface, taking extra care around braces. Don’t forget to brush your gums carefully as well.

Thoroughly Clean Between Your Teeth – Floss threaders and interdental brushes are important for cleaning between your teeth and under the wires. Be patient, as this takes practice. Ask us for guidance on the proper technique.

Protect Your Lips and Cheeks – New braces may initially irritate your mouth. Oral wax and saltwater rinses can soothe discomfort until you adjust.

Avoid Sticky, Hard Foods – Sticky candy, ice, popcorn kernels, and hard foods like nuts could damage braces and wires. Stick to softer foods cut into bite-sized pieces.

See Us Regularly – It’s vital to come in as scheduled so we can monitor progress and make timely adjustments for efficiency. Don’t hesitate to call if something feels wrong between visits.

Stay Positive – It takes cooperation between us and patients for braces to work their magic. Stay optimistic about the improvements happening, and we’ll have you smiling confidently before you know it!

Frequently Asked Questions About Braces

Getting braces can understandably bring up many questions if you've never had orthodontic treatment before. Here are answers to some of our most commonly asked patient questions to help you feel informed and reassured.

How much do braces hurt?

Don’t fear – braces don’t hurt as much as you might fear! Most patients feel pressure and soreness 3-5 days after braces and each adjustment appointment. This is normal and resolves quickly. Over-the-counter pain medication can help ease discomfort.

How do I reduce irritation on my cheeks and lips?

Gently rinse with warm salt water and protect sore spots with orthodontic wax until your mouth toughens up in the first coupleof weeks. Avoid eating hard, chewy, or sticky foods that could further irritate.

Do braces make it hard to eat?

Eating with braces takes extra care and time at first. Stick to softer foods cut into bite-sized pieces. But with practice, you'll adjust quickly and enjoy all your favorite healthy foods throughout treatment.

Is flossing more difficult with braces?

It does take some patience initially when learning proper flossing techniques around braces. Floss threaders and interdental brushes make it much easier. Maintaining good oral hygiene is crucial, so ask us to walk you through the motions.

How often will I come in for adjustments?

You’ll need to be seen around every 4-6 weeks. We'll check your progress and make minor adjustments to wires, bands, brackets, or elastics to keep teeth moving correctly until ideal alignment is achieved.

Do braces work for overbites, underbites, or other issues?

Yes, braces have revolutionized all kinds of bite issues and misalignments with safe biological tooth movement. Custom treatment plans address your unique smile goals.

Get Started on Your Journey to a Confident Smile

We hope this breakdown has shed some light on the brilliant process of braces and made you feel more informed and excited to begin your smile transformation!

Our orthodontists at Pinsak and Sayania Orthodontics take pride in crafting personalized treatment plans catered to your unique teeth and lifestyle needs. We'll be here every step of the way, from the initial consultation to the final bracket removal, to ensure you feel comfortable, informed, and happy with your progress.

If you live in the Monroe, North Carolina, area and have considered realigning your teeth with braces, now is the time to schedule a consultation! Call Pinsak and Sayania Orthodontics at 704-289-9473 or request an appointment online to discuss your options.

Our friendly, knowledgeable staff looks forward to welcoming you in and answering all your questions about braces or other enhancing services!