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How Do Braces Work?


For those with crooked teeth or a mismanaged bite, there are many ways to treat teeth and help achieve a straightened look. At Dougherty Orthodontics, we offer several orthodontic solutions for treating these problems, including dental braces. These dental appliances are very effective in helping to straighten and align your teeth, thus restoring the perfect oral structure. However, before you get the braces, it is important to understand exactly how they work to offer you the desired results.

A smiling teen girl with braces in Sherman Oaks, CA.

Parts of Dental Braces


•  Brackets and orthodontic bands. These are square-like structures that are bonded on the front of each tooth and are attached by a unique binding material. They act like handles for the wires which are responsible for the corrective movements of the teeth. The bands will wrap around teeth like molars and act like an anchor for the brackets.
•  Archwire. This is a wire that is attached to the brackets and conducts the movement of the teeth. In most cases, these wires are made of metal and work by pulling the teeth in the correct direction, making them straight. In some instances, a spring may be put on the wires to push, pull, open, or close the spaces in between the teeth.
•  Spacers, ligatures, and elastics. Spacers are fitted in between your teeth and create space which will be fitted with the orthodontic bands. Ligatures are rings which hold the archwire to the bracket. Elastics are the bands that are used to connect the upper and lower jaws and often correct your bite.

How Do Braces Straighten Your Teeth?


Dental braces work through pressure and movement. The archwire applies gentle pressure on the brackets and your teeth. The bands direct the teeth in a specific path, and this pressure helps to move your teeth in their corrective direction. There is a membrane under your gums, which holds your tooth to its root. Applying pressure to this membrane causes it to stretch on one side and compress in the opposite side, and these two simultaneous actions cause your tooth to change position.

After The Dental Braces


Once the braces shift your teeth to the desired position, you can then remove them. However, since your jawbone and gums are not used to the new position, they do not have enough support to hold your teeth. Therefore, the teeth can easily start shifting away from the desired position, reducing the gains made. Luckily, a solution is available in the form of a dental retainer, which maintains the results of the dental braces.

A retainer works by supporting the newly formed alignment of your teeth. After you take out your braces, your teeth will want to try and move back into their old positions. The bone which supports your teeth is constantly growing and changing and even after the removal of your braces, it will take time for the bone to adapt to its new position. Retainers can be a fixed wire set up behind the teeth or a clear plastic mold that fits the exact shape and placement of your teeth. We recommend you wear the retainer all day or night, depending on the severity of your condition.

Are you experiencing an orthodontic problem? We, at Dougherty Orthodontics, can help you. Call us today at (747) 264-5164 to find out more about the dental braces solutions we offer and how they can benefit you.

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