How Dental (Orthodontic) Braces Work

For most young people, girls and women in particular, dental braces are a nightmare. It is more about the aesthetic component that the actual device or dental anomaly that it is intended to correct. However, understanding the importance of dental braces and how these devices work are essential before you consider avoiding it altogether.

What are dental braces?

Orthodontic braces (dental braces) are small tiny frameworks that helps align the teeth in a proper manner within the dental arch. The mechanism of these tiny devices is very simple to understand. Orthodontic braces are generally made up of metal or ceramic. The metallic braces are in use for a long period of time as compared to the recent teeth colored ceramic/porcelain braces.

Structure of Braces

The brace is a term commonly used for the whole fixed orthodontic set up that is attached to the tooth. They contain tiny metallic brackets that are attached on to the tooth with help of dental composite resins by the process of” bonding”. No cutting or reshaping of the tooth is carried out before attachment of the braces. Technically the braces are just stuck on to the tooth surface with resins.

These tiny brackets consist of a pipe-like structure to facilitate the entry and locking of a metal wire that is used to create orthodontic forces and align the teeth. The wire is made of special materials such as nickel titanium or stainless steel. The wires are changed number of times during the orthodontic treatment. Each type of wire, depending on its material and size, has significance in orthodontic treatment and teeth alignment.

Different type of wires are added and removed periodically during the course of orthodontic treatment, the frequency of which differs for each patient depending on type and severity of each case.

Insertion of Dental Braces

When the brackets are fixed on to the tooth, the metallic (arch wire) wire is passed through it. The wire starts exerting pressure on the tooth surface. The orthodontic wires are specially created so that they do not bend on application of pressure and tend to recoil. This property of the arch wires is used to align the teeth. When the wire is fixed within the bracket due to its property of recoiling, it creates orthodontic forces that move the teeth.

Mechanism of Action of Braces

The nature of orthodontic forces can be continuous or intermittent according to type of application. They are also classified as light forces and heavy forces. The forces created by wires tend to move and align the teeth from the root surface of the tooth. The root  is surrounded by a ligament called as the periodontal ligament, which is attached to the socket portion of the jaw bone. The orthodontic force creates areas for pressure and tension within the ligament and the bone.

The forces increase cellular activity at the areas of pressure and tension within the ligament leading to bone resorption and deposition respectively. The process of remodeling of bone by this method, forces the tooth to change its position which controlled by the orthodontic apparatus. To help achieve better and more precise results during orthodontic treatment modules made of rubber like material and elastics are used. These elastic help to create complex forces that are used for rotated or complexly placed tooth to bring it inside the dental arch.

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