One of the best treatments for a misaligned bite and/or crooked teeth are braces and retainers. So how do braces work? Braces work through the continuous pressure they apply to teeth to move them into specified positions. Over a period of time, braces result in bone changes caused by this pressure.
Braces are made up of the following:
- Brackets are the handles that hold the archwires that help move the teeth. They are small squares that are glued to the each tooth using a special dental bonding agent. They are usually made of stainless steel, tooth-colored ceramic or plastic. For those who would like to hide them, brackets can be attached to the back of teeth.
- Orthodontic bands are anchors for the brackets and are made of stainless steel, clear or tooth-colored materials that are attached to the teeth using a dental bonding agent. This is not necessary for all patients; some prefer to only have brackets and no bands.
- Spacers fit between the teeth and act as separators to create a small space for the placement of orthodontic bands.
- Archwires act as trackers for the teeth to guide their movement and are made of metal.
- Ties, fine wires or rubber rings fasten the archwires to the brackets
- A buccal tube securely holds the end of the archwire onto the last tooth.
- Ligatures are tiny elastic rubber bands that hold the archwires to the brackets.
- Springs are used to open or close, push or pull the spaces between the teeth. They are placed on the archwires between the brackets.
- Rubber or elastic bands are attached to hooks in the brackets between the upper and lower teeth to move them to achieve a perfect fit through applying pressure.
Consult your dentist or orthodontist to learn about your best options for braces.