Braces are made up of several parts that work together to gradually straighten and align teeth by continuously applying light pressure over a period of time.
The main components of braces
The archwire is the main wire that is fitted for the upper and lower jaw. It is tied to all brackets and uses gentle pressure to move your teeth.
A band is a thin metal ring, which secures the orthodontic attachments to a tooth. A band has a bracket attached, which holds the archwire to the band.
Brackets are usually made out of mental, however they can also be made out of ceramic. They are a square attachment that is bonded to each individual tooth. They guide the teeth and hold the archwire in place.
Coil springs are fitted between brackets and over the archwire to open or close the space between teeth.
Elastics are the tiny rubber rings that hold the archwire in place. Larger elastics or rubber bands help to improve your bite by moving the upper and lower teeth in relation to each other.
How They Work Together
All of these components work together to slowly, but continuously apply force on your teeth. Overtime, as the arch wire puts pressure on the brackets and your teeth, the bone changes and your teeth move into the correct position. Springs or rubber bands may be used to apply a stronger pressure in a specific direction.
Braces are generally worn from 18 months up to 2 years, however there are special cases in which braces may be worn for a shorter or longer amount of time. After the teeth have moved into the correct position and the braces are removed, the next step is usually a retainer. A retainer is a custom-made removable or fixed appliance which helps keep teeth in place after your braces are taken off.
If you have any more questions about how braces work, or would like to schedule an appointment, please contact Family SmileCare Center, located in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.