How Do Braces Straighten Crooked Teeth?

Braces use constant, gentle pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper positions. Braces are at work every moment of your orthodontic treatment. The two main components of your braces are: the brackets that are placed on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them. The bracket is a piece of shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. The archwire is bent to reflect your “ideal” bite. In other words, it reflects the way we want you to look after treatment.  The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone. With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind. Attached to your braces, elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day.

Things to Know about Braces…

Oral Hygiene Overview

For a brief overview of oral hygiene tips, please click on the image below. It will launch our flash educational module in a separate window that may answer some of your questions about oral hygiene.


Launch the presentation

Having trouble? Please make sure you have version 7 of the Flash browser plugin in order to correctly view this presentation. This software is available as a free download.

After braces are placed in the mouth it is normal for the teeth to be sore for about 2 or 3 days. Tylenol or Advil will help relieve this discomfort. Some irritation to the cheeks and tongue is normal, but if you feel anything sharp is poking you or any sores are developing, please call our office at (434) 977-9473. 

It is important to check your  braces once a week for anything loose or bent. If a bracket or band comes loose or you break a wire, please call our office at (434) 977-9473 so that we can arrange an appointment long enough to repair it.

Try to explain what has happened by using the diagram provided. Be as specific as possible with the receptionist. If you lose your rubber bands, call us so we can mail you some more or drop by the office and pick some up.

Elastics

Some patients will need elastics attached to their braces.   Elastics (rubber bands) exert the proper force that creates the right amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for this force to remain constant, elastics must be worn all the time and changed every day. Any time missed in wearing your elastics will only make your treatment take longer, so remember these things:

  • You are responsible for placing the elastics on your braces between appointments. Make sure to wear them as instructed. Remove them only when brushing your teeth, gums and braces after meals. Then put them back on immediately.
  • Always carry a few elastics with you, so if one breaks you can replace it right away. If your supply is low, call the office and we will mail you an additional supply of elastics.
  • If you forget to insert your elastics one day, don’t double up the next day just follow your regular instructions.
  • Elastics become worn out. When they lose their elasticity, they don’t provide the proper pressure on your teeth and jaws. It is very important to change them as directed, even when they are not broken.

Remember if a wire or band loosens, or a hook breaks off call our office immediately at (434) 977-9473. Don’t wait until your next appointment. These problems need to be corrected as soon as possible!