How do braces really work?

So you’ve decided to have your teeth corrected, and you’re looking forward to getting the right brace or aligner for you – but what actually happens once your brace is fitted, and how does it work? 

The general principle is that braces apply gentle pressure to your teeth to gradually move them into the correct position. Some people develop an overbite during childhood – often as a result of thumb sucking – or it could be because of the size of their teeth or jaw. An underbite, on the other hand, often runs in families. Both of these conditions can easily be corrected by a brace or retainer. 

Here’s some terms you’ll soon become familiar with: 

Arch wire The long, thin wire that runs across the front of your teeth and connects your brackets. 

Self-ligating brackets Special sliding clips that hold the arch wire in place. Traditional braces use elastic bands, but we prefer these clips as it makes changing the wire quicker and easier. We also offer a clear, tooth-coloured version if you’re worried about your brace being noticed. 

Aligners These are nearly invisible, clear plastic ‘shields’ that put gentle pressure on your teeth if you’ve opted for Invisalign instead of a brace. They’re changed every few weeks as your teeth begin to adapt. 

How do braces work? 

Your teeth are held inside your jawbone by a group of tiny connective tissue fibres called the periodontal ligament. When the wires on your brace (or your aligner) exert pressure on your teeth, the ligament compresses and the teeth loosen. This causes the jawbone (alveolar bone) to create new bone on one side of each tooth and remove it on the other, to hold the teeth securely in place, while tooth movement is taking place. 

Every few weeks, our team will adjust the arch wires on your brace to maintain the right amount of pressure, so your teeth move correctly and the bone remodels and adapts. The same goes for Invisalign – each new retainer will put a different amount of pressure on your teeth to help guide them into the best position. 

The whole process can take up to 18 months depending on how much work your teeth need, but once started, you’re likely to notice a difference within weeks. 

All in all, a brace or Invisalign retainer is a really clever way to correct your teeth and enhance your natural smile. Yup, it takes a bit of time and patience, but we believe that some things really are worth waiting for!

What can you eat with a brace – and what should you avoid?

Getting a brace means you’re well on your way to the smile you’ve always wanted. But first, there are some ground rules that you need to follow when eating and drinking to make sure you get the best possible results. Some foods and snacks can get stuck in your brace...

What’s the best age to get braces?

Is it better to get braces as a child, or should you wait until your teens to get your teeth looked at? And what about if you're an adult – is it too late?  Firstly, the good news is that it's never too late to get your teeth seen to. Many people associate braces...

How effective are Invisalign braces – and what’s the cost?

Making the decision to get your teeth corrected can be exciting – you’re finally going to get the smile you’ve always dreamed of – but it can also be daunting, especially if you’ve had problems with your teeth in the past. We can suggest the best course of...

What braces can and can’t do

Having a brace can do much more than improve your teeth and smile. It can also make subtle adjustments to your face and jaw, making it more symmetrical and bringing out the best in your features. Here’s a rundown of some things that braces can – and can't do.  Will a...

Can my child get braces on the NHS?

Some children also qualify for NHS orthodontic treatment such as braces, but your dentist would first need to assess your child’s eligibility. If they have minor irregularities, then they wouldn’t be able to access free treatment – it’s only the severe cases that get...

How can I tell if my child needs braces?

Children’s teeth develop at different rates and, as parents, we do our best keeping teeth clean and instilling good dental hygiene habits in our little ones. And we reply on our dentist’s expertise at each six-monthly check up to tell us that all is well, or whether...

Four braces problems you can fix at home

Most the time, having braces is pretty straightforward, and you’ll be able to go about your day-to-day life without having to think about them too much. However, there may be times when problems occur.  The best course of action is to call us straight away if...

Do braces hurt, and how can you ease the pain?

It’s a bit of a worry, and probably playing on your mind if you’re thinking of getting braces for you or your child – but do braces actually hurt? And how long might they feel uncomfortable for?  A lot of people find a trip to the dentist stressful, but it...

How to choose the best orthodontist

Going to the dentist in the old days used to be something you just did because you had to. But nowadays, there’s a wealth of choice out there, and plenty of excellent orthodontists ready and available to help you get your teeth and smile just the way you want.  But...

Can I play sports with a brace, and is it safe?

Playing sport is something lots of children – and adults – love, so when your child is told that she needs braces, it might come as a bit of a shock. Will she still be able to play contact sports? Will she have to miss out on her favourite team games, or will she need...

Pin It on Pinterest