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!

How much do braces cost?

Getting your teeth aligned and your smile perfected needn’t cost the earth – in fact, things have moved on so much over recent years that treatment is quicker and more cost-effective than it used to be. We know that one solution is not going to fit everyone’s budget,...

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...

How to straighten your teeth without braces

So, you’ve been thinking about having your teeth corrected for a while, but just can’t face the prospect of braces? You’re not alone. Many adults feel self-conscious about the idea of a traditional ‘train track’ brace, reminiscent of kids from their school days. But...

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 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...

Which braces work the fastest – traditional or Invisalign?

Everyone wants everything in super-quick time these days – so why not straight teeth? Well, getting your best smile takes time and patience, but it will be worth it in the end, trust us. So, is there any way you can speed up the time it takes to straighten your teeth...

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...

Can my child get braces on the NHS?

Children under the age of 18 are entitled to free dental treatment under the NHS, which includes regular check-ups, advice on caring for teeth, fluoride varnish to help prevent decay and repairs such as fillings.  Some children also qualify for NHS orthodontic...

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...

Pin It on Pinterest