How Do Dental Braces Work?

Dental Braces

If you or someone you know are new to the idea of getting braces, chances are you may have been asking questions such as “how do dental braces work?” and “how do braces move teeth?”.

Why You Need Braces

First and foremost, it’s important to understand exactly why someone would need to get braces in the first place. Generally, a dentist will recommend braces to help improve the overall appearance of someone’s teeth.

This is especially the case if the teeth are either crooked or crowded. Braces may also be recommended for the following situations:

  • Overbites
  • Underbites
  • Jaw joint disorders
  • Incorrect jaw position

If these kinds of situations are not corrected effectively, the end result can be tooth decay, gum disease, and even earaches and headaches. Additionally, the affected individual can even experience problems with biting, chewing, and speaking.

When it comes to braces, most individuals are mainly familiar with two components. These components are the bracket and the archwire, which are what someone else sees whenever someone with braces in their mouth smiles at them.


Brackets can be constructed out of either ceramic or metal before being attached to each individual tooth with a small amount of bonding material, which is normally a special type of glue that keeps everything attached for the duration of an entire treatment. This is something that is generally performed during your first initial visit to the dentist.


Archwires are wires made of a thin metal that connect the brackets together and work to put pressure on all of the teeth, whether the pressure is up-and-down or side-to-side.

Elastic rings (sometimes called “donuts” or “O-rings,” though traditionally referred to as “Elastic Ligatures1“) hold the archwires to the brackets. Patients who wear braces are able to select the specific color of rings that they would like to have, which will help them to further customize their smile.

Bands are then applied next. These are essentially metal rings placed on back teeth to help with anchoring archwires and/or attaching springs.

Just like with every visit to the dentist, each particular case is different with each individual. Depending on the severity of an individual’s case, other accessories and materials may be attached to dental braces in order to ensure that they work properly. These can include the following:

  • Hooks
  • Loops
  • Tubes
  • Springs
  • Rubber bands
  • Headgear
  • Steel ties

As someone continues to wear braces on their teeth, the teeth themselves will begin to loosen and move thanks to the pressure that is being created by both the wire and elastics from the dental braces, which will cause the surrounding membrane of the teeth on one side of the mouth to essentially expand, while the other side will constrict.

As a result, the teeth will loosen from the gum line itself and become straighter since they will move less. The bone that is around the membrane will then grow to help support a tooth’s new position, which is a process that must naturally move slowly.

Once the teeth are straightened, the braces are then removed and a retainer must then be worn for approximately 24 hours per day, unless otherwise stated by the orthodontist. The retainer will work to help keep the teeth in their new position while the bone works to become much stronger so that it can support the teeth on its own.

It is extremely important to wear the retainer as directed by the orthodontist, because if this is not done so, you can risk causing the teeth to move back to their original position. This is something that can lead to all of the time and money spent on the entire process having been completely wasted.

All in all, dental braces can be important in many different ways, especially from an oral health standpoint. Not only can they help to prevent tooth decay, which itself can be extremely painful, but they can also help to prevent other issues involving the rest of your body as well.


More importantly, though, people always want to do whatever they can to improve their smile, and dental braces are definitely a great first step to make that happen, which can help significantly boost their confidence as a result.

Confident smiles can affect things such as social interactions and job performances, and those individuals who have less-than-perfect smiles should most definitely consider dental braces as a viable option to help improve their attitudes.

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