How do braces work?
Braces primarily consist of four parts:
Brackets: Is made of either ceramic or metal and it is attached to each of your teeth. The brackets will house the wire that adjusts your teeth.
Arc wire: This spans the entire region of your mouth providing the necessary tension to adjust your teeth.
Bonding Agent: This is used to fix the bracket to your teeth and ensure the bracket stays in place.
Elastic band: These are used to fasten the arch wire to the brackets.
The primary function of braces is to place prolonged pressure on your teeth. This constant pressure applied by the braces move your teeth in a predetermined direction by altering the bone structure surrounding the teeth. This happens by the systematic breakdown of the bone on the side of the tooth in the direction of movement. This broken-down piece of bone the reform at the opposite side of the tooth filling in the “gap” created by the movement and ensuring that the tooth stays in its new, optimal position.
How long will you have to wear braces?
The required time for braces to have their full effect varies from person to person seeing that there are numerous factors that play a role in the speed at which your teeth adapt to the applied force. For example: the amount of adjustment required, the amount of space available in your mouth, the overall health of your mouth etc. The average span of braces varies anywhere between one and three years. The time it takes for braces to take effect should however not affect your choice to have brace or not seeing that that this is not a very long period to ensure that you have a beautiful smile for the rest of your life.
How often will you have to visit the orthodontist?
This varies from orthodontist to orthodontist. It might be as frequent as once every month or so, seeing that the braces require constant adjustment to ensure that a constant pressure is applied and that your teeth are moving in the desired direction. This will be determined by your orthodontist.
What happens when your braces are removed?
The orthodontist will thoroughly clean your teeth to remove all bonding material. You will also be fitted for a retainer (a custom-made apparatus that ensures your teeth stay in position), which you will be required to wear, for a period of time, as stated by your specialist. The retainer is there to ensure that your teeth settle in their new position. Your orthodontist may also want to take you for x-rays or bite impressions to see the full effect that the braces have had on your teeth, to determine if the results are satisfactory.