It may seem unbelievable how braces magically fix your teeth. You go from having spacing issues or alignment problems to having a perfect smile in a matter of a couple of years or even months! Even if you have braces, you may not be aware of what each part of your braces does to help achieve these results. Here’s how the different parts of braces fix your smile.
Brackets and Elastics
Probably one of the first parts of braces people notice right away, brackets have an important role in how braces fix teeth. Attached to each individual tooth with a bonding material, brackets serve as a way for the arch wire to attach to the teeth. Most brackets can’t hold the wires in place by themselves, they need a little help from ligatures.
Ligatures are little elastic bands that attach the archwires to the brackets. They come in many different colors, which can be selected to celebrate the holidays, show off your team spirit, or just to sport your favorite colors. They can also be clear to blend in with ceramic braces, or gray to match the silver brackets on metal braces. These elastics are changed at every follow-up appointment to keep the archwires securely fastened to the brackets.
Archwires apply gentle pressure to the teeth to help them move. Your orthodontist will adjust the archwires at each appointment to maintain just the right amount of pressure. Think of the archwires as the muscle that move your teeth to the right positions. Like ligatures, archwires will also be switched out throughout your treatment.
As you can see, all parts of your braces are dependent on each other to achieve the end result of a perfect smile. Without the brackets and elastics on your teeth, the archwire would have nothing to attach to, thus reducing its effectiveness. And without the archwire, the brackets wouldn’t be able to move your teeth.
Other Parts of Braces
Depending on your orthodontic issue, your orthodontist may use other tools with your braces to fix your smile, including:
- Orthodontic bands
- Coil springs
- Power chains
Orthodontic bands are used in patients who have issues with the alignment of their top and bottom jaws. These little rubber bands help to correct this issue and are attached to the top brackets and the bottom brackets. Spacers are placed between the teeth to reserve space for incoming adult teeth or molars. Coil springs are used to create space when teeth are too close together, and power chains are used to prevent spaces from forming in between the teeth.
Braces and Your Smile
Braces have a big job to do, which means that there needs to be different parts to handle different aspects of your treatment. The next time you’re at your orthodontist’s office and you’re unsure about one of the parts of your braces, don’t be afraid to ask for clarification. Your orthodontist is there to help you achieve the beautiful smile you’ve always wanted, and they love sharing their knowledge with others!