How Do Braces Work To Move Teeth? – A Fascinating Insight
If you ask most people the question “How do braces work to close gaps or straighten teeth?”, they’ll probably say that braces work by applying a gentle but sustained force that (over time) will move teeth to the desired position. While this is a perfectly acceptable answer, it’s only really half the story. In reality, braces are simply the vehicle used to accelerate tooth movement, but it’s underneath the surface where the really clever stuff happens.
Let’s take a closer look…
In the case of brackets and wiring style braces, the archwire is designed to put pressure on the brackets attached to the front (or rear) of the teeth. When this happens the periodontal membrane or ligament is pulled or stretched on one side and compressed on another. As it does so, forces loosen the tooth root breaking down the bone tissue causing it to regrow in support of the tooth in it’s new position. This tissue movement is known as bone remodelling.
But it doesn’t stop there!
As pressure is continually applied the process of bone tissue breakdown and rebuilding is recreated over and over until the braces have done their job and teeth are moved to their (hopefully) final resting place.
But what about clear removable aligners – How do braces work over time?
Clear removable braces (known as aligners) are designed to fit over the teeth like a clear plastic gumshield and naturally, they don’t contain any brackets or archwires; so how do braces work in this instance?
In the same way that a fixed brace process applies sustained gentle pressure to kick-start the process of moving teeth, clear aligners do exactly the same thing. Invisalign style braces are usually used for people who experience slight tooth gapping, mild to moderate tooth crookedness, or for crowded teeth treatment for adults and are worn in multiples rather than one fixed appliance – like conventional braces.
As each aligner is worn over the teeth it utilises a combination of natural forces and small directional attachments to move/rotate teeth. Each tray is designed to be slightly straighter than the previous tray and will only fit over your teeth when the previous tray has reached the desired position. Typically you can expect each clear braces aligner to move teeth around 0.25mm before it’s replaced with the new tray. Moreover, each tray is worn for approximately 2 weeks. Eventually, at the end of the treatment period, you’ll have straighter, less crowded, or less gappy teeth. Amen to that!
Does tooth movement happen immediately?
In a word no! Biometrics dictate that the time taken for the breakdown (osteoclast) process to swing into action is usually around 72 hours and the rebuilding (osteoblast) process can take up to 90 days. However when wearing braces, remember that this process is continual and is how braces work, over time. As such, a stabilisation period will still be in existence after you’ve taken your braces off.
Look on it as your teeth playing catch-up with your braces :-). This is why it’s important to wear a retainer after treatment has finished as it stops your pearly whites from regressing back to their previous positions.
So there you have it… a fascinating insight into how braces work!
If you’re considering orthodontic braces treatment then why not come and speak to the team at Point Cook Dental. As a member of the Australian Dental Association we offer advanced orthodontic solutions to correct and restore your beautiful smile. Come and talk to us about our range of modern state-of-the-art orthodontic braces and let us show you how we can help.