How Do Braces Really Work?

If someone you know has had braces, or if you’ve taken a look at our smile gallery, you know how successful they can be. And it seems obvious how braces work – the wire moves your teeth into position, leaving you with a nice straight smile. But what really goes on with this seemingly simple system? Your mouth and teeth are complicated, so braces must be too!

It’s true that there is a lot to consider and look at during orthodontic treatment. Today we’re going to talk all about what braces really do for your smile and how they work their miracles! Hopefully you’ll find this explanation fascinating and inspiring!

The Anatomy of Braces

Before understanding how braces work it’s important to understand all the parts and pieces that go into your orthodontics. While there are a number of different specialized pieces, for the sake of this article we’ll start with a discussion of the most basic and essential parts.

  • Brackets: these are the metal squares that are attached to each tooth. They are used to guide and position the wire that moves your teeth.
  • Archwire: these are the wires that are attached to your brackets, called such because they run the full length of each arch of your mouth.
  • Ties: these are the small rubber bands attached to each bracket and used to hold your archwire in place. They can be a variety of colors suited to each individual taste!
  • Elastics: have you ever seen someone with rubber bands on their braces? That’s what these are! They’re used to adjust your bite so that all your teeth line up just right.


At Panama City Smiles, we also offer several advanced orthodontic options designed to make your braces less noticeable yet still just as effective!

  • Ceramic brackets: just as effective as traditional steel brackets yet the same color as your teeth! We can match ceramic braces to your unique tooth color, and we can even offer tooth-colored wires to make your braces even less noticeable!
  • Incognito braces: it’s surprising when you realize no one thought of putting braces on the backs of your teeth until recently – that’s exactly what incognito braces are! Completely redesigned, these brackets are placed where no one can see them! They might be a bit more costly but if you’re concerned about “brace face” these are a great solution!
  • ClearCorrect: invisible plastic aligners! You wear these throughout the day and take them out to eat and brush. They’re almost completely invisible!


How Braces Make Their Magic

Now that you know what pieces and options you have, let’s talk about the work that your braces do to perfect your smile!

Your teeth roots sit below the gum line and provide the bloodflow and support for your smile, and to move your teeth you have to move the roots! When your braces apply force, they are pulling on part of your tooth and also pushing on another. This causes a process called bone remodeling to take place.

Bone remodeling is the new growth that happens when your teeth loosen from the braces force. As your teeth shift the bone regrows to fit the new position of the teeth, eventually creating a strong and stable position for your teeth to call home!

Braces owe their force to the archwire that stretches from end to end of your braces. Archwires have a natural desire to remain straight, so the bending and twisting involved in braces makes them uncomfortable enough to pull your teeth right into the proper spot!

The proper growth of bone in your jaw to firmly cement your teeth takes about ten months. That’s why it’s so important that you use your retainer every day after your braces are removed! If you don’t you’ll end up having teeth that start to shift back toward their original positions, leaving you with an incomplete treatment that results in lost value! The end of your treatment will involve the crafting of a custom retainer that we provide you with. Wear it every day for a nice, firm, and permanent positioning of your teeth!

It’s our hope that explaining the mechanism of movement in your orthodontic treatment can help you understand the importance of each step of your sequence. We always want you to be satisfied with your results, which means following through on each aspect of your treatment from beginning to end.

If you’re ready to take the first step toward a great smile for you or someone you love don’t wait another day! Call Panama City Smiles to schedule an appointment today! Our phone number is 850-588-0185, and you can also schedule an appointment using our online form. We look forward to seeing you soon!

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