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How Do Braces Know Where to Move the Teeth?

Although we are trending toward a world of Artificial Intelligence, braces cannot yet think for themselves… Braces move teeth into place through a treatment schedule devised by your orthodontist. Orthodontists will place the brackets in exactly the right place on the tooth, then thread an archwire through which will slowly move back to it’s original shape. Braces know where to move the teeth, all thanks to orthodontists.

Braces Know Where to Move the Teeth Thanks to Orthodontists

Many people assume that it is the brackets on braces that move the teeth. But, it is actually the pressure created by the archwire that moves the teeth. Once the wire is placed along the uneven path of a patient’s misaligned teeth, it attempts to move back into its original shape, shifting the teeth with it. To begin with, the wires are more flexible and as treatment progresses, are traded for stronger wires.

How it works

Once pressure is applied to a tooth, the membrane that acts as the supporting ligament around the root of the tooth then stretches on one side while compressing on the other, which allows the tooth to loosen. In turn, this stimulates the bone to allow the tooth to move in the required direction. The bone behind the tooth then gets to work rebuilding once the tooth moves so that it can support the tooth in the new position. This process is referred to as bone remodelling.

Some people think that the faster the teeth move during treatment, the better, but this isn’t always the case. While it takes just 72 hours for bone to start moving, it takes in the region of 90 days for the bone to rebuild around its new position. And then another 10 months to stabilise it. If the teeth are moved too quickly, you could lose them. What’s more, if you don’t wear a retainer as directed once the braces come off, the teeth will fail to stay in their new position and will likely relapse.

The Role of Arch-Wires

When you initially have braces put on, the first set or two of wires are comparatively flexible. Yet they are still strong enough to apply a constant pressure on the teeth. As your teeth begin to straighten, you will notice that the orthodontist uses progressively thicker and firmer wires. These wires are stronger and more precise – to move the teeth into the final positions.

Every time you visit for an adjustment, the wires are swapped out so that you keep getting the right amount of pressure on your teeth. Most adjustment appointments occur four to eight weeks apart to give the teeth time to move at a constant pace. It also allows your orthodontist to assess your progress.

If you think you need braces, contact Medland Orthodontics to discuss your treatment options.