Dental braces are wire-based appliances that orthodontists use to correct crowded and misaligned teeth or jaws. Every day, we rely on a substance that’s harder than iron or steel, our teeth. If teeth are harder than steel, they must also be harder than bone. And if they’re harder than bone, then why does your jaw, which is made of bone, not crumble under all that pressure?
There’s a bit of tissue called the periodontal ligament, or PDL, around your teeth under your gums.
The PDL is a shock absorber, cushioning your jawbone from all the chewing forces.
But what if your teeth come in all funky?
Sure, it looks kind of goofy. But that’s not the only reason that somebody might want to fix it. Funky teeth can interfere with the way you talk and the way you eat.
We have a new material that very slowly releases proteins. And these proteins cause osteoblasts to go right to the site where the injury happened and generate new bone. It’s really hard to generate something that very slowly releases the protein. Most of the time, the protein comes out very rapidly and gets swept away in the body, so that it no longer has any effect. It’s easy to write braces off as a form of medieval torture. But it’s kind of amazing that this mouth torture works. And the technology that makes it possible is not just in your braces, it’s in your bones.
How Do We Fix Funky Teeth?
We break our mouths with braces, except it’s our bodies that do the breaking.
The PDL has these cells called mechanoreceptors. And when these cells detect a force on your teeth that’s too big, like if you accidentally bite into your fork, they signal the brain to stop biting down before you hurt yourself.
Braces tether your teeth, pulling them together or pushing them apart.
Either way, they’re applying a steady force to your teeth. And when mechanoreceptors in the PDL sense this kind of smaller but sustained force, they signal cells called osteoclasts to the area, which spew out acid and proteins to dissolve parts of your jawbone.
Then the mechanoreceptors signal osteoblasts to come. And those cells deposit minerals that make bone. Osteoblasts rebuild the jawbone in a new shape that lets the PDL hold teeth in the new position. So braces force your body to dissolve itself and then rebuild itself according to their whims. Your body is breaking down and rebuilding bone using osteoclasts and osteoblasts all the time, not just if you have braces.
Bone remodelling is just the way our body grows. The infant body replaces almost all of its original skeleton by the time it’s a year old.
And it happens throughout our entire life. 10% of my bone material is technically new since last year.
We can manipulate the bone remodeling process to not only get straighter teeth but also to treat diseases, like osteoporosis, which make your bones very brittle.
By keeping overactive osteoclasts from dissolving the bone so much, or by boosting osteoblasts to produce more bone, drugs can prevent bones in those patients from breaking so easily.
People with severe bone injury have to rely on bone transplants, where they take bone from other parts of their body and move it to the damaged area, which is sometimes not even possible and is always painful.
The Most Important Components of Braces
Braces help move teeth into place but unless you’re an orthodontist you’re probably curious how do they work. there are quite a few different parts that an orthodontist may use to straighten teeth.
we’ll describe the three most important components of braces then we’ll explain how each part works so the three most important parts of braces are brackets archwires and Otis ligatures or clips a bracket is the small metal part of the braces that are bonded to your teeth. the bracket doesn’t move any of the teeth rather it acts as a handle for the other parts so brackets can come in several different designs and styles and is up to the orthodontist discretion on what design or style will be the right fit for you or your child once the proper bracket is chosen it is bonded to the teeth using a dental adhesive and once the bracket is bonded to your tooth the tooth can then be engaged with the next part of braces the archwire so the archwires are springy they’re shaped into what is the ideal position for your teeth. When these archwires are engaged into the brackets they’ll gradually start pulling your teeth into the right position so this is the technical process behind moving your teeth into the ideal position so in nearly every case the orthodontist will begin your braces with a very thin and flexible archwire that way the wire is exerting very little force and therefore light amounts of pressure on your teeth and as your teeth gradually get straighter the orthodontist will usually use thicker and stiffer wires to gradually move your teeth into the ideal position. to move teeth with an archwire an orthodontist needs to attach the wire to the bracket so this is where the final key part of braces comes in the Otis or bracket clips so orthodontic ligatures are the little coloured elastics that go around your braces. these little coloured rings may be the most flashy part about braces but they aren’t just for the style they help to pull the archwire into the bracket and ligate or tie the wire into the bracket however not all bracket types use oh ties. some bracket types will use a clip rather than oh tie to engage the archwire into the bracket. these types of brackets are usually called self-ligating which is just a fancy term for saying that they tie the archwire without the use of Otis.
scientific side of how braces move teeth
We’re going to talk about the scientific side of how braces move teeth so to help you understand how teeth can move it’s first helpful to get a basic anatomy lesson. We’re going to talk about the teeth jawbone and gums so the roots of your teeth are surrounded by bone and when a steady and consistent outside force is applied to a tooth over a long period of time the bone on one side of the tooth is removed by cells in your blood and the new bone is laid down on the other side of the tooth so your tooth essentially forges a new path provided by bone and when a tooth moves the bone gums blood vessels and everything else travel along with the tooth and help it travel safely and securely into new position all right so how do braces fit into this process the arch wire with the help of the bonnet brackets place consistent pressure on the teeth this pressure signals the cells in your body to start removing bone from the current position and building bone in the new position the pressure wants your teeth to go the teeth will generally move about one millimeter per month as long as the pressure on the tooth is continuous and whenever the pressure stops the tooth will stop moving the important thing to know here is that tooth movement takes time at your first braces visit you can inspect a small wire that applies a very light pressure to the teeth.
this wire will be kept in place for about four to eight weeks and after this period, the pressure mostly goes away so on your second visit a slightly stiffer wire is placed into position and the teeth begin to feel pressure again making new bone and moving along again. This cycle continues every four to eight weeks until the orthodontist sees that your teeth have finally moved into the ideal position for a healthy and happy smile so whether you’re moving teeth with braces Invisalign elastics or any type of orthodontic device the process is very similar forces are applied to your teeth over some time and then your body will allow the teeth to move into a new position by removing bone on one side of the tooth and laying bone down on the other side of the tooth.
Elements of The Orthodontic Treatment
For orthodontic bracket placement, the tooth surface is polished and an adhesive is applied to fix the bracket to the tooth. There are different types of braces among which are metallic and ceramic or aesthetic. A wire made of different materials is attached over the brackets, which is what will determine the tooth movement. The wire can be attached in different ways, such as ligatures, elastics or boxes. There are numerous complimentary devices to allow performing certain tooth movements. This includes traction elastics, springs, microscrews, etc. Each device has its indication and the orthodontist will use them in the indicated cases.