How Orthodontic Braces Work

imagesHave you ever stepped back and thought about what is actually happening when your teeth are moved by orthodontic braces? Each tooth has a designated position in your mouth, and is secured by surrounding bone and ligaments, so how in the world can the orthodontist simply move them?! The reason this phenomenon is possible is that there is a lot more movement happening apart from just your teeth.

There are two main outer portions to your tooth, the crown (visible) and the root (beneath the gums). Though braces are placed directly on the crown, the pressure will be applied to both the crown and the root. This pressure transfers from the root of your tooth to your jawbone (Alveolar bone), and activates cells called osteoblasts and osteoclasts.

The osteoclasts eat away the bone where the pressure is being applied in order to create space for the tooth to move into within the bone. As the tooth moves to it’s new position, there is space behind it where it used to reside. This is when the osteoblasts come in. They work hard to build new bone structure, filling in the space and allowing the tooth to remain firmly fixed within the bone even after being relocated.

Braces are used to apply controlled forces and controlled movement to your teeth.

Many other forces, including but not limited to mouthbreathing, finger sucking, thumb sucking, pacifier sucking, nail biting, pen biting, pencil biting, abnormal posture, and swallowing disorders greatly influence the development of the dental arches. These forces, if applied on a regular basis, will also cause tooth movement and bone resorption, resulting in less than ideal positioning of teeth.

It is important to note that when you have braces, it is much harder to keep your teeth clean. An electric toothbrush, Sonicare or Oral B for example, can make it easier to keep your mouth clean, healthy, and happy!

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Jake the Dentist: