We hear this question all the time. Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time, on an average of two years. Traditional orthodontic treatment works when we attach braces and brackets onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where we insert orthodontic wires when you first get your braces on, as well as your subsequent adjustment visits. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape, and so do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.
Not long ago, orthodontists had a single option—stainless steel wires–and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.
When you first get your braces, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, you will notice we will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.
Each time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting the right amount of pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move at a steady pace and allow us to assess progress and ensure we keep your treatment plan on track.
As for rubber bands and elastics? Most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatment. These elastics are typically placed from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, pulling on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite and a beautiful smile.
If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your orthodontic treatment, please give us a call or ask us during your next adjustment visit!