Tried and True Orthodontic Technology
Comfort, Durability, and Reliability
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Made of high-grade stainless steel, traditional metal braces straighten your teeth using metal brackets and archwires. With metal braces, you have the option of adding colored elastics (rubber bands) for a more unique and colorful smile.
Traditional Wire Braces
The wires and brackets are what everyone pictures when they think of braces, and there’s a reason we still use them: they are effective. Traditional metal braces consist of metal brackets that are cemented to each tooth and archwires that run across them. The archwires come in different sizes and stiffness levels depending on how the orthodontist wants the patient’s teeth to move between appointments, and they are held in place by colorful elastic ligatures.
The Anatomy of Traditional Metal Braces
The different parts of your braces all contribute to the orthodontic treatment process in specific ways. You might have additional appliances tailored to your specific treatment plan, but everyone with traditional braces has brackets and archwires, tied together with o-rings (also called bands or ligatures).
If you look carefully at braces brackets, you may notice that they aren’t all placed in a straight line. At first, the braces may even seem to emphasize the crookedness of the teeth. The way the orthodontist positions the brackets is what allows braces to shift teeth into their proper place. By the end of the treatment, the brackets — and, more importantly, the teeth — will be straight!
The archwires run through the brackets on each row of teeth. The orthodontist chooses the thickness and material of the archwire carefully based on your treatment plan. As they try to straighten back into their original shape, archwires provide steady, gradual pressure in the right direction so that your teeth will shift towards their proper position. The colorful o-rings are what keep the archwires in place in the brackets.
The most common addition to braces beyond the basics of brackets, archwires, and o-rings are elastics. If you have a malocclusion (bad bite) or misaligned jaw, elastics apply pressure to bring your jaws into proper alignment. In order for them to do their job, however, it is essential to exactly follow the orthodontist’s instructions. Wearing too many or too few rubber bands will interfere with your treatment and make it take longer.
The Mechanics and Biology of Aligning Teeth
When braces apply pressure to our teeth, they don’t simply move. There’s an intense cellular process happening in our jaws in response to that pressure. In front of the tooth, specialized cells called osteoclasts break down bone cells that are in the way, while osteoblasts build new bone cells behind the tooth to keep it fitting snugly in its socket. The bone is actually reshaping itself! This takes time and is part of why retainers are so important after braces.
This is a major reason why it’s so important to go to an orthodontist for dental crowding, crookedness, or bad bites. It takes all those years of education and training we receive to be able to understand the best ways to encourage teeth to shift to their proper position. Someone with less experience might attempt an approach that doesn’t produce the best results or puts the teeth at risk.
How My Orthodontist Can Help
For those patients that want traditional braces, our doctors can help you achieve the smile you’ve always dreamed of. We want to help determine whether or not traditional metal braces are right for you. Call us today at (855) 776-9678 or email us to set up a smile consultation. Make make sure to get directions before you head our way. We have many different locations across New Jersey and one in Pennsylvania: