How Orthodontic Treatments Work

Clear Braces

Braces have come a long way. Now, modern orthodontic treatments don’t require a metal band with a bracket placed around each tooth. There are a lot more choices these days. You can choose clear or metallic (silver or gold) brackets and even the color of the ties that hold the wire in the brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Despite these new options, orthodontic braces still work by placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, to slowly move teeth to a corrected position.

How Long Do I Have to Wear Braces?

Treatment time for braces nationwide averages 24 months. treatment time in our office  typically ranges from 12 to 18 months, depending on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face and the severity of the dental situation. We have implemented many state-of-the-art treatment techniques (see [Suresmile]),and will continue to do so when appropriate, that have allowed us to reduce your time in braces significantly.

Many factors go into determining how long braces need to be worn. Everyone has a unique situation with teeth developing at various rates and will respond differently to orthodontic treatment. Also, one of the largest factors in treatment time is the patient’s own diligence with using the rubber bands or other necessary appliances.

How Do Dental Braces Work?

Braces have always been the mainstays for straightening teeth. That doesn’t mean they’ve always stayed the same, though. There has been a tremendous evolution in the brackets/archwire systems over the last 100+ years, and at Woodhill Dental Specialties, we employ all the latest technological advances to provide the latest state-of-the-art appliances.

Braces are composed of brackets and archwires. The type of material from which the brackets are created is very important as is the way in which the wires are held within the brackets. The archwire is inserted into the slot on the bracket where it is held in place. When the archwire is engaged, a force is exerted on the tooth that signals it to move in a prescribed direction.

The position of the teeth and the brackets will determine the direction each tooth needs to move. The slots cut into the brackets determine the amount of movement the tooth should experience in all 3 planes of space (forward and backwards, lateral and vertical). In other words, we will carefully and precisely place each bracket to ensure the optimal movement and results.

Metal and Esthetic Braces

We offer multiple types of braces at Woodhill Dental Specialties.

  • Metal Braces
    • Our stainless steel braces are self-ligating. That means they don’t require colored rubber bands to hold the wires into the brackets, which means there’s less friction and more treatment efficiency (and that means less time in braces!). These “silver” braces usually have a mechanical advantage over the “clear” braces.
    • We also offer gold braces which were the original “esthetic” bracket prior to the development of the ceramic braces.
  • Esthetic Braces
    • Our clear esthetic braces are the latest in orthodontic bracket technology. They are a great cosmetic choice, because they are less visible than our metal brackets. Treatment times and cost are no different in these ceramic braces than in metal braces so the choice is purely an esthetic one.
    • Finally, we offer lingual braces, or those that fit in behind your teeth. They truly are the most esthetic option and are considered for those that have greater development of their teeth. Most need to be at least in high school to consider this option. Treatment times are generally extended compared to more traditional options.

Wire Types

There are three main types of wires for braces: copper nickel-titanium, titanium-niobium, and stainless steel. No matter which type we use, each is engineered to the most exacting standards for performance and comfort.

  1. Copper Nickel-titanium (CuNiTi): Nickel-titanium archwires have been used in orthodontics since their development in 1969. The properties of the wire include super-elasticity, shape memory, and thermal regulation. These properties make it possible to use lower and more-constant forces, which makes them more physiologically compatible. Tooth movement will be more efficient and fast with less discomfort. Force levels are controlled in the manufacturing of the wire, which are then “activated” intraorally at temperatures below 37 degrees Celsius. Copper (Cu) is alloyed with the NiTi to accurately control the activation temperatures of the wires.
  2. Beta-Titanium (Beta-Ti): Beta-titanium wires are used in the final stage of orthodontics to detail the esthetics and functionality of the teeth. These types of wires are half as stiff as stainless steel wires, making them easier to bend as desired and more comfortable for the patient.
  3. Stainless Steel: Stainless steel has been the most common wire material for braces. Now, however, it is generally only used in special cases when increased stiffness is needed to minimize unwanted tooth movements. For example, we might use these wires to close spaces between teeth or bring impacted teeth into the dental arch. It is a very effective stabilizing wire and can be used in finishing details like we do with Beta-Ti wires.

If you’re in need of braces or would like more information, contact us at Woodhill Dental Specialties today to set up a complimentary consultation.