How Do Metal Braces Work?

Out of all of the different types of orthodontic treatment, none is as well-known or widely used as traditional metal braces. This type of treatment has been used for decades, and is still the most effective way to take care of tough corrections in tooth alignment.

How Metal Braces Work

With metal braces, brackets and wires are placed on and around your teeth to create targeted points of pressure. Throughout the course of your treatment, this pressure will move your teeth in specific directions, correcting the alignment of your teeth. Slowly adjusting the pressure over time allows your teeth to acclimate to their new positions and helps to reduce discomfort.

Parts of Metal Braces

To better understand just how your braces are able to give you a straighter, healthier smile, it helps to take a look at each part of metal braces.

  • Brackets: Acting as the base for your braces, these small metal pieces are the most visible parts of metal braces. Brackets are adhered to the middle of the front surface of each tooth using a special dental bonding agent. With self-ligating braces, which is what we use at Austin Orthodontics, each bracket has a little door or gate that holds the archwire in place, eliminating the need for elastic bands around the brackets.
  • Archwire: The archwire connects to each bracket and gets adjusted or replaced as you progress to the next phase in your orthodontic treatment. The slight tension in this wire creates the pressure needed to straighten the teeth.
  • Elastics: Not every set of braces will use this type of elastic band, but they are quite common. Elastic bands run from the upper jaw to the lower jaw and create pressure to fix jaw alignment issues such as overbites and underbites. These elastics are replaced fairly frequently by the patient during the course of their treatment.

Clear Braces

Clear, or ceramic braces, work the same way as metal braces, but are different in a couple respects. Instead of silver brackets, which are quite noticeable, these braces have ceramic brackets that blend in with your teeth. Wires are often lighter in color as well, making your treatment less visible, but not any less effective. This treatment option works great for teens and adults who are self-conscious about having braces but need the treatment power they provide.

Are Metal Braces Right for You or Your Child?

With all of these parts working together, metal braces are a very effective way to get a straight smile, and with smaller brackets and updated technology, they are more comfortable than ever. Or for a less visible treatment, ceramic braces are also a great option. To learn more about metal braces, clear braces, or other treatments available, schedule a complimentary consultation with Dr. Briggs and his team at Austin Orthodontics.