Ask a Dentist

April 29, 2022

Q: How Do Braces Work?

Close-up of a girl smiling with braces

Dental braces are one of the most popular orthodontic treatments in the world. They’re very effective in straightening teeth and less self-discipline is needed for success than other methods. You know that braces help adjust your teeth, but have you ever wondered how they do it? Here’s a breakdown to help you understand the process:

How Do Braces Move Teeth?

Braces don’t work the way you probably think they do because they don’t just shift your teeth around. They have to break down your jawbone first. Misaligned teeth are tricky to clean, which can increase your risk of tooth decay, gum disease or even tooth loss. That’s where braces can help correct the problem.

The wires that connect your braces are tight across your teeth to create pressure against your gums. In turn, that pressure constricts blood flow to the tissue holding your teeth in place. Without blood, the tissue cells start to die. 

Normally, that would be a major problem because your teeth could fall out without the supportive tissue. But in this case, that’s what your orthodontist wants to happen because your body creates special immune cells called osteoclasts to relieve the pressure. The osteoclast does this by sucking away the calcium from your jaw bone. That’s right, the cells are dissolving your bone. It may sound extreme, but this results in a hole in your jawbone where the tooth can slide in, away from the wires and pressure, which then restores blood flow. This ensures the tissue stays alive and your teeth don’t fall out. 

However, this is not only done once. Those with braces will have to check in with their orthodontist regularly to retighten their braces so more teeth can move into place. The more teeth you have to move, the longer you’ll be needing the braces. 

When Can You Begin To See Results?

Typically it takes months to a few years to get your teeth straightened. After the braces are removed, you will need to wear a retainer to prevent your teeth from shifting back into place. These retainers are worn for several years. Once your teeth have settled into their new position, you can finally enjoy your new smile. 

Thinking about getting braces? You can schedule an appointment with us today to find out if dental braces are the right treatment plan for you. Whether you’re thinking about braces for kids, braces for adults or Invisalign, we’ve got you covered!

Find us at one of our two Winnipeg locations in Garden City Shopping Centre and St. Vital Centre. We’re currently accepting new patients. 

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