Teeth braces are basically orthodontic appliances that are used for the correction of crooked teeth and misaligned bite (mating of the upper and lower teeth).
How braces work
Braces are attached to the teeth with the help of an adhesive cement. Metallic wires pass through specially designed slots within the braces, which apply continuous pressure over teeth, and move tooth gradually in the desired direction and angulation. The pressure exerted over the teeth is readjusted frequently to guide movement of the teeth.
Main components of braces are the arch wire, the ligatures, the brackets, and the orthodontic bands. Traditionally braces have used steel wires which were very visible. Nowadays, tooth colored wires and ceramic or transparent plastic components are also available.
· Spacers - fit between teeth to create space before orthodontic bands are attached.
· Orthodontic bands are wrapped around each tooth to allow attachment of brackets. The bands can be stainless steel or other material, and can be tooth-colored or clear.
· Brackets are stainless steel or ceramic rectangles which hold the arch wire through ties or ligatures. Brackets may be bonded to the teeth directly or to the orthodontic bands. The brackets may be attached to the front surfaces of the teeth or the lingual (rear) ones.
· The arch wire is a thicker steel wire which applies the force. Inward or outward force is applied by tightening the arch wire. Lateral movement of teeth can be achieved with springs placed on the arch wire between adjacent brackets to exert lateral pressure on the teeth. Orthodontic wires are prepared from different materials, such as Stainless steel, Nickel-Titanium etc.
Length of treatment
It depends on the severity of misalignments and health of the teeth, jaw bone and the gums. It can vary between one and three years. After that you may have to wear plastic retainers for some time to prevent relapse of the treatment.
Frequency of visits
Most often you will see your orthodontist once or twice a month to check the movement of teeth readjust the pressures. During these visits, your orthodontist will monitor the progress of your treatment and perform necessary changes.