WE ALL KNOW THAT braces shift misaligned teeth into their proper position over time, but have you ever wondered exactly how that process works? Today, we’re going to walk you through it, because it’s actually really neat.
The Pieces Of The Braces Puzzle
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 Biology Of Shifting Dental Alignment
So what’s actually happening on the cellular level during orthodontic treatment? Specialized cells called osteoclasts and osteoblasts respond to the pressure around the periodontal membrane (the pocket of gum tissue connecting the tooth’s root to the jaw bone). Osteoclasts break down the bone tissue so that the tooth can move, while osteoblasts gradually form new bone tissue behind it. So it’s not just your teeth moving into position; your jaw bones are reshaping themselves too!
What About Retainers?
Your teeth still remember where they used to be for a while after the braces come off, which is why it’s so important for you to remember to wear your retainers as directed. Retainers will help your teeth get used to their new position, and they’ll prevent unrelated shifting that happens to most people naturally over the course of time.
Want To Learn More About Your Orthodontic Treatment?
If you have any questions about how your braces are working to give you that properly aligned, more functional smile you’ve always wanted, just give us a call, or ask us about it at your next appointment. We want all of our patients to have the information they need to feel confident in their treatment!
We love seeing our patients’ smiles!
WE KNOW THAT RUBBER ELASTICS are sometimes the most difficult part of having braces. They are, however, extremely important for improving your smile! Elastics work together with the brackets and wire in your braces to straighten your teeth and correct your bite.
Elastics Are A Key Part Of Your Orthodontic Treatment
The purpose of rubber bands is usually to correct an overbite or an underbite. They are also used to help move teeth in a way that braces may not be able to do alone.
Each patient receives a customized set of rubber bands, specifically catered to their treatment needs. When worn properly, these tiny rubber bands apply the steady pressure needed to move teeth into the correct position.
Make Sure To Wear Your Elastics Correctly
Here are some tips to remember when wearing elastics:
- Carry around extra rubber bands and replace them as soon as one breaks.
- Switch your rubber bands out one to two times per day, as they lose their elasticity with time.
- Do not double up on elastics. This can put too much pressure on teeth and set back your orthodontic progress.
- Wear as directed. Only take them off to eat, brush, or when instructed by your orthodontist.
- Practice consistency. The more diligent you are in wearing your elastics correctly, the sooner you’ll have your beautiful new smile!
Elastics Speed Up Treatment Time
Each smile is unique and we take pride in providing individualized care for your specific orthodontic needs. For many patients, elastics are essential in obtaining their new smile. If you have any questions about elastics or which orthodontic treatment options are right for you, schedule an appointment or leave a comment below!
Thank you for choosing us as your orthodontic practice. We appreciate you!
HAVING STRAIGHT TEETH isn’t just about looks! Did you know that there are several health benefits to having straight teeth? So, if you’re wondering whether or not to get braces, don’t just think about the aesthetic benefits. Think about all the things your straight teeth will do to improve your health!
Straight Teeth Are Easier To Clean
It’s difficult to get into the nooks and crannies between teeth when they are crooked or crowded, making flossing and brushing more difficult. Overlapping teeth can even trap food particles, leading to plaque buildup and a higher risk of tooth decay. Straight teeth allow for easier brushing and flossing and thus, less plaque!
Crooked Teeth May Cause More Frequent Headaches
Headaches and neck pain are much more common in those with crooked teeth. This is because crooked teeth place stress on the gums and bone structure that support teeth. Jaw misalignment, which can be corrected by orthodontic treatment, is also a big contributor to chronic headaches as well as face or neck pain.
Eating Is Easier With Straight Teeth
Did you know that crooked or crowded teeth may compromise chewing? Misaligned and crowded teeth often reduce the effective surface area available for chewing food. This can place unnecessary stress on your jaw which can lead to pain and discomfort.
Crooked teeth can also cause abnormal tooth wear. Tooth on tooth pressure, especially when uneven, can cause cracks and chips in teeth. Such wear and tear over time can be detrimental to tooth enamel and may require special treatment to repair.
Your Overall Health Is Also Benefited
Put simply, straight teeth make keeping your pearly whites clean much easier and more manageable. Better oral hygiene prevents gum disease and tooth decay. Decreased plaque also reduces your risk for bigger health problems, such as heart disease and diabetes.
Straight Smile, Healthy You!
Not only do straight teeth improve your oral and overall health, a corrected smile is shown to improve self-esteem and confidence—which in turn leads to various other health benefits. So remember, your braces do more than just beautify your smile, they’re giving rise to a healthier, happier you!
Thank you for your continued loyalty to our practice!
WHILE MANY THINK BRACES are for correcting misaligned adult teeth, you may be surprised to learn that orthodontics can help correct your child’s bite before their adult teeth even come in!
Baby Teeth Play an Important Role in Oral Health
Primary teeth—more commonly known as baby teeth—play a key role in your child’s oral health. Besides providing an aesthetic appeal to your child’s smile and boosting their self-esteem, primary teeth have three main functions:
- They aid in proper chewing, fostering good nutrition
- They promote proper speech development
- They reserve a space for permanent teeth to grow in
If a primary tooth falls out or must be removed before its time due to decay, the surrounding teeth may shift into the gap, causing dental crowding and future orthodontic problems.
Seven Is the Perfect Age for an Orthodontic Visit
The American Association of Orthodontists and Dr. Chris Wermerson recommends that all children have an orthodontic exam at the earliest signs of any orthodontic issue, but no later than age seven. Although not every child will need treatment that young, some may benefit from early intervention.
Much of the treatment that takes place at this age is called Phase 1 orthodontic treatment, usually occurring when a child still has a mix of primary and permanent, secondary teeth. During this phase, we seek to correct any problems that may be occurring with jaw growth and even address certain bite issues. This phase is generally followed by a second phase of treatment when all of the child’s permanent teeth have erupted.
Beginning two phase treatment while your child still has primary teeth can have numerous benefits and can even reduce the time needed for a full set of braces.
Early Orthodontic Intervention Can Prevent Future Problems
Whether or not your child is showing signs of misaligned teeth, seven is the perfect age for them to come in for an orthodontic evaluation. Orthodontic treatment isn’t always necessary if there’s a space in your little one’s primary teeth or baby teeth, but we can help you determine the best plan for your child’s growing smile.
Thank you for trusting us with your family’s oral health! We love our patients.
EVERYONE’S TEETH ARE DIFFERENT. Some people’s adult teeth come in early, some come in late. In rare cases, not all of the adult teeth will come in on their own, which could be because they’re trapped beneath the gums.
Overcrowding is a fairly common issue for adult teeth, but sometimes when there isn’t room for a new tooth to come in, it stays partially or fully under the gums instead. This happens most often with wisdom teeth, which can actually endanger the roots of neighboring molars when they are crooked or sideways in the jaw.
After wisdom teeth, the most likely teeth to be impacted are the upper canines. Research has shown that these tend to pop up more frequently in families. Usually only one of the canines is impacted, but sometimes they both are. The reason this happens to the upper canines is that they come in after the incisors and premolars next to them, which don’t always leave them enough room.
The Problems When Teeth Can’t Come In
Typical complications of impacted teeth include cavities, infections, gum disease, and nerve damage, with symptoms like bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, pain and tenderness around the jaw, headaches and jaw aches, swollen gums or lymph nodes, and visible gaps between teeth.
Not everyone with an impacted tooth will experience these symptoms, however. With an impacted canine, the baby tooth might not even loosen because nothing’s pushing at it. This can have a significant impact on a person’s face and smile, because canine teeth have the longest roots and form the “corners” of the smile, as well as providing protection and support for the teeth around them.
Putting An Impacted Tooth In Its Place
There isn’t usually a way to prevent a tooth from becoming impacted, but an impacted wisdom tooth can be removed, and an impacted canine can be moved into its proper place with the assistance of oral surgery and orthodontic treatment. After the impacted tooth is discovered in dental X-rays, the orthodontist can decide how best to proceed.
Think You Might Have An Impacted Tooth?
Do you or someone you know have an impacted canine tooth? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Chris Wermerson so that we can take a look and come up with a plan to move that tooth out of the gums where it’s hiding and into the place it belongs!
Here at Wermerson Orthodontics we’re happy to help you get the smile of your dreams!
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