How Orthodontics Works: Braces

March 11, 2020

Successful orthodontic treatment depends on three things pressure, time and cooperation. Braces – a fixed orthodontic appliance typically comprised of brackets, bands and wires – put pressure on teeth to gradually move them into the correct position over time. Patient cooperation is needed by keeping teeth clean, avoiding food items that break the brackets, limiting sugary drinks, visiting the general dentist every 3-6 months and wearing elastics as prescribed by the orthodontist.

Patients with braces typically visit the orthodontist every six-to-ten-weeks, until teeth are aligned properly. These maintenance visits ensure teeth are moving correctly and allow your orthodontist to adjust treatment and tooth movement as needed. 

Depending on the complexity of the case, a short-term touch up can take just a few months, while comprehensive treatment including bite correction, could last several years.

Other appliances and tools – such as a palatal expander, temporary anchorage devices (TADs), rubber bands – may also be incorporated in your treatment to help speed up the process or improve the result.

After teeth are in the correct position, the braces and other appliances will be removed. Patients are often fitted for a removable/and or permanent retainer to help teeth stay put for years to come.

But aren’t braces old school?

While braces are often considered the traditional approach, there’s a reason the appliance has been a trusted treatment option for decades – they work. Especially for complex cases. Why? Well, because braces are a fixed appliance, they allow for greater control and more detailed tooth movement.

Considering treatment?

Your orthodontist will evaluate your bite and determine the best appliance for you.

If braces are the recommendation, you can rest assured AAO orthodontists have used this traditional form of treatment for decades with much success.

Trust an AAO orthodontist

You can work with an American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) Orthodontist to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile at any age. Orthodontists are experts in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics – properly aligned teeth and jaws – and possess the skills and experience to give you your best smile. Find an orthodontist near you at aaoinfo.org/locator.