How Do Braces Work ? We Explain in Detail !

How do braces work? Anyone who wants to know about “how do braces work” asks this question. Braces are intended to improve individual teeth and the upper and lower jaw about one another. Fixed braces remain in the mouth until the end of the treatment. Good dental care is then particularly important.

How do fixed braces work?

Fixed braces usually consist of bands and eyelets made of metal – so-called brackets – and an archwire. The archwire runs around the row of teeth like a railing. It is held in place by the brackets that are glued to the outside of the teeth. At the side, it can be fixed to one or more molars with a metal band. There are also more inconspicuous types of braces – for example, with ceramic brackets.

The archwire pulls or pushes the teeth in the desired direction. As a result, the jawbones and the tooth support system gradually adapt. The orthodontist re-tensions the wire at regular check-ups or exchanges it for a new one. For example, a crooked tooth can be straightened over time.

The pull or pressure can be increased, for example with additional elastic bands. Elastic bands can be useful to straighten a tooth tilted backwards or bring the lower jaw forward a little. Children and young people can also hang and unhook the elastic cords themselves between two brackets. Brackets in the upper row of teeth can also be connected to the brackets in the lower jaw.

What are the advantages?

The compressive and tensile force of fixed braces can move the teeth well in different directions. This allows the entire set of teeth to be changed.

If you have fixed braces, you don’t have to worry about whether and how often the braces should be worn: they stay in the mouth until the end of the treatment. It cannot slip out of your mouth while you sleep or exercise.

What are the downsides?

The fact that you cannot take the braces out can sometimes be a disadvantage. It is always visible when you smile and cannot be removed for a special occasion or photo.

Replacing the braces or tightening the wires can be uncomfortable or painful. The pain usually subsides after 24 hours or at the latest after a few days. If necessary, you can take a low-dose pain reliever for a short time to relieve the symptoms. Which pain reliever is suitable for this is best discussed with an orthodontist.

If you wear fixed braces, you have to be careful when eating: it is better to cut very hard foods into small pieces. Otherwise, they could damage the braces. Food debris can get stuck in the wires more easily, and tough and sticky foods like caramel can be difficult to remove. This makes dental care more difficult, which is already time-consuming, but very important with fixed braces so that the risk of tooth decay and inflammation of the gums does not increase.

In addition to thoroughly brushing your teeth with a normal or electric toothbrush, the spaces between the teeth should also be cleaned, for example with so-called interdental brushes or special dental floss. It is also important to attend check-ups and help with the treatment, for example, when attaching elastic bands.

What are the special features possible?

There are various special models that differ more from the usually fixed braces: In some, the braces of the upper teeth are connected to the lower jaw by a metal hinge. With this, you can still open and close your mouth normally. The hinge gradually brings a lower jaw that is too far back forward. If the upper jaw is too narrow overall, an arch can run along the roof of the palate between the metal strips to widen the upper jaw.

If the forces of normal braces are not sufficient, the tensile force can be transferred from the outside to the molars. For this purpose, a face bow (headgear) made of wire is hung on the metal straps attached to the molars for several hours a day. It pulls from the outside over the cheeks to the back of the head or neck and is fixed there with straps. There are other devices that influence the position of the jaw from the outside, such as the head and chin cap or a face mask.

Sometimes surgical interventions are also necessary, for example, if the jaw is very narrow. Then, for example, individual teeth are pulled to make room. The remaining teeth can then be distributed harmoniously in the jaw with the help of the braces. Braces are rarely anchored in the jawbone with small screws (implants). After the treatment, the braces and screws are removed.

What is the maintenance phase (retention phase)?

If a misalignment has been corrected, a maintenance phase (retention phase) follows: so-called retainers are intended to retain the result achieved after the active treatment phase and prevent the teeth from moving back into their original position. This would likely happen without a maintenance phase. In contrast to braces, retainers do not exert any force on the teeth: they are only intended to hold the teeth in their position.

Wires attached to the back of the teeth with plastic and remain in the mouth for several years are usually used as fixed retainers. There are models only for the incisors and models that also include the molars. For example, plate retainers that look like removable braces and are worn at night can be used as removable retainers.

How long maintenance therapy makes sense and which retainer is suitable is best discussed with your orthodontist. This also applies to the question of whether a fixed or removable retainer is more suitable.


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How do fixed braces work?

Fixed braces usually consist of bands and eyelets made of metal – so-called brackets – and an archwire. The archwire runs around the row of teeth like a railing. It is held in place by the brackets that are glued to the outside of the teeth. At the side, it can be fixed to one or more molars with a metal band. There are also more inconspicuous types of braces – for example, with ceramic brackets.

What are the advantages?

The compressive and tensile force of fixed braces can move the teeth well in different directions. This allows the entire set of teeth to be changed.
If you have fixed braces, you don’t have to worry about whether and how often the braces should be worn: they stay in the mouth until the end of the treatment. It cannot slip out of your mouth while you sleep or exercise.

What are the downsides?

The fact that you cannot take the braces out can sometimes be a disadvantage. It is always visible when you smile and cannot be removed for a special occasion or photo.
Replacing the brace or tightening the wires can be uncomfortable or painful. The pain usually subsides after 24 hours or at the latest after a few days. If necessary, you can take a low-dose pain reliever for a short time to relieve the symptoms. Which pain reliever is suitable for this is best discussed with an orthodontist.

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