Braces: The Inner Workings

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Malocclusion, or crooked teeth and a misaligned bite, is a common issue. Some people’s teeth come in crooked, overlapping, or crooked. This may occur when a person’s mouth it too small for their teeth, which causes crowding. Other times, a person may have upper and lower jaws that aren’t the same size or that did not form correctly. This can cause an overbite or an underbite. If you have malocclusion, Dr. Nelson and Dr. Lee may recommend braces in Maple Valley, Snoqualmie, and North Bend, Washington.

Braces move the teeth towards their ideal positions by continuously applying pressure to the teeth over a period of time. When the teeth move, the supporting bone changes shape because of the applied pressure. Braces are made up of many components, including:

Brackets – Small squares that are bonded to the front of each tooth or are attached using orthodontic bands. Brackets hold the arch wires in place that move the teeth. Brackets are occasionally bonded to the back of the teeth, for a more discreet option.

Orthodontic bands – Stainless steel, clear, or tooth-colored materials that wrap around each tooth to provide an anchor for the brackets. Orthodontic bands are cemented to the teeth. Orthodontic bands are not used in every case. Some patients have brackets without orthodontic bands.

Elastics or rubber bands – Are attached to hooks on the brackets and worn between the upper and lower teeth. They move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve proper fit of individual teeth.

Arch wires – Metal or tooth-colored wires that attach to the brackets and guide the movement of the teeth.

We welcome you to contact Kirby Nelson Orthodontics today for more information and to schedule an appointment with our orthodontists.