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How Braces Transform Dental Alignment

Last Updated: May 29, 2024
Young adult couple smiling with improved dental alignment following braces treatment at MP Orthodontics

Enhancing Bites and Smiles

Braces work to improve bite and dental alignment by gradually realigning teeth and jaws into their proper positions. A proper bite, or occlusion, is crucial for effective chewing, speaking, and optimal dental health. Braces address issues such as misaligned teeth, overcrowding, overbites, underbites, and crossbites, enhancing both dental function and aesthetics.

Braces consist of several components that work together

Brackets are small pieces attached to the front of each tooth using dental adhesive. Made from stainless steel or ceramic material, they act as anchors to hold the archwire in place.

Archwires are thin, flexible wires that connect the brackets. An orthodontist uses the archwire to apply gentle pressure on the teeth, gradually moving them into the desired position.

Elastics are tiny rubber bands (or ligatures) that connect the brackets to the archwire. They allow for precise control over tooth movement and bite correction.

Hooks and Springs are used in certain orthodontic cases. An orthodontist may use these additional components to guide specific teeth into their proper places.

Dr Martin Poon during orthodontic consultation with patient.

The process of how braces straighten crooked teeth

Assessment and Diagnosis

Before beginning treatment, the orthodontist assesses the patient’s dental and facial structure through X-rays and photographs. Orthodontists will also take dental impressions to assist with accurate treatment planning. This comprehensive evaluation helps determine the type and severity of orthodontic issues.

Treatment Planning

Based on the assessment, the orthodontist creates a personalised treatment plan. The plan outlines the specific tooth movements required to achieve the desired bite improvement. Most orthodontic treatments take between 6 – 24 months.

For complex cases, longer treatment times can be expected. The orthodontist will outline the expected treatment length although this can change depending on overall progress.

Placement of Brackets and Wires

Once the patient’s teeth are cleaned and prepared, the brackets are bonded to the teeth. A special dental adhesive is used and then cured to ensure proper attachment. The orthodontist then inserts the archwire through the brackets to create a pathway for controlled tooth movement.

Regular Adjustments

The orthodontist will schedule regular appointments to adjust the braces throughout the treatment. These adjustments are generally between 4 – 6 weeks.

During these appointments, the orthodontist will make adjustments to the archwire. These changes in pressure maintain progress and continue to straighten teeth into their correct positions.

Bone Remodeling

As pressure is applied to the teeth, bone remodelling takes place. This remodelling allows the teeth to move into their new, optimal positions. Bone remodelling happens gradually and is key to ensuring the long term stability of the corrected bite.

Elastic Wear and Bite Correction

In cases of malocclusion, elastics can help with proper alignment of the upper and lower jaws. These elastics create forces that encourage the jaws to align properly. Orthodontists use elastics to correct overbites, underbites, or crossbites.

Oral Hygiene

Orthodontic treatment of any type requires a well-structured dental hygiene routine. Braces trap food particles, which can lead to more significant dental issues if not managed appropriately. Brushing between meals and flossing regularly will ensure optimal oral health during treatment.


After finishing orthodontic treatment and achieving the desired bite, patients usually wear retainers to maintain the results. Retainers reduce the risk of teeth from shifting back to their original positions. During this time, the bone and surrounding tissues can stabilise to support the teeth.

The success of braces in improving a bite relies on patient compliance, consistent orthodontic appointments, and the expertise of the orthodontist. The process can take anywhere from several months to a few years, depending on the complexity of the case. While the visible changes to the bite and smile are evident, the underlying bone and soft tissue adjustments are equally important for long-term stability.

The process of orthodontic treatment addresses misalignments and bite issues. The process of shifting teeth into optimal position can have a positive effect on facial features. Planned correctly, patients can expect enhanced dental function, improved aesthetics, and overall oral health.

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