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How Braces Work

A person’s smile plays an important role in their self-image. Crooked teeth, extra spacing, or an over or underbite can negatively impact your speech and cause anxiety about smiling in social situations.

Boca Dental and Braces can address these issues and help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile! When teeth are crowded or crooked, they create hidden nooks and crannies that can cause bacterial buildup.

Brackets are small square metal pieces bonded to each tooth’s center. Today’s brackets are smaller and sleeker than those used a generation ago, or even 10 years ago. These brackets hold the archwire that applies force to the teeth to move them into the correct positions.

There are many types of brackets, including traditional metal, clear (or ceramic), and lingual braces that go on the inside surface of your teeth. Your orthodontist will help you determine which type of bracket is right for you.

Most orthodontic patients wear an archwire during treatment. The archwire is a long piece of metal that runs along the top and lower teeth, connecting all your brackets. The archwire provides the pressure that shifts your teeth into their new positions.

The shape of the archwire will change throughout your treatment as it shifts to generate different levels of pressure on your teeth to correct specific issues. The archwire is anchored into brackets with ligature elastics (or rubber bands) attached to the bracket hooks. The elastics create a loop in the archwire to close gaps between teeth or apply extra force to correct an overbite, underbite, etc.

The ligature elastics can also be changed to a different color to help make your smile more fun and interesting! They are available in various colors, so your orthodontist can use them to create unique styles. Another way to add some flair to your smile is with the use of a power chain, which provides additional force to the teeth by attaching to the brackets and connecting to the archwire. This is useful for those with more severe misalignment that require more force to produce results.

Braces gently place pressure on teeth to guide them into their correct positions. They can also use elastics to apply more force in a certain direction or help align your bite.

Elastics, more commonly known as rubber bands, stretch over tiny hooks on the top and bottom brackets – or small clear buttons attached to a few teeth in the case of clear aligners – and may be made of latex or synthetic material for those with allergies. While not every patient will require rubber bands, they can help speed up aligning your bite and give you a more confident smile faster.

When your orthodontist recommends using elastics, they’ll explain which bands are best for you. They might also provide a timetable for when to wear them since consistent use is the key to their effectiveness.

Classes of elastics vary in shape and size. For example, class 1 elastics are a horizontal band that runs across the upper or lower teeth. Class 2 elastics cross the teeth from molar to molar, helping to close a gap in between. Class 3 elastics pull the lower teeth forward and push the upper teeth back to fix an overbite.

While there’s a trend among some patients to create their own DIY orthodontic elastics out of hair ties and other household items, it’s not recommended. Using the wrong elastics could damage your teeth or increase your treatment time. If you have a question about when to use an elastic or have run out altogether, contact us immediately, and we’ll be sure to get more delivered to your home as soon as possible. Ligatures

In writing and typography, ligatures are combinations of letters treated as a single glyph. They solve problems that occur when certain characters have difficulty connecting smoothly with each other. For example, the end of the hook[1] on a lowercase f often encroaches on or collides with the title [2] over the I, which can cause an unpleasant visual clash. In addition to helping the letters fit together better, ligatures also contribute to consistency and harmony in the overall appearance of a font.

While ligatures have their supporters and detractors, many type designers offer standard and contextual ligatures in their fonts. For example, Ross explains that in his font Gimlet, he has chosen not to include standard ligatures for lowercase f because he feels they can often look “finicky.” Instead, he uses the character’s shape to help it connect with other ligatures with similar characteristics (like fi or fl).

Healthline reports that elastic ligatures are used at some point during almost all treatments with braces. They serve various purposes, from closing spaces between teeth to fixing bad bites. These tiny bands are often colored and can be replaced several times daily. While Portland orthodontists generally use latex rubber bands, some patients are allergic to them so that they can be replaced with synthetic options.

Stylistic ligatures differ from standard ligatures because they don’t replace the original characters but rather modify their spacing to create a more harmonious appearance. They are based on handwriting and manuscripts, but the context of the text can also influence them. For instance, if you’re using an open-type font, you can use the Glyphs Panel to apply stylistic ligatures to specific words or entire paragraphs.

The archwire runs through your brackets and is the mechanism by which pressure is applied to help move your teeth into alignment. Arch wires can be made of different materials depending on your treatment. Some archwires are softer and more flexible than others; some have small coil springs inside to add extra pressure, while other wires are straighter and thicker, but they all work the same way by applying gentle, continuous pressure on your teeth over time.

Orthodontic archwires have evolved over the last 20 years. Stainless steel wires have become more sophisticated with smaller, smoother, and more precise wire slots that accurately apply controlled force. This allows for the exact positioning of crooked teeth and prevents unwanted rotations or tilting of premolars and incisors.

The shape of archwires has also changed from round to square and rectangular to beveled edges for better fit into the brackets. Also, the material has changed from gold to various types of stainless steel, nickel, titanium, and beta-titanium wires. There are also aesthetic archwires painted or coated to make the wireless visible.

Another new archwire development uses nanoparticles to create a dry lubricant that decreases friction between the wire and the bracket. This reduces plaque buildup, which could lead to gingivitis or periodontitis, and makes it much easier for patients to maintain proper oral hygiene during orthodontic treatment.

A few distinct types of elastics are used in conjunction with braces to help treat misalignment of the teeth and bites. Elastics, or rubber bands, apply additional pressure to certain mouth areas to move teeth into their correct positions. They are especially helpful in treating misalignment issues like overbite, underbite, and crossbite. They also reduce the overall length of treatment for many patients.

While they look a little like those rubber hair ties that some people use to create DIY braces, orthodontic elastics are designed specifically for the needs of a patient and are usually made from strong, medical-grade latex (or an alternative material for those with latex allergies) that is safe in contact with the inside of the mouth. They are small, thin bands hooked to a specific number of brackets in different configurations and at various angles to produce the proper force to move teeth into their desired position.

Generally, two main types of elastics are used with braces: Class 1 and Class 2. Both work to close gaps between teeth and help align the upper and lower teeth over time. Class 1 elastics attach from the upper first or second molar hook to the upper cuspid hook and use moderate forces to achieve the right alignment. Class 2 elastics are a bit more aggressive and can reduce an overbite by retracting the upper teeth and moving the lower teeth forward.

Your orthodontist will decide on the appropriate elastics for your treatment and instruct you on how to wear them correctly. Adhering strictly to the instructions is important because wearing them incorrectly can prevent teeth from moving as they should and prolong your treatment time. It’s a good idea to carry extra elastics and replace them when they break or become worn out.