The purpose of braces is, of course, to straighten your smile so that you’re healthier, happier, and more confident. To achieve this goal, braces are made up of several parts that work together. The braces themselves help straighten your teeth, while the rubber bands that are sometimes used help align your bite. As a local orthodontist in Zebulon, Dr. Laster has put together a detailed breakdown of the various parts included in braces.
Brackets Affix to the Teeth
Brackets are the small squares that get affixed to the sides of teeth. They create the foundation onto which other parts of braces can be secured, and most of the teeth that are being repositioned get a bracket affixed to them. Brackets are normally secured for as long as braces are needed, and they’re attached with a strong bonding that goes directly on a tooth’s enamel.
In the back of the mouth, bands might be used instead of brackets to affix to the molars. These serve the same purpose as brackets, but they wrap all the way around the tooth. They’re also secured in place with a dental bond.
Most brackets are made from stainless steel, which makes the brackets highly visible. A less-visible option is to use clear brackets made from ceramic rather than metal, but even these can become noticeable. All brackets are prone to trapping food around them, and ceramic ones might become stained over time depending on your diet and brushing habits.
If you’re looking for the least-visible treatment option available, clear aligners may be a suitable alternative to traditional braces. Zebulon clear aligners use a series of invisible trays to reposition the teeth. The trays can be removed when you eat, and they’re normally switched out every few weeks. As a result, these are much less noticeable than either stainless steel or ceramic brackets used for braces.
Archwire Connects Brackets and Bands
The archwire is the metal wire that attaches to the brackets and bands on the teeth, thus connecting all of the teeth along the wire. There is usually an archwire for the upper teeth and one for the lower teeth.
The adjustments made to an archwire are how braces actually reposition the teeth. When a bend is made in the wire, for example, the wire places a strain on the adjacent teeths’ brackets or bands that cause the teeth to shift in the desired direction. Wires can also be used to slide the teeth, such as when closing gaps between adjacent teeth or making room for a new tooth.
Since the archwire is made from metal, it also contributes to making braces more visible. This is another visual point of distinction between braces and clear aligners, the latter of which don’t have an archwire. Instead, clear aligners use the sleeves to reposition teeth.
Ligatures Secure the Archwire
Lastly, ligatures are used to secure the archwire in place. These secure the archwire to the brackets or bands, so the wire doesn’t move and is firmly affixed to the tooth for repositioning.
Most ligatures come as single plastic ligatures, which get individually attached to each bracket or band. There also are connected elastic ligatures and wire ligatures for certain situations, though.
Ligatures are one of the more fun aspects of braces, for single elastic ligatures and connected ligatures come in many different colors. Whenever the ligatures are replaced, which happens at most braces appointments, you can select a different color scheme from the available options. Show your love for a team, choose your favorite color, or match your outfit on a special day. There’s no shortage of different ways to make your brackets look good with differently colored ligatures.
At Laster Orthodontics, we help families develop healthy, life-changing smiles using customized treatments, cutting-edge technologies, and caring relationships. Our individualized treatment plans help our patients achieve their perfect smile in the quickest, most painless way possible by utilizing a wide range of options from traditional braces to propel accelerated treatment to Dr. Laster’s in-house aligner program, Laster Perfect Smile. With three locations throughout the Triangle Area, we create life-changing smiles every day.