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Orthodontic Materials and Procedures

Now that you have decided to go to the orthodontist and start treatment, you might wonder:

How do braces work?

Braces use steady, gentle pressure over time to move teeth into their proper positions.  They don’t look like they’re doing much just sitting there.  But, in fact, every moment of your orthodontic treatment, there is something happening in your mouth.  Something good for you.  The brackets we place on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them, are the two main components.  The bracket is a piece of specially shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. 

Then we bend the archwire to reflect your ideal bite – what we want you to look like after treatment. The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to actually move your teeth.  Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone.  With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way.  The tooth moves.  New bone grows in behind. It may look like nothing is happening – but we’re making a new smile here. 

Thanks to new materials and procedures, all this happens quicker than ever before.  It’s kind of an engineering feat.  And with your cooperation, together we will make a beautiful smile!

Spacers (separators)  & Molar Bands

After we take your molds and panoramic image, we place separators, which are small elastic rings, in between teeth that may require a band (metal ring that goes around the entire tooth).  Patients say that the separator  "feel like having a piece of food stuck between your teeth".  They push the teeth apart slightly so it is easier to slide the band down around the tooth.  The molar bands, known as the anchor bands, will sometimes be placed around the 4 molars, and will secure the wire in place.


Braces :  Clear or Metal? 

Clear brackets are a personal choice and considered a cosmetic option.  Additional fees apply should you choose this type of bracket. Please note that clear braces may stain over time and require replacement.

Metal brackets are used for most standard treatments, and are less likely to break.


"Clear and Metal"

A combination of Clear on the upper arch and Metal on the lower arch may be used depending on how your teeth bite together.

Archwires and Colored Elastic Ties

Our office utilizes the latest orthodontic technology in the wires that move the teeth.  They are called "Super Elastic" and "Thermal Sensitive".  Tooth movement has traditionally been done with stainless steel wires.  These are very effective, but are stiff and only let the orthodontist move teeth in small increments.  The newer wires are a "Nickel Titanium heat created alloy".  These are very soft and pliable.  These allow teeth to be moved more comfortably and more effectively with fewer adjustments.  Our patients and parents love these wires as they get more done with fewer visits to the office.  They usually result in a shorter treatment.



Colored elastic ties (if you so desire) are then placed over the braces   As you can see, there is a variety of color available and glow in the dark!

Orthodontic Wax

Orthodontic wax can provide temporary relief and discomfort from a broken bracket, sharp edge, or a poking or broken wire.  Apply a small amount of wax to the area that is giving you discomfort.  Should you have no wax available, we recommend chewing a couple of sticks of SUGARLESS gum, then applying the gum to the irritated area.  Call the office to schedule an appointment if pain persists.



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