How do braces work, and how do they fix your teeth?

how do braces work

Last Updated on: 21st December 2023, 02:07 am

How do braces work?

The object of work of orthodontics is the study, diagnosis, and treatment of dentomaxillofacial anomalies, based on the use and control established by the clinician through different fixed or removable appliances. The action of the appliances that are attached to the teeth creates stress states on them and the alveolar bone, which are intended to produce changes in the spatial position of the teeth to improve the functionality and aesthetics of the entire masticatory system (occlusion).

The adequate understanding of the three-dimensional control exerted by the brackets adhered to the buccal surface of the teeth, through their rectangular grooves and the systems of forces (F) that are transmitted through wires, elastomeric or metallic springs through activation cycles and deactivation, allow predicting, with precision, how and in which direction they will move, avoiding unnecessary and repetitive movements that cause irreparable damage, increasing the chances of success and minimizing the duration of treatment

Two systems of F are equivalent when acting on a rigid body (the teeth), both are expressed in terms of the same resulting F and M. This situation is a common occurrence in orthodontics. When the F and couplings produced by the square and rectangular wires with torsion in the brackets’ grooves (torque) intentionally create stress situations on a tooth or groups of teeth, without the need to act directly on the center of resistance (CR) of the tooth or assembly.

Characteristics of a force 

Forcing a bite while having a braces
Forcing a bite while having a braces


  • It can cause the deformation of the body on which it is acting (traction or compression).
  • May cause translation or displacement of the body.
  • May cause body rotation (M).
  • F’s can be presented in pairs (couplings or torque).
  • Whenever an F is applied, there is a reaction (anchoring)

Traditional braces realign teeth by applying pressure. In general, these are small brackets attached to the teeth, connected by a wire, which the dentist or orthodontist periodically tightens to move the teeth and jaw gradually.

Variety of Brackets and their physical properties in orthodontic treatment

  • Traditional metal appliances.
  • CERAMIC appliances.
  • Self-ligating devices.
  • Invisalign – Invisible braces.

Traditional orthodontic appliances 

Traditional orthodontic appliances have evolved from their first uses and are now lighter in structure and weight than before. They are made of high-quality stainless steel and are attached to each tooth with a special type of dental cement. Orthodontic appliances are attached to each other with a thin arch of wire that applies pressure to the teeth to help them move slowly into the correct position.

The archwires are attached to the braces with small elastics known as ligatures or O-rings, which your orthodontist will change each time the braces are adjusted. Some types of braces do not require O-rings and are known as self-ligating braces.

Ceramic orthodontic appliances 

Ceramic braces
Ceramic Braces

These braces work just like traditional braces but are made of transparent ceramic material. They are less visible to others, making them a popular choice for adults in need of orthodontic treatment. From time to time, patients who wear these types of braces may notice that the elastics become discolored, which can lead to marks on the teeth, according to the orthodontic practice of Drs. William and Lewis Chapman. Your orthodontist may recommend using fluoride mouthwashes to help protect your teeth against cavities.

The most used today are ceramic brackets and sapphire brackets. The former is presented in tooth color, and the sapphire ones are transparent (they are made with sapphire combined with zirconia powder). Both these and others are camouflaged with most of the teeth, especially, if you do not have perfectly white teeth.

When it comes to choosing between ceramic and metal braces, ceramic braces are often preferred for their transparent elastic ligatures. However, it is crucial to exercise caution while consuming certain foods that have the potential to discolor or stain the gums. Examples of such foods include coffee, tea, red wine, and those containing food coloring.

Objectively, and considering the aesthetic aspect, porcelain brackets are of inferior quality to sapphire ones.

And it is that, although years ago ceramics were the most used, the truth is that, today, sapphire brackets are the natural evolution of porcelain ones.

The supposed discretion of the so-called cosmetic porcelain braces is not 100% real.

The white color does not last the entire time of treatment but rather stains over the months.

The pros and cons of Porcelain: 


  • Price
  • Treatment with porcelain brackets is cheaper, as the sapphire crystal is a better material and therefore more expensive.


  • Endurance
  • Although whenever you have any fixed orthodontic system, it is necessary to be careful with the food, porcelain brackets are a little less resistant
  • Esthetic
  • Due to the opaque characteristics of the material with which they are made, the absence of daze, which is the way the light hits the ceramic brackets, makes them look yellowish.
  • In addition, this type of porcelain loses its original white over the months, acquiring stains that detract from the smile’s aesthetics.
  • However, this does not happen with sapphire braces since they do not stain.
  • Since they are completely transparent, they allow light to pass through, revealing the actual color of the tooth.

Damon braces How Do Braces Work

This type of braces is one of the most popular among orthodontists because it provides gentler treatment and requires fewer visits to the dentist. Damon braces are self-ligating and work with a self-ligating mechanism instead of elastics to connect the archwires.

These braces produce faster results, as the teeth can move on their own without the need for adjustment. This produces less friction and pressure on the teeth, making movement less painful. This type of braces is also easier to keep clean. Fewer visits to the dentist also mean that the process costs less time and money.

Removable clear aligners

Invisalign is a type of clear aligner that you can use in place of metal braces or Damon braces. They involve a series of clear plastic aligners that look just like mouth guards and are made especially for you. They can be removed for eating and cleaning and are changed for a new aligner every two weeks. Each new aligner takes teeth fitting one step further.

Clear aligners are also recommended for continued use after the completion of your orthodontic treatment. These devices help maintain the results you want until your teeth have established and finished moving.

Age at which Invisalign should be used 

The Invisalign system is indicated for any orthodontic correction treatment. This type of invisible orthodontics can sometimes be related to adulthood, intuiting that children should wear traditional metal braces, but this is not true, Invisalign is suitable for any age.

 In the same way, invisible orthodontics with Invisalign is especially indicated for pathologies related to dental malposition and different degrees of malocclusions. Some of the aesthetic and functional problems that invisible orthodontics can correct with Invisalign are the following: Crowding, open bite, and crossbite, crooked teeth, interdental spaces, etc.

 The constant improvements in the plastic materials used in orthodontics, in conjunction with technological improvements, allow the progressive implementation of techniques better accepted by patients, especially concerning the visual perception of the appliances used and the comfort of practically invisible means available today.

Contact us: How Do Braces Work

It is recommended to young people, adults, or children and their parents who take into account the good health of their oral cavity, consequently, of their teeth, take into consideration this article from Channel Islands Family Dental to go to the best-accredited place with good references, as well as the best place on the web to learn about the world of oral health.

If you have any questions about this or other topics, you can contact us at Channel Islands Family Dental, as well as on our Facebook page. At Channel Islands Family Dental, we will be attentive to your visit to make a timely diagnosis. Besides, our dentists in Oxnard, Santa Paula, Ventura, and  Port Hueneme will be able to guide you to the best treatment to give you back your best smile.


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  1. ¿Cuáles son los diferentes tipos de aparatos de ortodoncia y cuál es el mejor para mí? COLGATE.
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