Great question! Tooth movement is your body’s natural response to light pressure applied by braces over a period of time (usually two years). Braces work by using brackets that are glued onto your teeth; these brackets have small slots, and that is where Drs. Jessica Chiang, Jocelyn Lee, Amy Chen, and Jessie Chang and our team insert orthodontic wires. These wires are held in place by small elastic ties that fit around the brackets. As time passes during your treatment, these wires apply pressure on your teeth, which sets in motion the movement of your teeth into their desired positions. Each of your teeth has a different size and shape to them, as do the brackets. Each bracket is custom-made for the particular tooth on which it’s supposed to fit.
Not long ago, orthodontists had stainless steel wires and that was about it. Today, however, we have a number of different high-tech wires at our disposal to move your teeth faster and more comfortably.
When you first get your braces on, the first wire or two will typically be very flexible, but still strong enough to apply a constant force on your teeth. As your teeth straighten out over time, however, Drs. Jessica Chiang, Jocelyn Lee, Amy Chen, and Jessie Chang will use progressively thicker and firmer wires to help move your teeth in place for an ideal bite.
Every time you visit our office for an adjustment, we will swap out the wires in order to keep putting pressure on your teeth, which is why it’s so important for you to keep your adjustment visits during your treatment. Most adjustment appointments are scheduled four to eight weeks apart to give your teeth time to move.
As for rubber bands and elastics, most of our patients will need to wear elastics or rubber bands at some point during their treatments. These elastics typically go from one or more of the upper braces to one or more of the lower braces, and pull on your teeth to move them in the direction they need to move in order to achieve an optimal bite.
If you have any questions about wires, brackets, or elastics, or have any general questions about your treatment, please give us a call at our San Mateo office.