Despite the wide variety of options available for patients today, traditional braces are still the most popular and widely used method for orthodontic treatment worldwide. Braces provide Dr. Bloom with a high degree of control and flexibility, which can lead to the most efficient treatment, in some instances. With its long history in orthodontics come decades of research and clinical studies, keeping traditional braces at the forefront of innovation and treatment modalities.
How long will I need to wear braces?
The length of time in braces varies depending on the patient’s individual needs and concerns. However, due to the exceptional properties of our wires, many patients start noticing significant changes within the first few months! Of course, there is more to a beautiful smile than just straight teeth. During your initial consultation, Dr. Bloom will use your 3D scan to show you exactly what he sees and what needs to happen during the course of treatment to deliver a big, beautiful smile. This will include adjusting and correcting the bite, making room for teeth, aligning the teeth, closing spaces, and crafting a beautiful smile arc (ask him what that means!). For some patients, this means that treatment can be completed in as little as 6 months. However, on average full orthodontic treatment will take anywhere from 12-18 months. During your complimentary consultation, Dr. Bloom will let you know precisely how long he thinks treatment will take and will even give you a few tips that can help increase the speed of treatment!
What exactly are braces?
The term ”braces” actually refers to a system of precisely engineered brackets, wires, and elastic bands that, when placed correctly on the teeth, will apply gentle and consistent forces to the teeth. Here are a few of the components of our braces and how each of them is used to move teeth:
Brackets: All orthodontic brackets have the same fundamental design - the back portion called the pad that allows the bracket to stick to the tooth and the slot that holds the wire. The slot must be engineered to exact dimensions so that the wire can move the teeth in a predictable way. Brackets can be made of stainless steel, ceramic, or gold.
Wires: While a lot of attention is placed on what bracket is used for treatment, Dr. Bloom feels that the wires are the true MVP of traditional braces. That’s why he predominately uses wires made of an advanced nickel-titanium alloy, capable of applying gentle force to the teeth with incredible precision.
Ligatures: When the wires are placed into the brackets, they need something to hold them in place. That’s the job of those colorful circles often seen on braces, also called ligatures or o-ties. While many of our patients love experimenting with different colors, we also have gray or tooth-colored ligatures as a less noticeable option.
Powerchains: Powerchains look very similar to ligatures, but instead of individual circles each of those circles are connected to form a stretchy chain. These chains are used to close spaces, or to simply keep spaces closed. They also come in a variety of colors or the patient can choose gray or tooth-colored.
Elastics or rubber bands: Elastics are used with braces or Invisalign® to correct the bite. There are many different ways to wear rubber bands, depending on your particular bite and orthodontic issues. When worn as instructed, they can significantly reduce the amount of time a patient is in treatment.
Bracket Glue: How do braces stay on the teeth? Dr. Bloom and his team use a very strong composite resin, specifically designed for orthodontics, to bond the brackets to the teeth. When it is time to remove the braces, the brackets are removed with a special tool, and any excess glue is gently polished off the teeth. It is a quick process that only takes about 10 minutes.
How do braces move teeth?
An even better question might be, how can teeth move at all if they are anchored to our jaw bones? As it turns out, our bodies are breaking down and building up bone all the time! Our bodies have cells called osteoclasts that can be stimulated to break down bone and send all the calcium stored in our bones to our bloodstream. Then, using new calcium and other minerals from our food, different cells called osteoblasts will build new bone to replace the old. This is one way our body is able to keep our skeleton strong, repair injuries, and regulate the amount of vitamins and minerals in our bodies. In essence, orthodontic tooth movement is using this process of bone remodeling to push and pull teeth into an ideal position. Watch this video from MIT to learn more about orthodontic tooth movement: