How Braces Work to Straighten Your Teeth

We have put this guide together to help you make the best choice when it comes to your orthodontic treatment. Below, you will find information about how braces work as well as answers to any questions that you may have. Keep reading to find out what you can expect from orthodontic treatment. 

Traditional braces date back to the 18th century by French dentist Pierre Fauchard as a method of straightening teeth. Over the years, orthodontists have enhanced the experience of wearing braces to create a process that uses constant, gentle pressure that moves the teeth into their proper positions over time.



With traditional braces, we use various components and technologies to straighten your teeth:


A bracket is an individual ceramic or metal “brace” that connects to each of your teeth with dental bonding glue.


The archwire is a thin metal wire that threads through each bracket with the purpose of applying gentle pressure and moving your teeth into their ideal alignment.


Elastic ties (also known as elastic rings, ligature elastics, or donuts), are used to hold the archwire to the brackets. The ties come in a variety of colors, and you have the option to switch up your colors every time you visit the orthodontist.


Rubber bands are used in the cases that require just a little bit more pressure to straighten and direct your teeth into their proper alignment. The bands connect from brackets on the upper teeth and hook to brackets on the lower teeth.


Additional tools–  tubes, hooks, loops, springs, steel ties, and bite correctors–  are often used for some special cases. If these are necessary for your specific treatment, our office will ensure that you understand exactly what’s happening every step of the process.


Through a process named, “bone remodeling,” the braces apply constant, but gentle, pressure against the teeth with the goal of encouraging your bones to adapt to the new shape. Ultimately, the hope is to hold your teeth in their new alignment for the rest of your life.


Bone remodeling works with the use of brackets and archwire. These two items work to move your teeth into the corrected position. As your teeth form into their new positions, we change to thicker archwires, and we tighten your brackets aiming to apply additional pressure and consistently shift your teeth into correct alignment.


After your teeth have shifted into the corrected position, we provide you with retainers in order to hold both your top and bottom teeth in place while the bone tissue around your teeth and jaws fully adapts to this new tooth positioning. If you wear your retainer the way it is intended, your new and improved smile will last for a lifetime! 


It typically takes 3-5 days for the bone remodeling process to start once your traditional braces are set and in place. As your teeth begin to adjust with the added pressure in your mouth, you may feel sore. This should only last the first few days.  After the process gets going, it will take about three months for the bone to begin remodeling, and it typically takes 1-3 years in order to fully stabilize the new bone and build that new smile.


Here Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, you have the option to choose from two types of braces for your teeth:

1. Traditional Metal Braces

Traditional metal braces are a combination of both brackets and wire work, which work together to push and pull your teeth into their correct alignment. The archwire uses ligatures (or elastics, or o-rings) to connect to these brackets. The elastics come in a wide variety of fun colors. You can swap out these colors at each appointment, if you so choose.

2. Clear Braces

Clear braces, also known as transparent braces, are very similar to metal braces, however, the brackets are created from a sapphire material instead of metal. This transparent material is much much less noticeable than metal braces are.

Differences Between Braces vs. Invisalign

It’s important to understand the differences between braces and Invisalign so you can make the decision that’s best for your lifestyle:


  • Consist of metal or ceramic brackets on your teeth and an archwire that connects the brackets.
  • Use constant, gentle pressure to move your teeth into the proper positions over time.
  • Required to visit orthodontist every 6-8 weeks for follow-up visits to check on progress and adjust wires.
  • Must avoid list of foods (outlined above).


  • Consist of a series of clear, customized and removable aligners.
  • Swap out aligners every week in order to gradually move teeth into alignment over time.
  • Ability to remove aligners while eating, brushing, and flossing.
  • Required to visit orthodontist every 12 weeks for check-up appointments.

In terms of orthodontic braces cost , braces and Invisalign cost the exact same amount of money. There is typically no difference in treatment time, unless a patient is noncompliant with wearing his or her Invisalign aligners the required 22 hours per day. This can prolong treatment with Invisalign and add to the cost of braces.

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