To understand the science of braces, we first need to understand the components that make them up. First, there are the brackets, usually made of metal or ceramic. The bracket is the part of the braces attached to each tooth and is held in place by a bonding material that keeps the brackets firmly attached to your teeth over the course of treatment.
One of the most important pieces is the archwire. This thin piece of metal is placed over the brackets and puts pressure on the teeth, giving them the direction they need to become aligned and straight.
The ligature elastic (or “o-ring”) is a small, coloured elastic that holds the bracket onto the archwire. These elastics are changed at each adjustment visit. Some types of brackets do not need elastic ligatures, however, and are actually self-ligating.
How Do Braces Straighten Our Teeth?
Anyone who has had braces knows that the process involves a bit of pressure. The component that exerts that gentle pressure on your teeth is the archwire. The light but constant force that is applied causes the teeth to move, slowly but surely, into their proper positions. But how, exactly?
The scientific word for what is actually happening to your teeth is called bone remodeling. Under the gumline, your teeth are surrounded by the periodontal membrane, sometimes called the periodontal ligament or PDL. When the archwire puts pressure on your teeth, the periodontal membrane stretches on one side and is compressed on the other. This loosens the tooth.
In response to this pressure and movement, the body sends cells called osteoclasts to break down the jaw bone. The body then sends in bone building cells, called osteoblasts, to rebuild the jaw bone into a new shape that lets the periodontal membrane hold teeth in the new position.
A Smile That You Can Be Proud Of
Having a perfectly aligned smile can affect the way you speak and chew, as well as your self-confidence. We care about you and know that a healthy, beautiful smile can make a big difference in your life. Bass Orthodontics team provides specialised orthodontic treatment tailored to each of our patients, so that you can have a smile to be proud of!
Thank you for reading our blog and being a valued patient and friend!
The way we communicate through speech is one of the first things people notice about us! Did you know that the alignment of your teeth can affect your speech? If you struggle with certain elements of pronunciation, it could be attributed to your teeth.
1. Lisp or Whistling
A primary cause of the development of a lisp or whistle is overbite—when upper teeth overlap the bottom teeth too much. Another cause could be gaps in teeth, which impede correct placement of the tongue and allow air to escape while talking, creating a whistling sound. Braces can correct overbite, and close the gaps between teeth.
2. Word Slurring
To correctly form words and regulate talking speed, our tongues need freedom to move. If the structure of the jaw or placement of teeth restricts that movement, stuttering or slurred speech is more likely. In most cases, braces can align the teeth and open up room for the tongue.
Certain sounds are very difficult (if not impossible) to pronounce when teeth aren’t where they’re supposed to be. For example, fricative consonant sounds like “t” “s” or “ch” which require tongue-to-tooth contact. Orthodontic treatment places teeth where they need to be for better pronunciation.
Orthodontic Treatment Is An Investment In Confidence And Health
Orthodontic treatment isn’t a magical cure for all speech challenges. However, for people working to correct speech disorders, orthodontics can offer life-changing solutions. And the advantages of orthodontic treatment are not limited to speech therapy alone. The confidence that comes from having a straight, beautiful smile and the oral health benefits will last a lifetime.
Don’t let orthodontic-related speech difficulties limit your personal and business relationships or keep you from being your most confident, eloquent self. If you have a friend, family member, neighbour or coworker who would like to learn more about how an orthodontic treatment plan can lead to a happier, healthier life, please pass along this blog post and call us at Bass Orthodontics at 020 7580 8780. Thank you. We appreciate your kind referrals.
Q. MetalSian: When I was younger I had a removable brace when at primary school, and a type of train track (with open/close doors, not elastic bands) at secondary. I went on to wear my retainers for longer than was suggested to me, every night for over a year, then cut down wearing them one or two nights a week until they broke.
My teeth now, however, have moved and seem to be even worse than before I had the braces.
To me it seems completely pointless to have gone through the years of wearing braces, then following the instructions of my orthodontist, for my teeth to look almost worse now than they did before I started treatment. Continue reading →
Teeth move in response to forces. There can be pressure from the tongue pushing forwards, or from the lips pulling backwards. And of course there is growth throughout life, so our teeth are constantly battling against the natural forces of our body.
Your bite might be misaligned and your incisors too widely spaced. Whatever the issue, we can diagnose the problem and suggest the correct treatment to give you a wonderful smile and make you feel good about yourself. Get in touch.
Q.Tenabrist: We’re all seriously stressed out with my daughter’s braces! We were told from an early age that my elder daughter would need orthodontic work to correct her jaw, and that if it wasn’t sorted with braces while she’s growing she would need an operation at 18 or afterwards. So she started wearing one aged eight (initially one of those over the head wire constructions at night), moving on to a removable one and two-piece plastic things, some you screw tighter once a week. Now she’s 13, and she’s been with a one-piece bionator for a while. Continue reading →
Q. Madhairday: My daughter sucked her thumb and has a 1cm overbite, very crooked top teeth and receding bottom jaw. She has seen an orthodontist but apparently nothing can be done until she has completely stopped sucking her thumb and all her adult teeth are through. She’s nearly 11. Is this true, and if so do you have any strategies up your sleeve for the thumb thing that we might not have thought of?
A. Anton Bass: I agree with your orthodontist that the thumb sucking has to stop before orthodontic treatment can start. In my opinion, the problem with thumb sucking is that it is usually a sub-conscious habit, so all the techniques I recommend are ones to make my patient aware of the thumb sucking. Continue reading →
Although the ideal time to have orthodontic treatment is whilst the patient is still growing, adults can still benefit from treatment at our London practice and achieve the smile they have always wanted; the practice of adult orthodontics has become increasingly popular in recent years.
Q. My daughter (age five) has an extended frenulum, with a very large gap between her two top baby teeth. Our dentist says it will need correcting, and she will then need orthodontic work when her adult teeth are in. There’s no timescale yet for this. If the frenulum is corrected early, is there any chance she could avoid orthodontic work, or is it inevitable?
A. Anton Bass: I would strongly advise against carrying out any correction to the frenum before orthodontic treatment. Removing it will cause scar tissue between the teeth, which will certainly not encourage the gap to close spontaneously, and may even stop braces from closing the gap.
The frenum quite often disappears when the space is closed with braces. If it remains, this is the time to remove it, the scar tissue at this point will, in fact, help to keep the teeth together.