HEY, HOW DO BRACES MOVE MY TEETH, ANYWAY?
Tooth movement is a natural reaction by your body when light pressure is applied by braces over a period of time. This is usually about two years. Brackets are attached to each tooth with either glue, or a metal band. The brackets are made of ceramic or metal. Pressure is applied with a thin metal wire, which runs from bracket to bracket, this is called an arch wire. Brackets are held onto the arch wire by small colored elastic. The Ligature Elastic (also referred to as an "o-ring") are small colored elastics, which are usually changed at each adjustment visit. Some brackets do not need elastic ligatures, they are called self-ligating.
The teeth move when pressure is placed on the brackets from the arch wire. Sometimes springs, and rubber bands are used to exert more force in specific directions. Braces will exert a constant pressure, which over time will move teeth into their proper position. As the teeth become straighter they will begin to move less. The bone around the membrane then grows to support the new position of teeth. This process must be a slow one, because if it happens too fast, the patient could potentially lose their teeth. Because of this, braces need to be worn an average of 2 years.
Now comes the final step! The retainer! Usually you will be directed to wear your retainer 24 hrs a day, or as determined by Dr. Aszkler. Your retainers job is to keep the teeth in their new position while the bone around the teeth becomes stronger, and can support your teeth on their own. It is critical to wear the retainer as directed. If not, you risk having your teeth move back to their old position, causing all the time and money spent on the braces, to be wasted.