Arch Braces And How They Work

The terms arch braces, arch wires, and metal braces are often used interchangeably and are simply called metal braces.  Your shiny smile of metal is a collection of metal brackets held together by arch wires. These are often referred to as arch braces. They play a vital role in straightening your teeth and achieving the perfect smile we all strive for.

How Do Arch Braces (Wires) Work?

It is called an "arch wire" because your top teeth comprise your top arch, and your bottom teeth comprise your bottom arch. Arch wires guide the teeth to the desired straightness. Without them, you would just be wearing metal braces for show and your teeth would never move!  Onto every tooth that an orthodontist wants to move, they place a bracket.  A bracket is a rectangular metal object that is attached to the tooth that has a slot where the arch wire goes through. Because the orthodontist wants this wire to eventually straighten as the teeth straighten, it has to be made initially of a softer, more pliable metal.

How Do Arch Braces (Wires) Work?

A tooth moves best when light pressure is exerted.  For this reason, the orthodontist will use nickel- titanium wires in the metal braces. This alloy is used because it is important to have low stiffness, high strength, and long working range. By using the softer alloy in the wires, the teeth are gently and gradually rotated and start to align the tops of the teeth into one plane. At first, because the teeth are crooked, the arch wire is understandably misaligned. As the wire, that was misaligned, goes back to its original shape, it moves the tooth into a better position. Later, as the teeth alignment is more satisfactory, heavier materials like stainless steel, can be used in the metal braces. The arch wires may also be later changed to a rectangular shape as they will fit better into the rectangular brackets.


What You Must Be Wary Of

Even though the arch wires at first are made of the softer titanium-nickel, you still may experience soreness in your mouth- especially your tongue and cheeks. Don’t worry, the soreness won’t last forever. You would be smart to be careful about what you put into your mouth.  The wires of the metal braces can be easily damaged by eating hard food and candies. Chewy foods such as taffy, caramel candies or gum should be avoided. The metal braces may be prone to staining if you eat colourful foods that cause particles to attach to the metal braces. Another thing: If your teeth begin feeling a little loose, don't worry; this is normal. Your braces must first loosen your teeth to move them into the right position. Once your teeth have been repositioned, they will no longer be loose. For the pliable arch wires to work best, there has to be sufficient room at first for the teeth to realign.


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