What Are Braces Made Of?
Braces can be made of many different types of materials, but they are most commonly made of titanium alloys, combined with nickel and/or chromium. Chromium-nickel-cobalt alloys are also prevalent. Sometimes precious metals are employed; the Incognito™ system uses gold as the only material for their brackets. Usually alloys are developed to have high biocompatibility and corrosion resistance. Biocompatibility means that although orthodontics works through having a controlled inflammation of the periodontium, the materials used should be such that they do not irritate the mucous membranes, are hypoallergenic, and do not tax the patients body more than necessary.
Are the Wire And the Bracket Made of the Same Material?
Usually not, but in some systems the brackets and wires are made from the same material. The archwire is very often made of a stainless steel alloy as this is one of the most flexible metals, but it can also be made to be just hard enough that it pulls the teeth in the necessary direction with the appropriate amount of force. The archwire is what sets the general direction for teeth alignment so it needs to be both firm and flexible; steel alloys are usually the best for this. The wire can be made of many different materials though, and chromium and nickel are also used in the alloy itself.
Do Braces Corrode?
The answer is yes - but extremely slowly. It is simply not possible to find metals that do not corrode at all, but the corrosion resistance can be raised so high that one year submerged in food particles and saliva- a corrosive fluid if ever there was one, enhanced with microbes that digest food, making it one of the most corrosive liquids in existence - will not cause visible corrosion of the orthodontic appliance. Even if some corrosion can be felt, these metals will not start to rust, as usually little to absolutely no iron (Fe) is used at all. Cleaning and maintaining your appliance will help the alloy be more resistant, and fight corrosion more effectively, as the bacteria and the food debris that aid in corrosion are removed.