What Are the Main Elements of Braces?

Braces are often seen as a right of passage for many teens. However, braces are much more than just a teenage experience – they are a highly engineered system designed to move teeth into proper alignment. At Szymanowski Orthodontics, advanced braces technology is used to help patients of all ages achieve beautiful, healthy smiles.

Let’s discuss the main elements that make up braces so you can better understand how this transformative orthodontic appliance works its magic.


The Brackets

The brackets are those little tooth-colored or metallic squares that get bonded directly onto the front surface of teeth. They might seem small, but they play a huge role in orthodontic treatment.

Each bracket has a specially designed slot through which the archwire feeds. The archwire applies pressure to move the brackets and teeth in a very specific way mapped out in the treatment plan.

Brackets come in different materials like stainless steel, ceramic, or plastic. The right type will be chosen based on factors like bite issues, cost considerations, and cosmetic preferences.


The Archwire

The archwire is the thin yet strong metal wire that creates the system of pushes and pulls to shift teeth into alignment over time. As teeth move, the archwires are switched out for ones with different flexibility and shape.

Archwires come in two main types – one that maintains the same shape through treatment (stainless steel) or ones that have a built-in shape memory to move teeth along a set path (nickel-titanium).

This wire does the heavy lifting when it comes to tooth movement, working in combination with the brackets to move teeth in three different directions – up or down, side-to-side, or angle/torque.


Ligatures (Tiny Elastics)

Those fun, colorful, tiny rubber bands wrapped around the brackets? Those are ligatures (or sometimes called ligature ties), and they serve a very important role.

The ligatures hold the archwire securely into the bracket slots. Without them, the archwire wouldn’t be able to create the needed pressure to move teeth.

With traditional braces, the ligatures have to be replaced periodically since they stretch out and lose their grip over time. That’s why the colors are changed every few weeks during adjustment appointments!


Bands (O-Rings)

Bands are used for teeth that require a bit of extra anchorage. These are small rings that encircle the tooth, fitted precisely using a special placement tool.

The bands then allow additional gear like tubes or sheaths to be attached that the archwire can run through. This creates extra pressure to more efficiently move the tooth vs. trying to pull it from the side. Bands are typically used on the back molars.


Spacers (Separators)

Before braces are put on, space is created between teeth first with spacers or separators. These are small rubber rings or metal rings that are slipped between the teeth.

Separators push the teeth slightly apart so there is room to fit the bands on the molars. They also let the metal brackets be positioned on the sides of the other teeth during the bonding process.


Elastics (Rubber Bands)

Those colorful rubber bands hooked onto certain brackets? These elastics create an extra force to pull teeth in certain directions and fine-tune the movements.

Elastics are used to correct bite issues like overbite, underbite, cross-bite, or open bite. The position and direction of the elastics put targeted pressure to move the upper and lower teeth into proper alignment.

Wearing elastics as prescribed is crucial, or the treatment won’t progress as planned.


What Are the Main Elements of Braces?

Other Auxiliaries

Depending on the unique orthodontic needs, other appliances may also be used in conjunction with braces to help control tooth movement.

Some examples are attachments bonded onto the teeth, temporary anchorage devices (TADs), expanders, headgear, facemasks, or other specialized appliances. Dr. Damon will walk patients through any other elements of their treatment plan.


Professional Adjustments

While all the elements above make up the braces system, one of the most important aspects is the skilled hands of the orthodontist customizing everything for each patient.

At Szymanowski Orthodontics, Dr. Damon meticulously plans each treatment, periodically adjusting the archwires and bands to create light, biologically safe forces that move teeth efficiently. With regular adjustments every 4-8 weeks, teeth steadily shift into a perfectly aligned smile.

Great care is taken to ensure customized, comfortable, and timely treatment using the highest quality braces and materials. The experienced orthodontic team is there every step of the way to answer questions and ensure patients get their best smile!


What Are the Main Elements of Braces?

Achieve Your Best Smile – Schedule a Consultation Now

Your journey to a picture-perfect smile begins with a single phone call. Contact Szymanowski Orthodontics in Sacramento and schedule a consultation for complimentary braces. Dr. Damon and his staff are dedicated to providing high-quality orthodontic care using customized braces tailored to your unique needs. Take the first step and call today.