About Orthodontic Treatments - How Do Braces Work?

About Orthodontics

Why Braces?

Very few of us were born with perfectly aligned jaws and teeth. A combination of genetics, oral hygiene, and individual tooth developments can result in an imperfect smile and/or poor function. Many people go through their lives with daily tooth-related insecurity. Orthodontics can change this completely! After your braces come off, you’ll feel more self- confident and willing to let your smile shine.

How Orthodontic Treatment Works

Orthodontic appliances can be made of metal, ceramic or plastic. They may be removable or they may be brackets bonded to the teeth. By placing a constant, gentle force in a carefully controlled direction, braces slowly move teeth to a corrected position. You can often choose brackets that are clear or metal, and you can choose the color of the ties that hold the wire in the brackets. Wires are also less noticeable than they used to be, and the latest materials move teeth faster with less discomfort to patients.

Duration of Orthodontic Treatment

Treatment time depends on the growth of the patient’s mouth and face, and the severity of the problem. Patients grow at different rates and will respond variously to orthodontic treatment, so the time until case completion is difficult to estimate. The average treatment time is two years.
Some reasons for delayed treatment time are:

  • Skeletal variations. (Correcting bone growth is more time consuming)
  • Bone density. Patients with dense bone tend to have slower tooth movement. Some teeth are even fused to the surrounding bone, (ankylosed).
  • Dental mid lines not centered with face.
  • Systemic health issues.
  • Poor compliance.
  • Impacted teeth.

The patient’s diligent use of any prescribed rubber bands as well as proper oral hygiene is an important factor in achieving the most efficient treatment. Interceptive or early treatment procedures may take as few as six months.

Two-Phase Treatment

What is the advantage of two-phase orthodontic treatment?

Two-phase orthodontic treatment is a specialized process combining tooth straightening and physical and facial changes. The purpose of two-phase treatment is to maximize the opportunity to accomplish the ideal healthy, functional and aesthetic result that will remain stable throughout your life.

What if I put off treatment?

Putting off treatment can result in a need for more extensive treatment later in life that may not completely fix your smile. Early treatment is most effective for achieving lasting results.

Phase – One

The foundation for a smile that will last a lifetime!

The goal of Phase-One treatment is to help the jaw develop in a way that will accommodate all of the permanent teeth and improve the way the upper and lower jaws fit together. Children often exhibit early signs of jaw problems as they grow and develop. An upper jaw that is growing too much or is too narrow can be recognized at an early age. If children over the age of six are found to have this jaw discrepancy, they are candidates for early orthodontic treatment. Also, if children around the age of eight have crowded front teeth, early treatment can prevent the need to extract permanent teeth later. Phase-One treatment is not needed for every patient.

Planning now can save your smile later!

Children benefit tremendously from early phase treatment. Receiving early treatment may prevent the removal of permanent teeth later in life, early permanent tooth loss, or the need for surgical procedures to realign the jaws.

Making records to determine your unique treatment

Orthodontic records will be necessary to determine the type of appliances to be used, the duration of treatment time, and the frequency of visits. Records consist of models of the teeth, X-rays, and photographs. During your child’s initial consultation, your doctor will take records to determine if early treatment is necessary.

Resting Period

In this phase, the remaining permanent teeth are left alone as they erupt or break through the gums. Retaining devices may not be recommended if they interfere with eruption or normal growth. It is best to allow the existing permanent teeth some freedom of movement. A successful first phase will have created room for permanent teeth to find an eruption path. Otherwise, they may become impacted or severely displaced.

Monitoring your teeth’s progress

At the end of the first phase of treatment, teeth are not in their final positions. This will be determined and accomplished in the second phase of treatment. Selective removal of certain primary (baby) teeth may be in the best interest of enhancing eruption during this resting phase. Therefore, periodic recall appointments for observation are necessary, usually on a six- month basis.


Everyone wants a healthy smile!

The goal of the second phase is to make sure each tooth has an exact location in the mouth where it is in harmony with the lips, cheeks, tongue, and other teeth. When this equilibrium is established, the teeth will function together properly. Phase two usually involves full upper and lower braces.

The second phase begins when most of the patient’s permanent teeth have erupted, and usually requires braces on all the teeth for an average of 24 months. Retainers are worn after this phase to ensure the patient retain his or her beautiful smile.