Braces work by putting pressure on your teeth over a period of time to slowly move them in a specific direction. The bone under them changes shape, too.
Braces are made of metal or ceramic, wires, and bonding material that attaches them to your teeth. An orthodontist is a doctor who specializes in this kind of device and treatment for misaligned teeth.
Braces move your teeth by exerting constant pressure on them for extended periods of time. The shape of your jaw gradually adapts to conform to this pressure.
The first step to getting braces: go to the dentist! Have your teeth professionally cleaned. If you need treatment for other oral care conditions (e.g. periodontal problems or tooth extraction), your orthodontist may recommend taking care of these issues before braces.
The procedure itself is painless for most people. Your bonding appointment may last for about two hours, so you may want to bring some music to help pass the time.
Your orthodontist will start by inserting a device to keep your mouth dry and your tongue in place. Then he or she will dry your teeth and apply an etchant to make the tooth surface ideal for bonding. Next, the braces will be placed on your teeth using a special adhesive to hold them in place throughout your treatment. A curing light will harden the adhesive and set the bond. Finally, the orthodontist will run the archwire through the braces and hold it in place with ligature bands (unless you have chosen self-ligating braces, which don't need additional bands). And that's it!
The orthodontist will want to see you about every month or so in order to make sure the braces are putting steady pressure on your teeth. They’ll adjust the wires, springs, or rubber bands to create more tension and pressure. In some cases, braces alone won’t be enough to straighten your teeth or shift your jaw. That’s when the orthodontist will suggest headgear.