How Do Braces Move My Teeth?

Braces are a rather ingenious tool that was invented to move teeth. They can correct issues like overbites and can also fix cosmetic issues by making all teeth straight and even. Since teeth are bone, this process can take quite a while, but how do braces move teeth in the first place?

Grace and Bowman Orthodontics in Fort Walton Beach and Niceville offers various types of braces to help straighten teeth for people of all ages. We can help you get the smile you want, and we’ll help customize your treatment plan to fit your needs. To schedule your appointment with Dr. Brodie Bowman, contact Grace and Bowman today. Now let’s take a look at just how braces work…

Braces have four important parts:


Brackets are made of either metal or ceramic and are attached to each tooth. These are the quickest to identify visually. They are the first thing people think of when picturing braces, though many do not know what they are called.

Bonding Material

In the past, brackets were attached to a metal band that surrounded each tooth. This made braces even more uncomfortable and unsightly, so today, brackets are usually attached to each tooth with a bonding material. Bonding material is basically an extremely strong glue that connects one bracket to each tooth. It needs to be strong enough to endure the pressure from the braces, but is easily removed by an orthodontist.

Arch Wire

The arch wire is what actually puts pressure on the teeth and makes them move. It runs through each bracket and can be tightened gradually. Under such pressure, the teeth slowly move into the new position. Once all teeth are where they should be, the braces can be removed.


O-rings are small pieces of elastic that hold the bracket to the arch wire. They are sometimes called ligature elastic. They are usually changed or adjusted during each adjustment visit. Since they can be almost any color, many younger kids choose to have bright colors used for fun, though neutral colors are available too.

These are the four basic components of braces, but there are many variations that can be used to treat specific situations. Sometimes, brackets can be placed on the back of the teeth instead of the front so that they are less noticeable. Elastic or springs are often used in addition to braces if certain teeth need to be pushed more toward one direction or another.

Before getting braces, it is best to have a consultation with an orthodontist to see exactly where teeth need to move. By using X-rays and photo editing software, they can give a pretty accurate representation of what problems need to be fixed. Braces work differently for each person, and the time spent wearing braces will differ depending on the condition of your teeth. The orthodontists and staff at Grace and Bowman will help determine exactly the process that is needed for your individual treatment.