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How Do Braces Work?
Kennett Square, PA

Braces being cleaned at Greeley Orthodontics. Teeth can be moved through the bone they sit in by placing gentle forces on them. Gentle forces are needed to move them bodily. You can see your teeth moving because the crowns of the teeth move easily through air, but you can’t see your tooth roots moving through bone. The roots of teeth have a soft cushion between the roots and bone known as the periodontal ligament. This cushion supplies the nutrients needed to keep the tooth/bone system viable, allowing teeth to move.

If you would rather not know all these details, we can skip the explanation. But we are always happy to give you as much information about your treatment as you desire. Suffice it to say that light forces can be delivered either with braces (brackets and wires) or with aligners. Consistent use of either results in a satisfactory finish.

Braces: Brackets and Wires

There are several ways to move teeth and to improve your oral health and smile.

Brackets are attachments that are placed directly on teeth to produce tooth movement then wires are placed in the brackets. Over the past 150 years, brackets and wires have undergone enormous changes, all directed at improving appearances, lessening forces applied and improving outcomes.

Clear Aligners

Clear aligners are a great alternative to using braces to move your teeth. Many patients, including those who previously had braces, can benefit from using aligners to address concerns with their smile and function. Aligners can also be effective for teenagers and can even be used for some early phase treatment. Wearing aligners offers a way for you to move your teeth undetected. Commitment to wearing the aligners is an important consideration when choosing this option. Although some treatment plans are too complex for aligner therapy, improvement in aligner technology makes it effective for an increasing number of patients. See Dr. Greeley’s articles: Can Plastic Really Move Teeth and Look What Plastic Can Do on this website.

What about elastics?

Most treatment plans call for the use of elastics to help guide teeth into position. Elastics provide additional directional force to help either braces or aligners improve your bite in the most efficient way. Since you are in charge, it helps to move your treatment along if you take wearing your elastics seriously.


Typically retainers are used to hold teeth in positions once tooth movement is completed. Retainers are designed to keep your smile and function optimal depending on your original condition. Retainers can be glued in behind your teeth for 24/7 retention or they can be removable for daytime or nighttime wear. Keeping your result is very important to us so we always design your retainers to maintain your great smile. See Dr. Greeley’s article: The Key to Maintaining Your new Smile on this website.

Retainers as tooth movers
Sometimes “retainers” can be used as active tooth-moving appliances if the necessary movement is easily done.

Why Should I Have Orthodontic Treatment?

Many patients seek care because they are unhappy with their smile, and that's a good enough reason! But form and function go hand in hand. So, after a thorough examination, we often find that there are some functional issues as well. Bite problems can result in excessive wear of teeth, issues with chewing and sometimes breathing and snoring problems due to jaw shape and position. At Greeley Orthodontics we take time for a thorough discussion and endeavor to offer you treatment options to achieve your goals. Give Greeley Orthodontics a call to see what orthodontic treatment can do for your smile and your bite.

Orthodontic treatment has many benefits. Beyond the obvious esthetic benefits that can boost confidence and self-esteem, teeth that function better can improve your overall health. Recent studies confirm what dentists have always believed, that great health begins in the mouth.

Well-aligned teeth are easier to clean which improves the health of supporting gingival (gums) and bone, removing invading bacteria that impact other organs including heart and lungs.

Adjusting your teeth by widening and up-righting can improve breathing and space for improved tongue function.

If your teeth function well, your chewing is more efficient allowing your food choices to be healthy ones. Speaking and chewing are more efficient when teeth are aligned. Teeth that function well don’t wear easily or chip and fracture.

If your dentist has recommended an orthodontic evaluation, call our office for a complimentary visit where Dr. Greeley can review with you treatment options. Please call us at 484-346-6008.

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How Do Braces Work Kennett Square, PA - Greeley Orthodontics
There are several ways to move teeth and to improve your oral health and smile.Brackets are attachments that are placed directly on teeth to produce tooth movement then wires are placed in the brackets.
Greeley Orthodontics - Connie Greeley, 400 Old Forge Lane Suite 406, Kennett Square, PA 19348 • 484-346-6008 • • 6/9/2024 • Tags: orthodontist Kennett Square PA •