How Braces Move Teeth

In order to move teeth into proper alignment and improve facial balance and harmony, three essential ingredients are needed:

  • Healthy roots and bone
  • Steady consistent, gentle pressure
  • Time

To accomplish proper alignment, the orthodontist attaches braces to the patient’s teeth. The wires apply light pressure to each tooth while the brackets are the handles that transmit the force to the tooth. During the treatment, the orthodontist will periodically make adjustments to maintain the directional pressure required to continue the movement of the teeth.

When pressure is put on a tooth, the bone around that tooth responds by changing shape. The existing bone around the tooth remodels and new fresh bone grows in its place to provide support for the moving tooth.

  • At the beginning of tooth movement, teeth move in response to the degree of pressure applied by the orthodontic brace. The direction of movement can be 3-dimensional and is determined by the orthodontist
  • The force causes the supporting ligaments to adapt as the tooth moves forward and while the ligaments on the other side stretches as the tooth moves away.
  • Where the ligaments have stretched, new bone is deposited to provide support for the tooth in its new position.