When we think braces, we might think of the brackets on each tooth and the bands that surround them. But really, the entire point of those brackets and bands is to keep the archwire in place as it gently moves your teeth to create a better bite and a beautiful, straighter smile. Let’s learn more about this fascinating part of your braces journey!
The archwires we wear during our orthodontic treatment use continuous pressure to move your teeth into optimal alignment. That might sound simple, but there is a lot going on. Did you know that our teeth often need more than just realigning? In fact, some teeth need to be tuned a bit and some need to be tilted. Not only do your teeth need to be better aligned with those next to them, but they also need to fit properly with the teeth above and below them. When your teeth are misaligned with the jaw closed, this is called a malocclusion or a bad bite.
So how can one wire handle all of that? The answer is it can’t. That’s why there are different types of wire. Often we use thinner, more flexible wires at the start of treatment to put gentle pressure on your teeth as they start the moving process. Firmer wires can be helpful in later phases when each tooth is precisely moved to its specific, ideal spot. Depending on what they’re designed to do, archwires can also be round or rectangular, thicker or thinner, springy or stiff.
This might seem confusing, but our doctors and Georgia School of Orthodontics team are archwire experts! We check on the progress of your alignment at every adjustment appointment and choose the wire you need to take you to the next stage of your orthodontic journey.
Once you have braces, it might become more challenging to ensure that your teeth are clean after eating. Don’t worry; our Georgia School of Orthodontics team will give you plenty of advice and tips on getting rid of the pesky food debris that sometimes gets trapped in your braces. We know that’s not the look you’re going for. But more than that, bacteria can use these stuck particles as fuel to create acids that can damage your enamel and cause cavities.
There are plenty of dental products out there that will help you keep your braces clean. Special toothbrush heads work great in the spaces between your teeth and the archwires. There are floss threaders that can get dental floss into those hard-to-reach places, and flosses with one stiff end you can guide under the wire so you can direct the floss to where it needs to reach. There are also “interproximal brushes,” which are tiny cone-shaped brushes that can easily fit under your wires to clean around your brackets and teeth.
After all the hard work you’ve put into your braces, the last thing you’d want is cavities, so make sure to take a care kit to school or work so you can keep the tooth surface under your wires and around your brackets free of plaque.
Archwires do an amazing job at helping us achieve the smile of our dreams, but they are not perfect! We couldn’t leave without a few suggestions on handling any wire-related problems that might come up during your orthodontic journey.
One of the most common problems is the irritation caused by the end of a wire that somehow comes loose. If this happens, try using a cotton swab to gently push the wire flat against your tooth. If that doesn’t work, orthodontic wax can be used to cover the end of the problem wire and smooth it into place. We’ll provide you with instructions on how to handle these minor wire problems at home.
If you experience other wire-related problems, please run them past our team first. If your wire is coming loose, or if a loose end is causing a lot of pain or irritation, call our Atlanta or Duluth office. We’ll give you instructions on how to help and make an appointment if it requires a professional fix.
In fact, if you have any questions about your braces, please give us a call! We’re here to help you understand each step of your orthodontic process as you journey on the path to a healthy bite and a beautiful smile.