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How Do Braces Move Your Teeth? Find Out the Answer Here

Medically reviewed by Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc · Dentistry · Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 23, 2021

How Do Braces Move Your Teeth? Find Out the Answer Here

A lot of people are familiar with dental braces, or the devices that use wires to help straighten teeth. Despite being such a common thing, a lot of people still ask, “How do braces move your teeth?”

Read on to learn more about braces, what they are for, and what might happen if they’re not used.

What are Braces for?

Before we answer the question of “How do braces move your teeth?”, we first need to understand what are dental braces for.

Dental braces, usually referred to as just braces, are used to help align and straighten teeth. While this might seem like a cosmetic concern, it’s actually more important than it might first seem to be.

This is because having crooked teeth might cause bite problems. This can lead to:

  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Stress on the jaw muscles
  • Tooth decay
  • Headaches
  • Neck, shoulder, and back pain

Ideally, braces are used while a person is still young. This is because it’s much easier to align a person’s teeth when young and the bones are much more malleable compared to when they’re already adults and their teeth have “set.” However, it is still possible to correct an adult’s bite using braces. The process might take a bit longer, or even require complicated procedures such as surgery.

How Do Braces Move Your Teeth?

Braces are devices made usually of stainless steel wires and brackets that are attached to the teeth using special cement. When braces are attached, what happens is that they apply pressure on a person’s teeth to move them in a certain direction. In some cases, elastic bands or even springs are also used to provide an additional force on the tooth.

It can take about one to two hours for braces to get adjusted. This is because dentists need to be mindful of how much force they are applying on the tooth, as well as the direction that the tooth has to move in.

Braces can also cause some pain or discomfort when braces are first attached, or when they’re adjusted. This is because of the force that it applies to the teeth to move it. Typically, over-the-counter medications should be able to deal with pain caused by braces.

Once a tooth moves, the bone starts to grow in the space previously occupied by the tooth. This prevents the teeth from moving back to their original positions. In some cases, teeth might need to be extracted in order to create space for another tooth to move.

Most patients require braces for about 12 to 24 months, but it’s not uncommon for some patients to wear braces for longer than that. It’s also possible for teeth to move after removing braces, so patients must routinely visit their dentist after their braces are removed as well as wear their retainers diligently until advised by the dentist to stop.

Are Braces Even Necessary?

A lot of people might think that braces are a waste of money, or that they’re only used for cosmetic purposes. While it is true that braces are expensive, and they do help improve a person’s smile, the benefits of braces go beyond that.

Braces can make it so that a person with crooked teeth finds it easier to chew food without any pain or discomfort. Having aligned teeth also improves a person’s bite, and ensures that they don’t suffer from any strain or muscle pain caused by a misaligned bite.

A misaligned bite can cause tooth grinding, tooth decay, gum disease, and problems in the jawbone. So it’s important to get braces as much as possible because it can significantly improve a person’s quality of life.

Key Takeaways

When it comes to braces, the most important thing to remember is that they’re not just for cosmetic purposes. Braces can help boost a person’s confidence, and also prevents pain and discomfort caused by crooked teeth.

It can take some getting used to, and they can hurt when first installed or adjusted. But the benefits are absolutely worth it.

Learn more about Cosmetic Dentistry here.


Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Medically reviewed by

Grazielle Millo-Paderes, DDM, MSc

Dentistry · Unihealth-Parañaque Hospital and Medical Center

Written by Jan Alwyn Batara · Updated Jun 23, 2021

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