How Braces Work to Straighten Your Teeth

We want to help you make the best decision when it comes to your orthodontic treatment plan. To do that, we put together this extensive guide to understanding how braces work to straighten your teeth. Find out what your family can expect with this orthodontic treatment solution.

Traditional braces date back to the 18th century by French dentist Pierre Fauchard as a method of straightening teeth. Over the years, orthodontists have enhanced the experience of wearing braces to create a process that uses constant, gentle pressure that moves the teeth into their proper positions over time.



With traditional braces, we use several components and tools to straighten your teeth:


A bracket is an individual ceramic or metal “brace” that affixes to each of your teeth with dental bonding glue.

The archwire is a thin metal wire that threads through the brackets in order to apply gentle pressure and move your teeth into their ideal alignment.

Elastic ties are also known as elastic rings, ligature elastics or donuts, and are used to hold the archwire to the brackets. The ties come in multiple colors, and you can switch up your colors each time you visit the orthodontist.

Rubber bands are used in cases that require slightly more pressure to straighten and direct your teeth into proper alignment. The bands hook from brackets on the upper teeth to brackets on the lower teeth.

Additional tools, such as tubes, hooks, loops, springs, steel ties, and bite correctors, are sometimes used in special cases. If these are necessary for your orthodontic treatment, our office will ensure you understand exactly what’s happening every step of the process.


Through a process called bone remodeling, braces apply constant, gentle pressure against your teeth to encourage your bones to begin adapting and ultimately holding your teeth in their new alignment for the rest of your life.


Bone remodeling works through the use of brackets and archwire, which align each tooth into its proper position. As your teeth ease into their new positions, we use thicker archwires and tighten your brackets in order to apply additional pressure and consistently move your teeth into the correct alignment.


Once we determine that your teeth have moved into the correct spot, we give you retainers to hold the teeth in place while the bone tissue around your teeth and jaws fully adapts to the new tooth positions. With proper retainer wear, your new and improved smile will last you a lifetime!



It typically takes 3-5 days for the bone remodeling process to start once your traditional braces are in place. There may be some soreness the first few days or even weeks as your teeth and jaw adjust to the new pressure inside your mouth. After the process gets started, it will take about three months to begin remodeling the bone, and it typically takes 1-3 years to fully stabilize the new bone and build your new smile.


At Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, you can choose from two types of braces for your teeth:

1. Traditional Metal Braces

These are the most traditional type of braces, which consist of metal brackets that are connected by a thin archwire. The combination of brackets and wire work together to push and pull your teeth into the right alignment. The archwire uses ligatures (or elastics, or o-rings) to connect to the brackets. The elastics come in all kinds of fun colors that you can swap out at each appointment.

2. Clear Braces

Otherwise known as transparent braces, clear braces are extremely similar to metal braces, except the brackets are created from a man-made sapphire material instead of metal. This transparent material is much less noticeable than metal braces.


Before visiting an orthodontist for the first time, you may be wondering, “How much do braces cost?” Because there is no standard process for orthodontic treatment, it’s difficult to put a number on metal braces cost. It is nearly impossible for us to give you an estimated cost for braces before a consultation, because each case is different and requires its own unique plan depending on the length of treatment, insurance coverage, goals of treatment, and the intricacies involved.


At Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics, we give our patients the choice between traditional braces for your teeth and Invisalign without adding an extra fee for Invisalign. In either case, your initial consultation, exam and x-rays are complementary and we strive to ensure affordable braces options for each patient.


If you’re wondering how to pay for the typical cost of braces, we also offer custom financing options and monthly payments for braces that fit your unique situation so that financing doesn’t become an obstacle to achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. While there may be other cheaper alternatives to braces, we strongly believe that traditional braces are worth it and that paying less for inexpensive braces may not give you the result you are looking for.

Foods You Can Eat With Braces

Ready for the goods news? Here’s a list of great food options you can easily enjoy while wearing braces:

Soft Fruits, like blueberries, grapefruits, nectarines, kiwi, bananas, grapes, and tangerines Steamed Vegetables (steamed for softness) Dairy Products, like yogurt and cheese Soft Grains and Noodles, like mac and cheese, cooked ravioli, quinoa, and rice Soft Meats, like tender chicken, turkey, meat loaf, lunch meat, and seafood Eggs, which are a good alternative to tough meats Desserts, like pudding, applesauce, smoothies, and ice cream Soft Breads, like tortillas, biscuits, muffins, pancakes Snacks, like soft crackers or cookies, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and hulless popcorn

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