How Do Braces Work to Straighten Your Teeth?

February 21, 2017
J. Courtney Gorman, DDS, MS

How Do Braces Work to Straighten Your Teeth?

Last month, we told you how healthy, straight teeth can give you a better, healthier heart. And while brushing, flossing and rinsing can keep your teeth healthy, we also believe you need the assistance of a well-trained orthodontist and treatment plan to actually do the straightening.

We’re known locally for our Invisalign treatment, but many Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics’ patients also choose braces. So how do these metal brackets and colorful bands actually work? Great question!

Why is it so important for you to floss your teeth while in braces?

The Components of Braces

First, let’s discuss the pieces and parts in a full set of braces that work to straighten your teeth.


These are made of metal or ceramics. We use dental bonding material — really strong glue that keeps the brackets in place over the course of your treatment — to attach them to each tooth.


This is the thin metal wire that runs between each bracket and puts pressure on your teeth in order to become aligned or straightened — whether it’s up and down or side to side.

Elastic Ties

The elastic ties — also known as elastic rings, ligature elastics, or donuts — hold the archwire to the brackets. Our patients love these pieces because they come in an endless variety of colors! Each time you come into one of our Central Indiana offices to get your braces adjusted, you get to choose a new style.

Rubber Bands

Depending on your bite, we may use rubber bands or elastics that hook from a bracket on the upper teeth to a bracket on the lower teeth. These create additional pressure to straighten and direct your teeth and jaw into proper alignment.

In some cases, there are other tools we may use during your treatment, such as tubes, hooks, loops, springs, steel ties, and headgear. But don’t worry, we’ll keep you informed every step of the way.

The Process of Aligning Your Teeth With Braces

Your braces do more than rearrange your misaligned teeth. In fact — through a process called bone remodeling — we apply constant, gentle pressure against your teeth that actually encourages your bones to adapt and hold your teeth in their new positions for the rest of your life.

Here’s how it works. The bracket and archwire work together to align each tooth into proper position. When we first place your braces, we use a narrow, flexible archwire, as your teeth ease into the new force and pressure. Then, as your teeth become straighter, we eventually use thicker archwires that fill more of the brackets’ slots and provide additional pressure.

Once your teeth move to the right spot, we hold your teeth in place while the bone tissue around your teeth and jaws changes. And voila, your new and improved smile is set in place!

How Long it Takes for Braces to Straighten Your Teeth

It usually talks about three days for the bone remodeling process to start. You may feel some soreness in your mouth the first few days or weeks as your teeth and jaw get used to this new pressure. Once the process is in place, it takes about three months to grow new bone, and then generally 1-3 years to fully stabilize. This is why retainers are so important!

Proper dental hygiene during your treatment will make your individual process the most efficient. Flossing between each bracket is extremely important, as well as brushing every curved angle around gums and brackets. We, of course, discourage chewing hard candy and gum (unless it’s sugar-free gum), and encourage eating some foods in smaller bites, like slicing an apple instead of biting into it directly.

Getting Started With Braces at Gorman & Bunch Orthodontics

We follow the American Association of Orthodontics guidelines that recommend an orthodontic evaluation for every child by age seven or sooner. Our First Phase Evaluation helps us determine the best time to begin any necessary treatment and allow us to watch growth patterns as your child develops.

If you think you or a family member are ready to talk about orthodontic treatment, reach out to us today and let us help you take the first step toward a happier, healthier smile.

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  • review rating 5  Cannot say enough good things about this practice! I've been to Westfield and Carmel locations, both are beautiful with helpful and friendly staff. Dr Bunch is experienced, knowledgeable, and truly cares about his patients and strives to get the best results possible for each one!

    thumb Karen Caudle
  • review rating 5  Amazing experience they all made my daughter and I feel very comfortable, all the ladies were extremely nice. Very well informed. Wouldn't go anywhere else!

    thumb Erica Wood
  • review rating 5  Fantastic staff who put the person (and their teeth!) at the center of the experience. Child-friendly waiting areas. I've had nothing but good experiences over my nearly 10 years with Gorman and Bunch. Cannot recommend highly enough!

    thumb Pete Freeman
  • review rating 5  Personal and professional, everyone always takes great care of my sensitive mouth teen! This is our first experience with needing orthodontia, when it’s time for my youngest to get braces, we’ll choose this place again in a heartbeat. From the team up front to the team in the back, everyone is so nice and yet so efficiently on task, it is quite impressive. They have reasonable pricing and are willing to help with a payment plan. Keep up the great work!!

    thumb Robert Cassidy
  • review rating 5  Heather and Dr Carly were awesome! Friendly, informative, and professional. Office was very inviting. We had a great appointment and look forward to the next couple of years of working with them.

    thumb Andy Tebbe
  • review rating 5  This 64 year old had teeth that had begun to overlap in my adult years, which was attributed to having 4 good teeth removed as a child for "Crowded teeth". I waited to fund Invisalign until incurring no penalty for taking IRA funds, other than taxes. I was fortunate to be referred to Dr. Jason Bunch by my dentist, Dr. Jack Nicewander. Dr. Bunch and his Carmel, IN office staff see numerous children and young adults, but welcome the young at heart as well. I trust them and find them accommodating, efficient, professional and compassionate.

    thumb Joyce Eggleston
  • review rating 5  Love this office! Helpful, professional, and knowledgeable doctor and staff. Haven’t had 1 issue with them. They’ve got their routine down pat.

    thumb Courtney Amos
  • review rating 5  Amazing office! My daughter was home from college and had an orthodontic emergency. She was not a previous patient. Dr Moran was kind enough to see her. The entire staff was amazing. I would never go anywhere else!

    thumb Sharon Hoover
  • review rating 5  Excellent every time we’ve brought our kids. Thorough evaluations, knowledgeable doctors/staff, great with kids, and great results

    thumb Stephanie
  • review rating 5  Very great place! Went there for my first time today and i felt so comfortable and they are helping me fix my mouth!! Love love love!

    thumb Haley Elston