Basically, braces move teeth through the bone to correct misalignment. By exerting gentle pressure over time, orthodontic treatment straightens teeth that are either growing in or have already grown in out of alignment.

Braces have four basic parts that all work together to correct a patient’s overbite or underbite. Here’s a quick rundown of what those parts are called and how they work to beautify your smile.


Brackets can be made of ceramic or metal. Bracket are the individual braces on the outside of your tooth, held in place with orthodontic glue. The brackets stay in place for the duration of treatment.


These are used on your back teeth. They are metal bands that go all the way around your molar teeth and have a bracket on the side. The bracket holds the archwire in place.


The archwire connects the brackets by fitting into the slot on each bracket. At each adjustment appointment, the archwire is changed with different wire thicknesses to control tooth movement. When the archwire is changed, it puts pressure on the teeth and will feel tight until you get used to the new pressure.

Ligature Elastics

Ligature elastics are also referred to as O-rings or elastic-o-ties. These elastics hold the wire onto the bracket and are changed at each adjustment appointment. Some brackets don’t require elastics. These brackets are called self-ligating brackets.

All the Parts Work Together

The archwire in the brackets creates an artificial force that sustains the pressure needed to gradually move the teeth through the bone. Your teeth will loosen before they reposition to where they are supposed to be. When Dr. Schmidt achieves perfect positioning, the braces hold the teeth in place while your jaw’s bone tissue grows back for your new smile to be solid.

The technical term for this biomechanical process is called bone modeling. After the teeth are stabilized in the desired position, it takes three days for bone modeling to begin its process. The process of growing the new bone takes about three months to complete and a year to stabilize the teeth in the new position.

Patients always want to know how long they will need braces. This depends on many factors such as complexity of treatment, the distance the teeth need to be moved and how healthy your teeth, gums and bone are to begin with. Patient cooperation is also a factor that contributes to the length of time you will be in braces. Dr. Schmidt will give you an estimated treatment time at your smile assessment.

After the brackets, bands and archwire are removed, most patients need to wear a retainer for six months at all times. After the initial six-month period, the retainer is worn at night to prevent the teeth from drifting back out of alignment.

Call today to schedule your custom smile assessment to get the specific information you need.