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     How Braces Work

1With the lips and tongue held back by a clear plastic retractor, an etching agent is applied for 60 seconds to each tooth. This prepares the enamel to accept the bonding agents which hold the bracket to the tooth. Brittany is just loving those lip stretchers, but they are pretty comfortable and they keep those lovely lips off the teeth while the etching chemicals are applied to each tooth before the brackets with the bonding material are placed.

How Braces WorkThe back side of each bracket is coated with bonding material which is squirted on from a gun which contains the bonding "glue".

How Braces WorkThe Doctor places each bracket on the tooth.

How Braces WorkNext the assistant cures the bonding material with a bright plasma light which begins the curing process in the bonding material. The bonding material doesn't set up until the light activates it. That way, we have plenty of time to adjust the position of each bracket precisely.

How Braces WorkOnce all the brackets are on and the bonding material set completely, which only takes about five minutes, we are not ready to place the first wire in the bracket.

How Braces WorkThe first wire we use is the thermally activated soft wire which produces very low forces and moves the teeth gently. Thermal wire is soft a room temperature and stiffens with body temperature. If the teeth are really crowded, then we chill the wire before placing it to make it really soft before we put the wire in the bracket.

How Braces WorkWhen one or two teeth are just too far out of line, we will skip those teeth and come back and engage them in the bracket later.

How Braces WorkThe wire is held in place with the colored ligatures which are placed on each tooth per the patient's request for a given color or pattern. In this case, Brittany wanted two colors alternated. We can place a silver ligature to match the braces so these is no color too. Whatever way you want it. You can change your colors at each appointment if you wish.

How Braces WorkDid we say colors? We've got colors. Dozens of colors...!

How Braces WorkYou can see here how the colored ligature slips around the bracket.

How Braces WorkThose teeth we skipped before, are now tied to the wire with "power chain" which is an elastic plastic chain. The chain allows us to reach up to teeth which are really too far out of line to bend the wire. As the teeth come down, then we move the wire into the bracket.

How Braces WorkBrittany is all done and one happy camper. Total time to put her top braces on...about twenty five minutes.