Metal braces are the most common type of braces for orthodontic patients. Today's metal braces are much smaller, flatter, gentle and more comfortable than in the past. Patients of all ages choose metal braces to help them achieve straight, beautiful smiles.
What Braces are Made Of
Traditional metal braces are made of high-quality stainless steel or titanium. The three main parts of your braces are:
- Brackets — Brackets are attached to the teeth using special glue that bonds them to the tooth surface and holds them in place.
- Archwire — The archwire is the thin metal wire that connects each bracket and puts pressure on the teeth to help guide them into place.
- Elastic Tie or Ligature — Elastics ties are the colored rings around each brace that hold the archwires to the brackets. Your color ties can be changed at each appointment. Elastics ties come in many fun colors!
How Braces Work
Once placed on your teeth, braces place constant gentle pressure on your teeth and the force of the pressure helps move teeth into proper position. At each appointment, your orthodontist may prescribe a stronger archwire to help increase tooth movement. This is what is commonly referred to as "tightening" braces. In addition to braces, some patients may need to wear rubber bands (also called "elastics"). Patients wearing braces may notice their teeth feeling a little loose. This is normal and temporary; once the teeth are done moving this feeling will go away.