BracesOral Health |2 min read

The Basics of Braces

It’s important to consider your child’s long-term oral health as they age and their permanent teeth begin to arrive. As their adult smile begins to form, it’s likely  some form of oral appliance may be needed to aid in shaping a healthy smile. Braces are a fantastic option for many parents, but there are a lot of questions about how they work and if they’re even necessary.

What are Braces and Why are They Important?

Braces are oral appliances that help straighten out crooked teeth that can negatively impact an adult smile. Crooked teeth affect how a person chews, speaks, and smiles. With an unnatural bite pattern, teeth can become worn in unnatural areas and become unsightly. Crooked teeth are also more difficult to clean and prone to cavities. Straighter teeth also encourage people to smile more, and help improve self-image.

While braces may seem like a purely aesthetic choice, crooked teeth present real hurdles to maintaining a healthy mouth.

How do Braces Work?

Braces work by exerting gentle pressure over time so that teeth straighten into a healthy alignment. Braces are only one of many oral appliances, but they are the most popular, and colloquially used interchangeably to refer to a number of oral appliances. They can move teeth from side to side, or up and down! Once teeth are in the right spots, braces hold them in position as bone tissue grows back and holds them in place.

Important Pieces

Traditional braces are made up of a few critical parts that work together to get teeth straight.


Brackets are made of metal or ceramic and placed upon the teeth using a bonding material such as glue. Brackets can be placed on front, or behind teeth.

Arch Wire

The arch wire is a thin metal wire and runs from bracket to bracket. The arch wire is what actually applies the pressure that repositions teeth.

Ligature Elastic (o-ring)

Ligature elastic holds brackets onto the arch wire. They are more commonly referred to as “o-rings” or rubber bands, and are the colorful piece that wraps around brackets.

Does Your Child Need Braces?

A healthy smile is a straight smile. Crooked teeth can lead to a poor self-image, and make it difficult to maintain proper oral health routines. As your child becomes a teenager, they will lose nearly all of their baby teeth and need an oral evaluation to determine the health of their new adult teeth. The evaluation will help determine if they need braces or any other oral appliances. You can find out if your child needs braces by calling our office to schedule an appointment today.