Children and adults who decide to invest in braces or Invisalign often do so out of a desire for a straighter smile. When patients stop and think about straightening their smile, they quickly come to the realization that their teeth have to move to make this happen. This can be a difficult concept for people to grasp because, to the naked eye, the teeth look to remain still when people talk and eat; however, braces, Invisalign, and other orthodontic treatment options have the ability to make teeth move over time to straighten the smile and make it easier for people to clean their teeth. With this end goal in mind, how do teeth move?
The Basics of Movement: How do Teeth Move?
In order for the orthodontic devices to affect teeth movement, a number of complicated processes have to work in harmony. This includes the tissues of the body, the cells that make up those tissues, and the brackets, wires, or trays that are used to apply force and trigger the movement itself. These external orthodontic devices will apply forces to the root of the teeth, such as the brackets and wires, and the body’s cells, including osteoclasts and osteoblasts. Osteoclasts are the cells that are used to resorb bone, helping to make room for the modeling of the bone itself.
The Center would be Ideal
While the wire and brackets generate the forces that are necessary to move the teeth, they aren’t in the best place possible. Ultimately, the teeth are anchored to the gums by their roots and this is the part of the teeth that must move to straighten the smile. Ideally, the force would be applied directly to the root and lead to more efficient movement; however, logistically, this isn’t possible. Applying a bracket directly to the roots would be an impossible task. Therefore, the brackets and wires are placed at the top of the teeth on the crown itself and force is transmitted through the brackets to the crown.
Movement Accelerates Over Time
When the braces or Invisalign are first applied, there is typically a slight treatment delay. The forces lead to movement in the form of bone resorption and creation, termed the bone remodeling process. At first, the body isn’t sure that to do with the forces being applied from the braces and isn’t sure how to react. Over time, the body will start to remove bone and lay down new bone in a fashion that causes the teeth to move. Therefore, the teeth may not move at all for the first couple of weeks; however, over time, the body gets used to the forces and starts to lay down bone more rapidly.
The Speed of the Movement Impacts the Treatment Length
A common question regarding braces involves how long people will have to wear braces on their teeth. The answer to this question is entirely dependent on how quickly the teeth move and how far they have to go. As the bone remodeling process accelerates the movement rate, patients will return to visit the orthodontist on a regular basis.
At these appointments, the oral health professional will track the movement of the teeth to see how quickly the teeth are moving and estimate how long it will take for the teeth to reach their final resting place. Therefore, the length of each treatment will be discussed on an individual basis with each patient’s healthcare provider. Make an appointment today to learn more, a trained professional is always standing by for the aid of the patient.