CALL US TODAY! 757-204-7770

Glass Orthodontics Logo in Color

How Does Orthodontics Work To Shift Teeth?


The evidence is undeniable: braces are an essential element of modern dental care. Not only do braces improve the appearance of the smile, but they also prevent dental caries (cavities) by making regular brushings and cleanings more effective.  Our orthodontist and our team recommend orthodontics for many different oral health issues, not just to straighten teeth.

If you have been considering orthodontic treatment but still have questions about how orthodontics work to shift teeth, this post is for you.

Before addressing how orthodontics works, we must first address what orthodontic intervention attempts to do. Orthodontics is a multi-purpose discipline with multiple reasons for use, such as:

  • Closing wide gaps between the teeth
  • Making sure the tips of the teeth are aligned
  • Straightening crooked teeth
  • To improve speech or eating (oral function)
  • To improve the long-term health of gums and teeth
  • To prevent long-term excessive wear or trauma (of the teeth)
  • Treating an improper bite

There are quite a few benefits to gain through pursuing a healthy smile through orthodontics. Once your teeth are in their proper positions, you will be better able to talk, eat, smile, and maintain good oral health. But how does orthodontics work?

Understanding the Basics

Standard braces have four basic components: brackets, bands, archwires, and ties (also called the “o-ring”). Brackets are affixed directly to the tooth via a bonding material (glue) or a metal band. The shape and size of the tooth determine which sort of bond is used.

Next, thin archwires run from bracket to bracket, creating a system capable of exerting pressure on the teeth. Sometimes springs are placed on the archwires to push, pull, or otherwise create pressure between teeth.

Once the wires have been run through the brackets, they are held in place via small circular elastics. The teeth move when external pressure is exerted on them through this system.

Braces Affect What Lies Beneath

So, how do orthodontics work to shift teeth? When braces exert pressure on the teeth, it is not just the teeth that are affected. The teeth are able to maintain a changed position because of a process called bone remodeling.

As braces put pressure on teeth, the periodontal membrane under the gums shifts as well, either stretching or contracting. Through this system, the teeth are slightly loosened. Once the teeth are in their proper position, the bone can grow around the tooth to support its new position. This procedure takes place many times through the orthodontic process until your teeth have reached their target locations.

Additional Appliances

Sometimes a person’s particular needs require additional appliances to ensure the complete success of orthodontic treatment. Additional appliances used in orthodontic treatment may include the following:

  • Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADs): mini-screws used temporarily to apply extra pressure to teeth.
  • Rubber Bands (also called Elastics): used to apply force to teeth.
  • Additional appliances such as HERBST and RPE may be used

After Removal

How We Can Help

When you visit us, you ensure that you receive the best care available and the best possible outcome. We specialize in healthy smiles and we will show you just how orthodontics work to shift teeth! If you would like to learn how we can help you achieve the smile of your dreams, please contact us for an initial complimentary orthodontic consultation for you or your child by calling Glass Orthodontics at (757) 204-7770 or scheduling online.

Request Your Complimentary Consultation

Are you curious to learn more? Fill out our easy online form to request your complimentary orthodontic consultation with Dr Timothy Glass.

Keep up with the Latest At Glass Orthodontics

Stay Connected:

Let's Get Started

Visit our Virginia Office



200 Carmichael Way, Suite 600
Chesapeake, Virginia 23322


Monday 8:00-5:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00-4:30 pm
Wednesday 8:00-5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00-5:00 pm
Friday 8:00-4:00 pm

Visit our North Carolina Office

Elizabeth City


1755 City Center Boulevard, Unit B
Elizabeth City, North Carolina 27909


Monday 8:00-5:00 pm
Tuesday 8:00-4:30 pm
Wednesday 8:00-5:00 pm
Thursday 8:00-5:00 pm
Friday 8:00-4:00 pm

Skip to content