How Do Braces Work?

How Do Braces Work?

Team Braces

Orthodontics is the field of dental study focused on straightening your teeth and overall smile. Orthodontists use a variety of treatments to correct teeth alignment, including traditional metal braces. Metal braces have been so effective, they’ve been one of the primary methods of straightening teeth in the dental field for several decades. But how do traditional braces work?

Metal braces rely on three different components to straighten out your teeth: archwires, brackets, and o-ties. By understanding these three parts, you will not only understand how traditional metal braces work, but you’ll be able to better protect your braces from damage and other accidents. So read on to learn more about how metal braces work from Dr. Suzanne Stock and our experienced orthodontic team. 


The main component that moves your teeth is the archwire. Archwires are attached to your teeth via brackets. These flexible but strong wires will be bent into a specific shape by your orthodontist, and like a typical metal wire will want to unbend itself. 

The force of trying to return to its original shape is what causes your teeth to slowly straighten out and move into their ideal position for a perfect smile. Adjustments will be required in order to correctly straighten out your teeth as quickly as possible. While braces are designed to minimize discomfort, it will take some getting used to for the first few days after getting braces.


Archwires can’t be attached directly to your teeth. Instead, they are attached to small metal brackets that are mounted to your teeth with a dental adhesive similar to that used for dental fillings. While the adhesive is strong, they can be knocked out accidentally, and are the component most susceptible to damage.

Make sure you do the following to avoid damaging your braces, especially your brackets:


Have you ever wondered what those colorful bands around the brackets are? This is what allows an orthodontist to adjust and attach a wire to a bracket without removing the bracket itself. An o-tie will be used to secure the archwire in the bracket. O-ties may vary in appearance depending on whether a patient wants a colorful smile or one that blends in with the rest of their mouth. 

Get braces and orthodontic treatment from Dr. Suzanne Stock

Are you looking for braces for yourself or a loved one? If you live in Eastern Iowa, we have several different locations where Dr. Stock works to help you correct your smile. While braces are most effective for young patients, we offer orthodontic treatment for adults as well.  Along with traditional metal braces, we’re a provider of Invisalign® clear aligners for those who want a straighter smile but hate the look of traditional braces.

Ready to find your perfect smile? Contact us today if you have any questions, or to schedule an in-person consultation. Dr. Suzanne Stock, Orthodontist, is looking forward to seeing you!