How Do Braces Work?

Fixing millions of patients’ teeth each year, braces are the first step in your orthodontic journey when you are looking to straighten out your smile. Brady Orthodontics is a proud braces provider and is here to help explain the basics before taking the first step. Read on to learn precisely what braces are, what kinds are available, how they work, and how to care for them during and after treatment.

Braces Explained

Acting as the mini architects of your smile, you are given the opportunity to straighten out your teeth and completely transform your confidence with braces. Using various tools, they shift the position of your teeth and jaw to create their ideal arrangement by placing gradual pressure on them over a long period. 

The earlier care begins, the more straightforward your process will be. We recommend bringing your child in around age seven for a check-in with Dr. Brady to see if early treatment is necessary. However, adults are still able to receive treatment later in their lives. It may simply take more time for equally effective results.

Treatment Options

Metal Braces

Always the reliable and sturdy option, metal braces continue to be a popular choice among our patients. More comfortable than ever, modern advancements have reduced the size of brackets and patients’ time in treatment. It has the power to fix just about any orthodontic issue!

InBrace Hidden Braces

InBrace Hidden braces offer a dependable and discreet option hidden behind your teeth so you can fix your smile without anyone knowing. Sometimes referred to as lingual braces, this aesthetic custom-made treatment is possible with the help of digital impressions.

Clear Braces

Another nearly invisible braces choice, clear braces are made of ceramic and offer tooth-colored brackets for a transparent look. They are equally effective as their metal counterpart. Clear braces are popular among older teens and adults interested in starting their braces journey with an inconspicuous appliance.

A Breakdown of Braces’ Components


This small square-shaped support is placed on the front of each tooth’s surface and glued on to act as an anchor for other pieces used to realign your teeth.


Also called bonding cement, this orthodontic-grade glue attaches the brackets mentioned above to your tooth’s surface to ensure nothing loosens during treatment.

Rubber Bands

When particular teeth need an extra push, small rubber bands may be attached to your bracket’s upper and lower hooks to align them further. Available in multiple sizes and strengths to fit any case, they shift your teeth and jaw in the desired direction.


The archwire is a long wire threaded through each bracket and used as the primary tool to place pressure on your teeth, moving them in the right path toward a straighter smile.

Metal Bands

Bands may affixed to your back molars to keep the archwire steady and in place. This metal piece is custom-made to fit over your teeth as comfortably as possible.


In the shape of an elastic ring, spacers are small separators used to create gaps in your teeth to combat crowding or make space for a metal band to be placed.

Ensuring Lasting Results and Their Upkeep

Once treatment is completed, you will want to show off your smile to everyone and maintain your results for as long as possible. Your smile can last you a lifetime, given you provide proper upkeep. Retainers are given to every Brady Orthodontics patient to help them do just that. This appliance is able to secure all the work you put into your treatment. 

Fixed Retainer

Fixed retainers are short, smooth wires glued onto the back of your upper and lower front teeth. You don’t have to worry so much about stuck pieces of food, but prioritizing extra time to care for it in the morning and night can help elongate its functionality. 

Removable Retainer

Also provided as a removable appliance, they are custom-made to fit the position your teeth end treatment at. They consist of a thin wire lining your upper and lower teeth attached to a clear plastic piece touching your upper jaw. Following your braces coming off, Brady Orthodontics recommends you keep it on full-time for the first six months before transitioning to only wearing it while asleep.

Stay Proactive with a Care Kit During Braces Treatment

To be best prepared for at-home braces care, we recommend you keep a care kit handy to deal with situations as they come up. You likely already have many of the items on this list.

Orthodontic Wax

In many cases, orthodontic wax can protect your gums and tongue from irritation due to your braces. All you need to do is tear off a small piece and flatten it flush against your appliance to ensure it stays on for as long as possible. Should it fall off and you swallow the piece, don’t fret, as it is digestible!

Floss and Threaders

No matter the food you eat, there is always the chance of a piece getting stuck behind your wires or between your teeth. Floss sticks will only go so far with your wire spanning across your mouth. We provide floss with special threaders to get to hard-to-reach areas of your teeth.

Toothbrush and Paste

Continually brushing each morning and night is essential with braces. The more often you are able to brush your teeth after each meal, the better. Otherwise, thoroughly rinsing your teeth with water will loosen up any stuck pieces of food or lingering plaque. 

How Do Braces Work?

Embrace Your Opportunity For Orthodontics

At Brady Orthodontics, you can expect only the latest in orthodontic advancements. Serving Winnetka, Evanston, and the surrounding communities, our team will gladly examine your teeth during a free consultation to help you better understand the next steps toward braces and how to approach care. Give us a call today, and our scheduling coordinator will help you find the perfect time to come in. We can’t wait to meet you!