Ah, memories. They’re a great way to pass on family traditions or bring humor to a dinner party. Our ability to recall the past may have even had a hand in forming our personalities today — but our brains aren’t the only objects that retain and store information. Dental braces also use memory to straighten your teeth! Straight wire braces consist of a “memory wire” that works with other orthodontic appliances to give you a perfect smile.
You may have never heard of them, but straight wire braces are the most common type of fixed wire, or permanent, dental braces. Also known as a pre-adjusted edgewise appliance, straight wire braces have been correcting smiles for decades as the most traditional orthodontic dental treatment in the nation.
The Straight Facts
The straight wire is actually a flexible metal wire that works by placing pressure on your teeth to move them in the right direction. First, your dentist or orthodontist will place a bracket in a predetermined position on each tooth. These brackets are pre-adjusted in torque and tip — meaning they are customized to move your tooth’s root in the right direction while correcting the angle of the tooth’s crown.
After the brackets are secured, the straight wire is connected to them, causing it to bend. The straight wire works by trying to return to its original shape. As it bends back into shape, it forces the teeth to move, eventually lining your brackets into the correct position. Once your treatment is complete, your teeth should line up perfectly along the straight wire.
Many modern straight wire braces are now made of a nickel-titanium alloy, which adjusts to your body temperature. At room temperature, these wires are extremely flexible and easy to place on your brackets. As the metal warms, the wire becomes active to gradually move your teeth. Because they require less attention, these high-tech straight wires are commonly used today.
Mix and Match
Just because the straight wire is made of metal doesn’t mean you’re limited to metal brackets. There are several variations of straight wire braces that can be used with any type of bracket system, including clear and gold braces. Your dentist or orthodontist may also combine your treatment with other orthodontic techniques to achieve the desired results. For example, springs or headgear may be added to your spring wire braces to orrect an overbite or underbite.
Fix It and Forget About It
Like with many other types of dental braces, you will need to visit your dental office every four to six weeks to have your straight wire braces adjusted. During your appointment, your dentist will change the elastic bands that hold your spring wire in place. These bands can weaken over time, lessening the pressure the straight wire is applying to your teeth. You may need your straight wire replaced during the course of your dental treatment as well.
Straight wire dental braces are not a quick fix. On average, it takes about one to two years to straighten your teeth. But if you follow your orthodontic treatment as planned, your crooked teeth may just be a fading memory. If you’re interested in speaking with a dentist, call us at 210-774-6518. We’ll help you find a great dentist near you!