How Do Braces Move Teeth?

By Dr. Tarek O. Zaki, D.D.S.


Have you ever thought about how braces move teeth? Aren’t your teeth in there permanently, so they can’t move? Being able to move teeth is pretty impressive. Right? With the use of braces and an educated and trained orthodontist, your teeth can be moved to give you a beautiful smile!



How Do Braces Move Teeth?


Braces help guide and gradually move your teeth over time by continuously applying slight force to move the tooth in a certain direction. To better understand the process, it’s helpful to know how the different components of braces work together to create a beautiful smile.

  • Brackets are small pieces of ceramic or metal that are square-shaped and attached directly to the tooth. They hold the arch wires responsible for moving teeth.Braces Components
  • Orthodontic bands encircle the tooth to anchor a bracket or tube. They are stainless steel. Normally a band will have an orthodontic hook and tube on the cheek side and a button on the tongue side. They are cemented to the tooth with bonding agents and are used on teeth that will need to withstand heavy forces.
  • Archwires, held by brackets, direct the movement of the teeth and can be tooth-colored or metal.
  • Ties that attach the arch wire to the brackets are little rubber rings or tiny wires that will range from metal to clear to colored. This is the part kids love the most because they can pick different colors every time they go to the orthodontist.
  • Holding the end of the archwire to the bracket on the last tooth is the buccal (cheek side) tube.
  • Elastics or rubber bands may be attached to bracket hooks and placed between the lower and upper teeth in diverse ways to move some of the teeth in one arch against those teeth in the opposing arch. This will ultimately result in a better fit of your teeth.

With all the braces components in place, the archwire applies constant pressure to the brackets and thus the teeth move into the correct position. If you want a more technical description, click here.


 You can’t rely on braces alone!

If you or your child wears braces, you need to follow your orthodontist’s instructions for treatment and care of your braces. It’s important for you to keep your orthodontic appointments, so that your treatment is not interrupted or your teeth start to shift back.Orthodontics Treatments

  • You should also let the orthodontist know if any of your brackets have come loose or are missing or if any wires are poking and making you uncomfortable.
  • Make sure you follow your orthodontist’s instructions exactly regarding wearing your rubber bands and not doubling them up to force your teeth to move more rapidly.
  • Make sure you brush your teeth and floss. Your orthodontist should show you how to do both while wearing braces. Click here for information about the right way to brush when wearing braces.


If you have any questions or concerns, always speak with your orthodontist. Braces move teeth in a gradual way to put them in the right position with the least amount of pain possible. Be patient and let these awesome movers do their job and before you know it, you’ll have a beautiful smile.

Dr. Tarek O. Zaki, DDS is a board certified orthodontist in Virginia Beach, Virginia who specializes in providing metal and ceramic braces and Invisalign® to his child, teenage and adult patients. Call today for your free consultation.



Zaki Orthodontics in Virginia Beach Virginia is the practice of Dr. Tarek O. Zaki, D.D.S. He is an experienced orthodontist providing braces, Invisalign® and other orthodontic services to Virginia Beach and the surrounding cities in Hampton Roads, including Norfolk, Chesapeake, Suffolk and Portsmouth Virginia. Dr. Zaki offers free, comprehensive, 2nd opinion examinations. For a full list of Zaki Orthodontics’ treatments and services click here. Click here to request an appointment online or call for a consultation. 757-416-1100