Bracket Busters

Dr. Nate here this week.  Welcome to Spring Break (at least for those not having theirs over Easter...)!  And what is the one thing I know you were eagerly anticipating?  This blog.  You're welcome.

If you have read our blog over its short history, most of the posts deal with answers to commonly asked questions in our practice.  And today's is no different.  What exactly do the brackets do, and is the design important?

As discussed last week, teeth move because of a force applying pressure over time.  The brackets transfer that force from the wire to the teeth.  Without getting stuck in the weeds, that is essentially the answer.  Brackets are a way to help move teeth by holding the wire in place.  So the next logical question then is, does bracket design matter?

If you ask the manufacturers, the answer is yes.  About 15 years ago bracket design was at the forefront of 'new' orthodontic technology (never mind that the designs have largely remained the same since the mid 20th century, even the 'new' ones).  What's that old adage about not know your history...?

Certain companies came out with these new brackets they termed self-ligating.  To not infringe on copyrights, I will not post pictures.  Google self-ligating brackets if you want, but the simplest explanation is a traditional bracket with a garage door that would close around the wire.

What made them so special?  They would move teeth faster, cause less pain, and make treatment times go down.  Basically they would do everything except end world hunger.  Name something you don't like about orthodontics, and self-ligating brackets would do it.  It got kind of nutty, actually.  But did the bracket design matter?

No.  It took about a decade of research, but the conclusion was that all brackets work the same.  And why wouldn't they?  If you think logically orthodontics is a biological/physiological process involving cells, bone, and teeth.  How does a cell in your body know if the bracket is a specific design?  It doesn't.  Orthodontics still comes down to the skill set of the Orthodontist, not the brackets they use.

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