How Do Braces Work?

Beyond their cosmetic advantages, braces offer many function benefits, such as improving your general health and sleeping easier. They provide a transformative opportunity for renewed confidence. If you have ever wondered how braces work and what treatment is like, Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics is here to offer a comprehensive guide! 

Understanding Braces at a Glance

Used to straighten and correct many orthodontic issues, orthodontists have used braces for years to achieve incredible results and stunning smiles. They can apply even pressure to shift your teeth and jaw and shift your teeth a little bit each day throughout treatment. Braces can treat malocclusion, bite complications, and crowded or gapped teeth. 

They work by placing continuous slight pressure on your teeth controlled by the brackets placed on them and the archwire threaded through. Throughout treatment, Dr. Hamer or Dr. Glassick make adjustments to ensure the correct amount of pressure is set, slowly restructuring your teeth position and jaw bones.

Our Treatment Options

Clear Braces

Made of a polycrystalline ceramic material, clear braces are a perfect aesthetic option for older teens and adults seeking treatment. Their tooth-colored brackets seamlessly blend into your smile and provide a discreet appearance while offering unmistakable results at the end of treatment.

Metal Braces

A long-trusted option, metal braces have been an orthodontic staple for many years. They provide aid to just about any issue patients come in with. Offering the latest braces technology, they are more comfortable and smaller than ever, providing an effortless experience for all our patients. 

Average Treatment Time

The time each patient spends with their braces depends on the complexity of their case, your age, and the type of braces you choose. On average, braces treatment takes between one to three years. It may sound like a daunting amount of time, but the effort you put into straightening your teeth will be reflected in your smile, which can last you a lifetime.

Care and Maintenance

Oral Hygiene

When caring for your oral health during braces treatment, you want to remember your teeth and appliances. Maneuvering around brackets and wires can be difficult, but brushing and flossing your teeth twice daily is necessary. During any appointment, Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick will gladly explain how to polish everything so it stays shiny and clean. The more pristine you keep it, the more effective your braces can function.

Food Choices

Though braces are very strong, they can still break, one way being when you eat a hard or sticky piece of food. We recommend avoiding foods such as caramel, popcorn, crunchy food, etc. Luckily, there are plenty of delicious foods you can rely on to provide balanced meals and satisfy your cravings, such as rice, bananas, ice cream, and tender chicken.

Your Role in Treatment

Working towards your beautiful smile is a joint effort. Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics provides the appliance and expertise, while it is your responsibility to properly care for it and wear your rubber bands and retainers. Shifting your teeth is as efficient as you allow it to be and can even shorten your treatment time when everything goes according to plan. 

How Do Braces Work?

The Mechanics of Braces


Providing an anchor point for many other parts, brackets are square attachments made of either metal or ceramic that apply gentle, continuous pressure on your teeth to help them shift over time. 


Threaded through each of your brackets is what we call an archwire. It is placed across your teeth and is responsible for guiding other pieces for optimal alignment. It works with your brackets to put pressure on your teeth in the right direction. 


We use a special orthodontic glue called bonding cement to affix your brackets to the front of your teeth. Though very strong, it is designed to be easily removed once your treatment finishes.

Rubber Bands

Sometimes, particular areas of your teeth need an extra push to match the alignment of the rest of your teeth during the braces process. Available in different sizes and strengths, rubber bands get hooked onto your brackets and shift both your jaw and teeth in the correct direction. 

Metal Orthodontic Bands

Metal bands are custom-made to place additional pressure in a particular direction to fit over your back molars and keep the archwire from shifting or moving out of place. While bands are not always necessary, Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick may find your specific case could benefit from the extra part.


Elastic rings, called spacers, create space between teeth by gently pushing them apart to make space for bands and other pieces. 

Phases of Treatment 

1) Level and Align

This crucial step begins your treatment, where Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick identify how to level and align your teeth to ensure they are readily positioned for more specific moves in the next step. The goal of this phase is to have all the teeth sit right next to each other. Depending on your needs, pressure may need to be placed in all directions to create a straight line across.

2) Bite Adjustments

Focused on adjusting bite issues, this second phase is where gaps or bite problems, such as overbite, crossbite, and underbite, are addressed. You can expect to see and feel significant changes at this point in treatment.

3) Fine-Tuning

At this stage, you are in the home stretch of treatment! Your teeth have likely shifted quite a bit and just need attention on the small details that make a fine smile. Dr. Hamer and Dr. Glassick focus on individual teeth to ensure your alignment is as straight as possible and they can function as seamlessly as possible. 

How Do Braces Work?

A Brighter Smile Awaits You! 

We want each patient to have a comfortable and enjoyable experience at Hamer & Glassick Orthodontics, and we do everything we can to accommodate you and your orthodontic needs! Our Charlottesville and Crozet practices are always ready to help new patients start their orthodontic journey. You can contact either location to schedule your free consultation and get started today.