PacificWest Orthodontist, Braces & Invisalign Vancouver

science behind braces

The Science Behind Braces

Have you ever wondered how exactly braces help your teeth move? Every 6-8 weeks or so, you come into the office to get your braces tightened. What you usually notice is that you have a thicker wire, but how does that help with your treatment?


The goal of having braces is to encourage the movement of your teeth into proper alignment. At every appointment, Dr. Wang and Dr. Lee examine your teeth to determine how move your teeth along in the most effective way. They understand how teeth move, and use that knowledge to decide how to make the magic happen.


With braces, pain and discomfort are common because your teeth are literally dragged and pushed into a new position. Your teeth are under physical pressure with braces. As a result your teeth release these biochemicals that cause inflammation. Now, this inflammation is natural and a normal part of the process. The purpose of inflammation is to remodel the bone surrounding each tooth to create space to allow for tooth movement. So yes, the inflammation does more than just give you pain!


Normally people take drugs such as ibuprofen, which relieves pain because it is an anti-inflammatory drug. This means that ibuprofen works to reduce the inflammation your body is experiencing. However, with braces, since we want the teeth to move and inflammation is needed for that movement, ibuprofen actually reduces the teeth’s ability to move! Of course, your teeth will still move even if you take ibuprofen, but the movement will slow down.


So now you’re probably thinking – what am I supposed to do about the pain I get from braces? What alternative is there to taking ibuprofen? The answer: Lower Level Laser Therapy (LLLT). We use LLLT to stimulate your gums and bones to allow your teeth to move, but also calms the nerve and reduce the release of pain. It’s a win-win of a speedier process with less pain!

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Dr. Wang, DDS, MSc, FRCD(C)
Dr. Kevin Lee, DMD, MSc, FRCD(C)