As founder of an orthodontic practice in South San Francisco, California, William Fay, DDS, assesses and designs treatment for each of his patients. William Fay, DDS, formulates his decisions based on patient information and an in-depth understanding of how braces work.
Each tooth attaches to the jawbone at the root, where connective tissue provides structural stability. Orthodontics can manipulate the position of the tooth by exerting a gentle force on the crown of a tooth via an attached bracket.
This force then travels down the tooth to its root, where the periodontal ligament stretches in response to the new load. The adjacent bone senses the additional pressure and begins the creation of osteoclasts, which break down the bone in order to restore normal pressure levels.
Meanwhile, the bone surrounding the opposite side of the tooth feels the pulling tension also generated by the movement. This tension prompts the development of osteoblasts, specialized cells responsible for bone generation. The resultant new bone fills in the spaces that occur as a result of osteoclasts’ breaking down of the bone.
Shifting of the tooth occurs gradually. Bone begins to change its structure within one to two weeks of an orthodontist’s adjusting of the brace material. Once the bone has changed, the tooth settles into this new position over the course of just a few weeks.