How Do Braces Work?

At Dudley Smiles, we get beginning braces treatment is a big decision, and understanding precisely the journey you are embarking on is very important! Our team can answer your big questions, such as how braces work. What treatments are available? And what does each little piece do? We are here to answer each of those questions and more!

What Are Braces and How Do They Operate?

This small but mighty appliance can fix various orthodontic issues, including malocclusion, bite complications, and crowded teeth. Dr. Dudley and our team of friendly professionals are committed to helping you through each phase of the process. 

Braces work in slow motion over the course of one to three years, putting small amounts of pressure on your teeth through the help of a wire and a set of brackets. During check-ins, we will keep track of your progress and make minor adjustments until you achieve a fantastic and functional smile.

Types of Treatment

Metal Braces

The most traditional sign of orthodontics, metal braces advance each year and provide reliable treatment for any dental issue you present. No longer the bulky and uncomfortable appliances it was, these are as light and sleek as they come. Our high-quality stainless steel can withstand everyday wear and tear, so you don’t have to worry about metal braces falling out of place or breaking on you.

Clear Braces 

A perfect option for older teens and adults, clear braces offer an aesthetic treatment option that combines the reliability of metal braces with the discreet illusion of a nearly invisible appliance. The brackets match the color of your teeth, allowing them to blend in with your smile so you can wear them with no change to your confidence. They are even stain-resistant, allowing you to continue drinking dark liquids like coffee, tea, and wine without issue.

What Are The Phases of Braces Treatment?

Level and Align

To begin your treatment, Dudley Smiles focuses on the best level and general alignment for your teeth. Our team works to have them all sitting right next to each other by placing pressure in each necessary direction to create a solid foundation for the next phase.

Bite Adjustments

Once your teeth are generally aligned, Dr. Dudley will work on bite adjustments. Depending on your case, this step may take longer for some than others. You can expect to have any overbite, underbite, crossbite, or gapped teeth issues solved during this phase and see notable changes.


Towards the latter half of treatment, Dr. Dudley will fine-tune specific teeth so your smile will be as best aligned as possible. He puts his orthodontic expertise to work by making minute adjustments to your appliance or wires.

How Do Braces Work?

How To Upkeep Your Braces 

Eating Habits

As durable as your appliance is, our team stresses the importance of staying away from sticky or crunchy foods while wearing braces to not put unnecessary pressure on them. Saying no to foods such as gummies, hard candies, nuts, and hard crackers will help prolong the life of your braces. This is a great time to try new foods you would have otherwise passed up!

Protection From Mouthguards

To keep your teeth safe throughout treatment, we recommend sports players wear mouthguards while in action. They can absorb the blow of any fall or injury you may suffer, so your teeth can stay protected. We hope you stay safe from harm, but if you experience an accident, check on your teeth and braces immediately in case of a loosened tooth or broken appliance. Both are fixable with timely action.

Keeping Up With Oral Health

Dr. Dudley can answer any questions that may arise when it comes to the best way to brush or floss your teeth with braces on. It can be tricky to reach every corner with a bracket or wire in the way, but it is vital you ensure you keep your teeth clean from plaque or pieces of food nudged under part of your appliance. Spending extra time caring for your teeth in the morning and night pays off at the end of treatment.

The Components That Build Your Appliance


Placed on the front surface of each tooth, brackets are small square structures that anchor the archwire along with other components as they work to shift your teeth into place.


One of the most essential features of your braces, the archwire, is what is interweaved with your brackets and, in turn, places measured pressure on all of your teeth to create a straight smile.


Glue, or bonding cement, is used to attach your brackets to the front surface of your teeth. Trying to loosen a bracket may feel impossible by hand, but rest assured, the glue is made to easily come off of your teeth when using the right orthodontic tools.


Spacers take the form of tiny elastic rings that fit between your teeth and create even spacing. They are typically used in back molars when crowded teeth need to make space for a metal band to be comfortably placed over them.

Metal Bands

Bands anchor your archwire in place to keep it from shifting around so that your teeth don’t start to move in the wrong direction. It is placed comfortably on your back molars so you cannot feel it. We usually use these on molars if the patient has a crown or if they need something extra, like an expander.

Rubber Bands

The archwire applies much of the pressure required in realignment, but sometimes, teeth need an extra push in the right direction. In this case, rubber bands do just that by attaching to the hooks on your upper and lower brackets. 

How Do Braces Work?

Let Us Help You Navigate Braces Treatment!

Serving Issaquah and the surrounding community with high-quality orthodontic care is what we do best! Let our team and your braces do the job of improving your smile and reap the benefits. Whether you are searching for a free consultation or would like more questions answered about the next steps, feel free to call us, and we will be happy to walk you through things.