How do teeth move with orthodontic treatment?

May 4th, 2019

How do teeth move with orthodontic treatment?

Nowadays it seems like everyone knows about getting straight teeth with orthodontics.  But what does that mean and how does it work.  This article explains the process of tooth movement and the ways orthodontists can create the smile you've always wanted.

Physiology of tooth movement

Our teeth are constantly moving to some degree.  Unfortunately it's usually in the wrong or less desirable direction.  This movement, however, actually help us maintain healthy teeth and gums. More importantly, it's the reason why, when controlled properly, orthodontists can move and align teeth.

Every tooth sits in a pocket of bone, connected by fibers and surrounded by cells.  When a force is placed on a tooth, cells are activated to break down bone (on the side where the tooth is moving to) and rebuild bone (on the side behind the tooth).  The bone remodels as the tooth moves through it. It's your orthodontist's job to properly control and direct those forces and ensure a healthy response.  There are always limitations to how much and how far a tooth can move - this is why is critical to see a specialist in Orthodontics to properly diagnose each patient and create a customized treatment plan.

How are forces created

The traditional way to move teeth is with BRACES. A metal or ceramic (clear) bracket is bonded to the tooth (imagine "glueing" a bracket to each tooth), then a wire is placed to provide the force needed for movement. As the teeth align, larger, more rigid wires are placed to provide greater control of each tooth's movement.

CLEAR ALIGNERS (Invisalign) are clear plastic trays that are created in a series to sequentially move the teeth.  A 3D model of the teeth and bite is created in computer software, the teeth are individually moved incrementally, and the final results is virtually produced.  At each stage of movement, then, a clear aligner is fabricated.  The aligners are changed weekly (again, controlled forces are used) until the teeth are aligned and the bite is corrected.

RETAINERS can sometimes be used to create very limited amounts of tooth movement.  Typically these are used for former patients who experience minor tooth shifting and seek realignment.

So now what...

Anyone interested in more information on orthodontics and tooth movement in general can feel free to email us at or give us a call at 985-446-0988.


Retainers - A patient's best friend

February 15th, 2019

If I asked you to wear a belt each night and guaranteed that you’d never gain weight, would you wear it? Or if you could put a lotion on your face each night and never wrinkle, would you be happy to comply?  Well great news – we can do just that to maintain healthy, straight teeth– with Retainers.

Teeth, like everything else, can and will change with time.  (Again, think wrinkles). That’s natural and normal. But we want to make the most of your investment in a beautiful smile. That’s where retainers play a critical role.

Types of retainers:

Bonded Retainers– these are typically bonded “glued” to the lower canines to maintain alignment of the lower front teeth.  They are NOT permanent, however. They can come loose if not properly cared for. We recommend these stay bonded for a lifetime unless a lower nighttime retainer is faithfully worn

Removable Retainers– Clear, plastic retainers are made to fit and hold all of the teeth. These are typically worn full time for at least 1 month, then just to sleep at night. As long as your retainer fits and is worn to sleep, your teeth should stay straight.

So when asked “How long should I wear my retainer?” - the answer is always “For as long as you want your teeth to be straight”

So wear your retainer each night and rest assured you know you’ll always have the smile you’ve always wanted.

And remember to always Keep on Smilin'

Welcome to Our Blog!

December 12th, 2018

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for updates on important and interesting information about orthodontics and the dental industry, the latest news about our practice, and fun and exciting events happening at our office

Feel free to leave a comment or question for Dr. LaHaye and the LaHaye Ortho team – we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!