How Fast Do Braces Move Your Teeth?

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Medically reviewed by Othman Lahmaydi, RDH

Although everyone agrees that braces can work wonders for treating malocclusions and other teeth disorders, many wonder how quickly they actually move the teeth into the desired position. So what’s the deal? How fast are braces working, and will you notice a change day to day, week to week?

Braces move your teeth gradually over time. The process is so slow that it’s virtually impossible to observe the changes on a daily basis. You may not notice the first results for a couple months after having braces put on. Take pictures in the mirror every week to see your progress.

What all this means is that you need to be patient. Braces do their job, but they do it slowly! Let’s take a closer look at how braces work, what tools are involved, and why you can’t see your teeth moving from one day to the next.

How Do Braces Work?

Young black woman smiling with braces

The science behind braces is relatively simple. They work by applying pressure at all times on your teeth and jaws, thereby making them change their position. The brace brackets, which are glued to the teeth, hold the archwire in place around your teeth and gums.

The archwire applies constant pressure on your teeth. That pressure from the archwire gradually moves your teeth into the position you want.

Although many people believe the teeth come fused into the jaw, they are held in place by periodontal ligaments. These ligaments are pliable, and over time, the pressure from the braces moves your teeth into the position you want.

Here are some of the parts that make up your mouth brace.


Orthodontists used spacers to push the jaw forward. They do this by creating space at the back of your mouth when they are applied behind your molars. Spacers are made from either rubber bands or metal rings.

Orthodontists use spacers to prepare your mouth before braces are applied. Spacers aren’t for everyone, and even those who need spacers don’t need to use them for more than a week or two at a time.


We’ve already mentioned the archwire, which is the part of the braces that applies pressure to the gums and teeth. Archwires run from bracket to bracket and come in stainless steel, copper titanium, or nickel-titanium compounds.

Bracket Adhesion

Experts apply bracket adhesion after your teeth have been cleaned and dried. It is used to attach the brackets (which are usually made of ceramic, stainless steel, or plastic) to the teeth.

Brackets help the archwire stay in place. While they might be uncomfortable at first, bracket adhesions shouldn’t cause any pain.

Elastic Bands

Elastic bands are also known as ligatures or O-rings. They are put around the brackets after they are placed on your teeth. Not every braces treatment requires elastic bands, but most traditional ones do.

These elastic bands come in various colors to suit your preferences and give the braces a nicer look.

Buccal Tube

The job of the buccal tube is to hold all the parts of the braces in place at the end of your mouth. The tube, made from metal, is attached to one of the molars. Depending on what the orthodontist wants to achieve, they can increase or decrease the pressure on your teeth from the buccal tube.

Coil Springs

Coil springs are an optional part of braces. They are put on the archwire and help to apply pressure between two of your teeth by pulling them apart and creating space between the teeth.

Facebow Headgear

The Facebow headgear is only used in severe cases and is only attached to the braces at night. When required, they apply extra pressure on your teeth in unique or special circumstances.

Are Braces Constantly Moving Your Teeth?

Imagine a glacier, slowly moving inch by inch. The movement doesn’t show at once, but at some point you can tell that it’s moved over time. The same applies to braces.

The pressure applied by braces moves your teeth constantly, but the result of that movement can’t be seen right away. Remember that the teeth are in the periodontal ligament and aren’t permanently fixed in the jaw.

The pressure applied by braces is like gravity to glaciers. It ensures that they move in the direction the orthodontist wants. The movement isn’t immediate, but people who use braces usually wear them for months or even years.

How Quickly Do Teeth Move After Braces?

Braces Teeth Female Smile

Applying braces to your teeth isn’t a quick fix. It usually takes a couple of months before the results of braces begin to show. Sometimes it takes even longer. There are times when the results show faster, and you only need to employ braces for several weeks before replacing them with aligners.

You might wonder why it takes so long for the teeth to move into position. There are several reasons for this. One of them is that orthodontist procedures require tact and just the right amount of pressure to achieve the best results.

When you apply more pressure than necessary to hasten the process, the procedure becomes very painful. There’s also the risk of root resorption, leading to tooth loss. If only a few teeth need adjustment, faster treatment methods may be okay.

Teeth that are moved too fast can also exhibit bone loss along the way and lead to black triangles between the teeth. This happens when there is more destruction occurring than rebuilding and remodeling of the bone.

During orthodontic tooth movement, periodontal ligament blood vessels are significantly involved in the renovation of tooth surrounding tissues. Osteoclasts are cells that will destroy bone to allow for movement while osteoblasts have to keep up with rebuilding the bone as they move.

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