In order to understand the role of wires in orthodontics, let’s imagine that orthodontic treatment is like driving a car from Point A to Point B. The tooth is the car that needs to be moved from point A (crooked teeth) to point B (a beautiful smile). To have a smooth and easy trip, everything needs to be coordinated:
Tooth: The car - it moves from point A to point B
Wires: The engine of a car - it generates the force necessary to move the tooth
Brackets/Braces: Tires of the car - they transfer the force from the wire (engine) so that the tooth (car) can move
Color ties: Parts that connect the tires to the engine
Regular dental cleaning and check-up: Oil change and maintenance
Dr. Amin Movahhedian and Dr. Hamed Vaziri: The drivers
From the information above, it is clear that brackets do not move the teeth. They are a part of the system necessary for tooth movement. The actual “engine” that generates the force is the wires and other accessories such as rubber bands and power chains.
Now that you know about the role of wires in orthodontics, let’s get a little bit more specific about the physics and characteristics of each wire.
Orthodontic archwires are used to generate the force necessary for tooth movement. Depending on the stage of treatment, these wires are used to move the teeth or maintain them in a certain spot and prevent them from any undesirable movement.
Orthodontic wires are classified based on different properties, materials, the shape of the cross-section, and overall forms.
If all of the other features are the same, wires will act differently if the cross-section is not the same. There are a few different common shapes of cross-sections, the following are the most common ones:
Round: These wires are usually more flexible
Rectangular: These wires are generally stiffer
Since every individual has a unique dental arch shape, orthodontic wires are made in different arch forms. Below are some of the most common ones are oval, standard and square.