Understanding Why Orthodontic Movements Are Slow

16 August 2018
 Categories: Dentist, Blog


If you have decided to have your teeth straightened, then you may be interested in the use of traditional metal braces. If so, you should know that you need to be patient while the teeth are moved slowly. It may be hard to understand why this is best for your overall appearance and oral health. If you are interested in why the teeth are moved slowly and what can happen if they are moved too quickly, keep reading.

Why Are the Teeth Moved Slowly?

The teeth are moved relatively slowly when straightening is completed with braces, and this is why you will have the braces secured for between one and three years. The slow movements specifically allow for good bone remodeling. 

Basically, as the teeth shift, the jaw bone starts to break down due to pressure. This allows the tooth to move in the socket, and new bone material forms on the opposite side of the tooth. At the same time, the periodontal ligament stretches due to force and then must settle into its new position. 

New bone does not form overnight. In fact, it can take weeks for new cells to develop and solidify. In the meantime, the tooth cannot be moved any further, so the orthodontist will meet with you once a month or so to make adjustments. 

What Happens if the Teeth Are Moved too Fast?

There are a variety of things that can happen if an orthodontist is too aggressive and moves the teeth too quickly. Loose teeth are the most likely issue since the socket will be quite wide as too much of the bone breaks down. 

Also, if the teeth move too quickly and sockets are open and wide, then it is hard to control the movement of the teeth. They may settle in a poor position. This is something that can happen long term as well, since the jaw will often be weak overall with poor remodeling. 

If the teeth move too quickly, then the gums may have difficulty compensating. This can cause a good deal of tissue inflammation, and gingivitis is likely to develop as a result. Gums can thin as well, and this will result in very little protection for the dental roots. 

If you do want to have your orthodontic work sped up a bit, then some professionals will use a technique where small holes can be created in the jaw where the teeth are being moved. Speak with your professional about this to see if it is an option for you. An orthodontist, like those at Poulson Orthodontics, can tell you more.