The human body is truly amazing. Biology allows us to take teeth that sit in bone and move them through that bone. There is a science behind tooth movement. Orthodontics uses chemistry, biology and physics to make the magic of moving teeth into a beautiful smile. The physics is the vectors or direction of tooth movement that results from a force. The chemistry is the signal the body releases in response to the force. The biology is the body’s reaction to the chemical signal that cause changes in the bone which allows the tooth to move.
In order for teeth to move through bone, the bone in front must be removed and bone must be left behind the tooth so there is no open space.
***THE KEY TO MOVING TEETH EFFICIENTLY IS LIGHT, CONTINUOUS FORCE!
The continuous force is what sends the biologic signal to the bone to encourage the changes to allow the tooth to move. If that force is interrupted, the tooth may not move. For this reason, cooperation with wearing elastics and other removable appliances is ESSENTIAL to treatment. The instructions that Dr. Renick provides during treatment is meant to encourage the most efficient tooth movement so that treatment can be completed in the shortest amount of time.
So, what is the basis of how this works? When force is applied to a tooth, the biologic signal it sends out calls cells known as osteoclasts to the pressure side of the tooth or the direction it is traveling. These osteoclasts remove the bone so the tooth can move forward.
On the tension side of the tooth, the spot the tooth WAS, there is now a space. Nature abhors a vacuum and a second signal initiates to bring other cells known as osteoblasts to the area to lay down “baby” bone where the tooth used to be and fill the space. Interruptions in these signals prevent tooth movement because they prevent the cells from being called to action.
The great thing about traditional braces is that the force is constant because the system is adhered in place on the teeth. The challenge comes with the adjuncts a patient is asked to wear. Because elastics, bite plates, headgear, etc. are removable, treatment relies on these items being worn as directed. Parents are encouraged to help their children with this part of treatment
Bear in mind that this signal is why conscientious wear of removable or clear aligners is the only way this system will work.
Biology also explains why adult teeth may move a little slower than teeth in growing children. Because children are already growing and bones are changing at high rates, these cells are present. In an adult, these cells may need to be called up from precursor cells before they can act.
To learn more about the science of tooth movement and to make your appointment with Dr. Renick, our experienced orthodontist in Sunbury, Ohio, please call Renick Orthodontics at 740-936-5003.