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What are Arch Wires?

Arch wires are critical components in dental applications with braces and fixing teeth positioning to their proper alignments. An arch wire is the thin wire that connects between each bracket on teeth in orthodontic treatment. The main purpose of these wires is to correct teeth placement and positioning in the mouth to be straight and aligned properly. These wires pass through the brackets placed on the tooth and held down by elastic ties to be held in place. They play an important role in restoring the appearance of what our teeth should look like.

The purpose of an arch wire is to shift teeth into the correct positions they should be in. Modern arch wires more commonly have shape memories properties. The wire is weaved between the dental brackets at a certain temperature and as the wire moves through time, it moves the teeth simultaneously. This force is acting on a ligament called the periodontal ligament. This connects your teeth to the surrounding bones, and when movement occurs, this tissue is stretched and worked on to realign the tooth to its normal position. Arch wires may start off being very flexible to achieve larger movements in the beginning, and stiffer in the end for more specific shifting wanted. Every situation can differ depending on the severity of the teeth, length of time needed for the fix, and other underlying factors.

There are different types of arch wires that exist in the orthodontic space. They normally are made of some sort of metal alloy. Stainless-steel options are an older type that is very durable and corrosion-resistant. The first couple wires in the process utilized today are of the nickel-titanium sort, which is a shape memory choice for correcting teeth when they are the most crooked. When the final wire is needed for specific movements to finalize teeth placement, a beta-titanium choice can be used with its ability to bend and be manipulated easily. Cobalt-chromium arch wires can adjust their strength level and form easily but are not used as much as the previous options in treatment today.

There are various industry terms that are helpful in conversation to know. Springback refers to a wire’s capacity to be formed into different ways while still being able to return to its first form. Formability is the maximum a wire can bend before snapping, while resilience is talking about a wire’s elasticity it can undergo. A wire’s range is the most a wire can bend before it won’t go back to its original shape, and failure point is the point where a wire will break. These terms may be utilized in orthodontic discussions and used when discussing arch wires.

ProPlate has plated dental arch wires and brackets in the past. We have utilized rhodium and gold metal capabilities to plate these items for aesthetic appearances, biocompatibility, and performance. Please reach out if we can help out in plating these items for you in the future. 

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