During my orthodontic treatment, and when I remembered, I asked to keep the arch wires when they were replaced with new ones. I was fascinated by how they were working between appointments to move my teeth and now that I have had a chance to look at the collection thought it about time to write a post on the different types of arch wires used during treatment.
I started with a very light and extremely flexible wire that was used to initially align the teeth so that stiffer wires could be used as treatment progressed. This initial wire was round and caused very little friction with the bracket which enabled the teeth to move easily which is why many patients see such huge progress during the first few months. This initial phase starts tooth movement resulting in levelling, alignment and development of the arch form and prepares for the second phase of archwire sequencing.
Once my teeth had started to line up, I moved to a stiffer and larger round wire that further developed the arch form and teeth alignment. This wire felt ‘tighter’ than the first one as it starter to better engage with the brackets and again, much progress was made in a short period of time.
The third phase of my treatment involved moving to a stainless steel rectangular form arch wire that fully engaged with the slot on each bracket. This would not have been possible if the previous wires had not aligned the teeth properly. The purpose of this wire was to stop the teeth from tipping as they moved along the arch wire as gaps were closed and to align the angle of each tooth.
The final stage of my treatment, the refinement stage, involved an arch wire that could be adjusted by my orthodontist who was able to place small bends in the wire to move individual teeth. I kept this wire to the end of my treatment and it is amazing to see all the small bends that made such a contribution to the finished results.
There is a lot of technical information on the internet about arch wire sequencing and I will post some links below as I find useful pages.