All About Arch Wires - Biermann Orthodontics

All About Arch Wires in Orthodontics: Purpose, Types, and Recommended Uses

If you’re considering braces, you may have heard the term arch wire used. But you probably have no idea what that means!

We’ll explain what orthodontic arch wires are, the purpose they serve, and what types may be used in your braces. And if you’re interested in straightening your teeth without the use of wires, we can fill you in on that as well.

Table of Contents

What Is an Arch Wire?

An orthodontic arch wire is the wire that attaches to your braces. It is called an “arch wire” because your top teeth comprise your top arch, and your bottom teeth comprise your bottom arch. 

An arch wire is like the engine that guides and moves your teeth. Without an arch wire to connect your braces, you would just be wearing braces for fun and your teeth would never move! These braces wires come in different sizes and have different material compositions.

What Is the Purpose of the Arch Wire?

When you first start treatment with braces, your teeth are crooked. The wire that attaches to your braces must be able to return to its original shape when it is deformed or bent. The force that returns the wire to its original shape is what moves your teeth. The wire should be springy, yet exert a gentle force so that your brackets do not pop off when the orthodontist ties in your arch wire.

As your teeth get straighter, your orthodontist will exchange the wire in your braces for stronger wires that are usually less elastic and stiffer. These stronger, stiffer wires allow the orthodontist to have more control over tooth movements. Oftentimes, these later wires have characteristics that allow the orthodontist to put permanent bends in the arch wire if he wants to move individual teeth.

What Are the Different Types of Arch Wires?

When orthodontists discuss the different types of arch wires, they are typically referring to either the size/shape of the wires or the materials they’re made with.

Arch wires come in round or rectangular shapes, and they may be composed of stainless steel, nickel-titanium, or beta-titanium.

Size and Shape of Arch Wires

When orthodontists talk about the “size” of an arch wire, they are referring to the cross-section or thickness of the wire. Considering arch wires made from identical materials, the smaller the cross-section, the more elastic and less stiff the wire will be. 

Wires come in two types of cross-sections: 

  1. Round – These dental braces wires are round in a cross section.
  2. Rectangular – Rectangular wires can be square or rectangular in a cross section.

In the beginning stages of treatment, round wires are typically used to level and align the teeth. This is because when considering arch wires made from identical materials, round wires are more elastic and so the orthodontist will be able to engage all your teeth into the wire without popping off brackets. 

If the orthodontist uses a wire that is too stiff and tries to tie the arch wire to a really crooked tooth, the wire will put too much pressure on the bracket, and the bracket may break off from the tooth.

After the teeth are straighter, orthodontists usually advance to rectangular wires. Because the wire slot of the bracket is rectangular, a rectangular wire fits into the bracket like a hand fits into a glove. 

In the beginning, the smaller rectangular wire may be like a small hand in a large glove. However, by the end of treatment, the rectangular wire you have may be more like a large hand in a large glove. By fitting snugly into the bracket, the rectangular wire controls tooth movement better than a round wire.

Arch Wire Materials

Now that you understand a little about why orthodontists like elastic wires in the beginning of braces treatment and stronger, stiffer wires at the end of treatment, let us consider what materials the arch wires are made of.

There are three main types of material compositions for arch wires: 

  1. Stainless steel
  2. Nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti)
  3. Beta-titanium

Let’s look into these a little further.

Stainless Steel Braces Wires

Stainless steel wires have been used for decades due to their high strength. In addition, stainless steel wires do not rust and can be adjusted in many different ways by the orthodontist without breaking. 

However, stainless steel wires are not very elastic, meaning that if you bend these wires too much, they will assume the new position and will not return to their original position. 

In the beginning stages of treatment, it is important for the wires to be elastic so that the wires can bounce back to a nice smooth U-shape and carry the teeth with them at the same time. In the initial stages of aligning very crooked teeth, stainless steel wires may not be the best option.

Nickel-Titanium Braces Wires

Nickel-titanium (Ni-Ti) wires are elastic and can return to their original shape when deformed. Therefore, in the beginning stages of orthodontic treatment, Ni-Ti wires are frequently used to put gentle forces on the crooked teeth to align them. 

A variation of Ni-Ti wires is heat-activated Ni-Ti (copper Ni-Ti) wires. Heat-activated Ni-Ti wires can hold the deformed configuration at room temperature, but when the wire reaches the temperature of a patient’s mouth, the wire will return to its original shape. 

Heat-activated Ni-Ti wires are useful in the beginning stages of treatment. If the teeth are extremely crooked, the wire can be cooled so it can be tied into the brackets easier. Then after a few minutes, it will reach the temperature of the patient’s mouth, displaying its Ni-Ti elastic properties. The warm wire will want to assume its original U-shape and carry the teeth to their new, straighter positions.

Beta-Titanium Braces Wires

Beta-titanium wires were developed after Ni-Ti wires and offer an intermediate range of elasticity and strength while also being able to be permanently deformed. 

This wire serves as a good intermediary wire between Ni-Ti and stainless steel. Some orthodontists will use this wire starting in the middle of treatment while other orthodontists do not use this type of wire at all.

What’s the Best Orthodontic Arch Wire To Use?

So which arch wires will your orthodontist use? It is difficult to say because all patients are different and all orthodontists have their own technique for adjusting braces. 

Some orthodontists only use Ni-Ti wires while other orthodontists only use stainless steel wires. However, most orthodontists typically start with small Ni-Ti wires to align crooked teeth in the beginning and then progress to larger stainless steel or beta-titanium wires when more control of teeth is necessary.

Many patients think that their wires need to be changed at every visit. This is usually not true. With the wide assortment of wires these days, your orthodontist may only need to use three to five sets of wires during treatment. More wires may be needed for complicated cases.

Is It Possible To Straighten My Teeth Without Using Wired Braces?

Yes, it is! Many people want straighter teeth and a more beautiful smile without the hassle of having wires attached to their teeth. 

For these patients, we highly recommend Invisalign. This series of digitally-designed, nearly invisible aligners will straighten your teeth comfortably, plus you can remove them when needed.

Biermann Orthodontics is a Diamond Plus Invisalign Provider, meaning we are in the top 1% of orthodontist’s offices that provide this service.


See if Invisalign will work for you, and then contact us today to set up a consultation.

Stephen Yang, DMD, MS, is a writer and Senior Editor for Dr. Yang received his Bachelors degree in Psychology at the University of California at Los Angeles. Following his undergraduate studies, Dr. Yang attended the Harvard School of Dental Medicine, where he completed his Evidence-Based-Dentistry thesis and obtained his Doctor of Dental Medicine degree. After receiving his doctorate, Dr. Yang went on to study at the University of Southern California where he received his Certification in Orthodontics. Concurrently at USC, he completed his thesis on one phase versus two phase treatment in patients with large overbites, and obtained his Masters of Science in Craniofacial Biology.

Dr. Yang is a Board Certified Orthodontist, practicing in Antioch, California. He is a Certified Invisalign Provider, and is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists, American Dental Association, and California Dental Association.

Original Article:

Looking for an orthodontist in Beaverton, Oregon? Biermann Orthodontics is a cutting-edge orthodontic practice that serves Beaverton and Molalla, OR, and focuses on providing world-class customer service and efficient treatment. We strive to create stunning smiles in the shortest amount of time without ever sacrificing quality.

Visit our Locations page to find a clinic near you, or schedule an initial consultation.

Biermann Orthodontics

17885 NW Evergreen Parkway, Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006


The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.

Dry Mouth With Braces - Biermann Orthodintics

Dry Mouth With Braces: What’s the Deal?

Achieving a healthy and beautiful smile with braces is an exciting journey — but also a journey that comes with discomforts and unexpected symptoms, including dry mouth.

If you have braces and experience some side effects such as a dry, cottony feeling in your mouth, there are solutions that can allow you to remain more comfortable until the braces are off.

Table of Contents

What’s the Connection Between Braces and Dry Mouth?

If you’re a candidate for braces, your dentist will examine your mouth by taking X-rays and performing an oral exam. He should ensure that all of your teeth are properly aligned and your bite is even in conjunction with your jaw.

If he sees a problem, he may refer you to an orthodontist for further evaluation and placement of braces. Your mouth then goes through a metamorphosis as it reshapes and readjusts to the proper fitting. You could experience a dry mouth during this time.

It may take a few weeks or months to get fully adjusted to having braces. According to MedlinePlus, You may experience dryness-related symptoms such as:

  • Parched lips
  • Dry mouth
  • Dry lips
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Thirst
  • Thick and stringy saliva
  • Soreness in the mouth, and 
  • Cuts and cracks at the corners of your mouth

The braces take up more space in your mouth, which can cause irritation to your gums and the sides of your mouth. Any type of irritation can promote dryness. 

After you have your braces placed and when you have to get them adjusted, you may feel pain or extreme discomfort in your mouth. 

Because your mouth experiences a lot of pressure as the adjustment process takes place, soreness is common as the arch wires, brackets, and bands are placed into the right position. This can lead to a dry mouth. It may also lead to an increase in thirst, especially when you wake up in the morning. 

Every time there is work done inside your mouth, there’s an increased risk of dryness and irritation.

Solutions for Those Experiencing Dry Mouth With Braces

You may be prohibited from eating certain foods such as chips, candy, ice, hard foods, nuts, jerky, and gum. Some foods can break down orthodontic appliances and prevent a successful orthodontic experience. 

Why do we mention this?

Normally, chewing gum may help you produce more saliva and prevent dry mouth, but with braces, you may experience dry mouth because of omitting foods and snacks (like gum) from your diet.

So, what can you do instead to help with dry mouth and lips from braces? Try the following: 

  • Stay hydrated. Not only will drinking more water increase your hydration, decreasing the risk of dry mouth, but it will also help you maintain your oral hygiene. 
  • Use ice chips. We do not recommend chewing ice as it may cause pain or damage to your orthodontic appliances, but sucking on ice chips is another great way to reduce dry mouth with braces and increase hydration. 
  • Breathe through your nose. 
  • Consider asking your dentist or orthodontist to prescribe an artificial saliva product.
  • Consult your dentist or orthodontist for additional remedies and information on preventing dry mouth with braces.

Biermann Orthodontics: Serving Patients Throughout and Around Beaverton, OR

Already have braces and experiencing symptoms, like dry mouth? Talk with one of our orthodontists to make sure you’re taking the right steps to prevent it as much as possible. 

At Biermann Orthodontics we understand that some patients want to completely avoid the symptoms, like dry mouth with braces. This is why we do our best to provide a thorough consultation and share your options with you. 

For some, products like Invisalign® may be a better option than traditional braces. For others, braces may be the best route to take. 

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact us or request an appointment today.

Original Article:

Looking for an orthodontist in Beaverton, Oregon? Biermann Orthodontics is a cutting-edge, affordable orthodontic practice that serves Beaverton and Molalla, OR, and focuses on providing world-class customer service and efficient treatment. We strive to create stunning smiles in the shortest amount of time without ever sacrificing quality.

Visit our Locations page to find a clinic near you, or schedule an initial consultation.

Biermann Orthodontics

17885 NW Evergreen Parkway, Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006

About Headgear - Biermann Orthodontics

Headgear Braces for Adults & Youth: Important Things To Note When You Need Headgear

Headgear — if you’re anyone who’s had braces or considered braces, the thought of possibly needing headgear has likely crossed your mind. 

Is headgear still commonly used in orthodontics? And why might an adult need headgear? 

We’re summarizing these answers as well as how to find relief from the discomforts of wearing headgear below. 

Table of Contents

Is Headgear Still Used for Adults & Adolescents in Orthodontics?

Orthodontics has been using headgear for well over a century as a key part of many treatment plans. But with new options like Invisalign®, some patients might wonder if headgear is still a necessary treatment option. 

Even though headgear isn’t as commonly used now, it’s still a great option for treating many orthodontic issues. Orthodontists look at factors like age, the severity of issues, and treatment goals to figure out if headgear is the right fit for each person. While the landscape of orthodontic treatments has evolved, headgear remains a valuable choice for those who need it.

Uses for Orthodontic Headgear: Adults vs. Children

Headgear is typically used in growing patients to correct overbites by holding back the growth of the upper jaw, allowing the lower jaw to catch up.

Headgear is also used in adults, but for a different reason. 

A typical scenario where orthodontic headgear for adults may be necessary is a case where some teeth are extracted, and front teeth are being retracted (pulled backward). 

When extraction spaces are being closed, the teeth behind the extraction space slide forward and the teeth in front of the space slide backward. In some situations, to maintain the bite, the orthodontist will not want the back teeth to come forward. 

The headgear serves to hold them back (maintain anchorage). 

Adolescent vs. Adult Braces: Headgear Timelines & Average Wear Times

The timelines will vary based on the reason for needing the headgear and how long each day an individual should wear the headgear with braces may also vary. 

For growing patients, headgear needs to be worn approximately 10-14 hours at a time to be effective in correcting the overbite. The timeline is usually anywhere from 6 -18 months depending on the severity of the overbite and how much a patient is growing.

Orthodontists may recommend that for adults with braces, headgear be worn as much as possible. Realistically for most adults, this might only be wearing their headgear for 8-10 hours per day, but the more the better — even 24 hours would be acceptable.

Common Side-Effects of Orthodontic Headgear for Adults and Adolescents

Although headgear is effective in treating orthodontic issues, it may lead to potential negative effects, such as discomfort and soreness, difficulty sleeping, and self-consciousness.

You may be able to minimize these effects by following your orthodontist’s instructions, which may include adjusting the headgear when necessary, maintaining good oral hygiene, and avoiding certain foods that may damage the appliance.

Combating Soreness & Discomfort

The soreness/tenderness may persist for several days. Usually, the second and third days are the most severe, with a reduction in soreness over the next couple of days. 

Ibuprofen and a soft diet are helpful. There is also a device called a “bite wafer,” which is a soft U-shaped piece of rubber that patients can gently squeeze their teeth into. The bite wafer keeps the blood circulating around the teeth and lessens the time teeth might be sore.

Typically, soreness from the headgear and elastics will attenuate and disappear after a few days, but it may persist for as long as a couple of weeks. Very few patients complain of having sore teeth essentially the whole time. 

Once the soreness is gone, it is not uncommon for it to flare up again, usually just involving a few teeth. Then the soreness disappears again. Soreness tends to leapfrog among different teeth at different times as a result of tooth movement.

Finding Relief From Soreness & Discomfort Caused By Headgear

The key to the fastest relief of tenderness is to continue to wear headgear/elastics even though the teeth are sore.

Please note that if you stop wearing the headgear or elastics, your teeth will feel better temporarily, but as soon as you resume wearing your headgear, the symptoms will start all over again.

Biermann Orthodontics: Providing Treatments Including Invisalign, Headgear, & Braces for Adults and Adolescents

Our goal at Biermann Orthodontics is to help you achieve the healthy, beautiful smile you’re after.

Choosing an orthodontist is a big decision — which is why we take pride in helping every patient who chooses us for their care. 

We’ll work with you every step of the way to ensure that your orthodontic care takes care of your needs. We utilize the latest technology so that we can offer a variety of gentle and safe treatment options customized to your unique care plan. 

Ready to be one step closer to a healthier smile? Contact us today to set up your consultation where you can meet our team, learn more about our processes, and discuss treatment options. 

Original Article:

Looking for an orthodontist in Beaverton, Oregon? Biermann Orthodontics is a cutting-edge orthodontic practice that serves Beaverton and Molalla, OR, and focuses on providing world-class customer service and efficient treatment. We strive to create stunning smiles in the shortest amount of time without ever sacrificing quality.

Visit our Locations page to find a clinic near you, or schedule an initial consultation.

Biermann Orthodontics

17885 NW Evergreen Parkway, Suite 200
Beaverton, OR 97006


The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.

2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award in the Orthodontists

2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award in the Orthodontists

2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award in the Orthodontists

2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award in the Orthodontists

Matthew C Biermann, DMD, MS selected for 2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award Beaverton, OR

Matthew C Biermann, DMD, MS has been selected for the 2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award in the Orthodontists classification by the Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award Program. Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category.

The 2016 Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Beaverton Small Business Excellence Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About the Beaverton Small Business Excellence Awards Program

The Beaverton Small Business Excellence Awards recognizes outstanding small businesses that serve the Beaverton area. Each year, our selection committee identifies businesses that we believe have achieved outstanding marketing success in their local community and business classification. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

These are small businesses that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Beaverton area a vibrant and vital place to live.

The Beaverton Small Business Excellence Awards was established to reward the best of small businesses in Beaverton. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to award the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

Invisalign For Teens

What Parents Should Know: Invisalign From a Teen Perspective

Attention Moms and Dads – Most Teenagers Feel Self-Conscious Wearing Traditional Braces

At an age when image is so important, for a teen the thought of having metal brackets and wires constantly attached to teeth may exacerbate the already-delicate self-esteem of today’s teens.

While having straight teeth and a beautiful smile is important to teens, the “Behind the Smile” survey revealed that over half of teens (54%) believe metal braces would make them more self-conscious, and one in two teens (50%) would smile less.

“Not everyone is born with a perfect smile. So for many teens, wearing braces is inevitable,” says California orthodontist Mark A. Lowe, D.D.S. “The good news is that today’s image conscious teens now have a choice for straightening their teeth. There are proven alternatives such as clear, removable braces, like Invisalign Teen, that are comparable in cost to metal braces, but meet teen’s desire for aesthetic treatment and are a better fit for their busy lifestyles filled with sports, music and other activities.”

“When you walk into a room with braces, you feel like everyone is looking at you; or when you’re talking to someone, you feel like they’re looking at your braces,” admits 14 year old high school freshman Elizabeth C. “With Invisalign, it’s cool because your teeth are getting straighter, but people don’t even realize you have them. I don’t worry about wearing my aligners during cheerleading, winter guard or swim practice either. They are safe to wear and they don’t interfere with my life.”

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?

  • Fewer office visits – a huge advantage for busy households!
  • No interference with musical instruments
  • Fewer injuries with contact sports
  • Better smiles for photographs
  • No emergency visits
  • No food restrictions
  • Improved oral hygiene – easier brushing and flossing
  • More confidence and higher self esteem

81% of moms choose Invisalign when considering how braces might impact the self esteem of their teenager. Contact Biermann Orthodontics today for a free Invisalign Consulatation!

Flexible Partial Dentures

Flexible Partial Dentures

A Consultation with Dr. Richard Hyder | Article & Images Featured on Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor,
I have lost my four upper front teeth and would like to have them replaced with dental implants some day. In the meantime, I don’t want to use the type of partial denture known as a “flipper.” Is there something else I can use, at least temporarily?

Read more

Smoking & Implants

Dental Implants & Smoking

Article by Richard Kraut, DDS | Featured on Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor,

I want to have some missing teeth replaced with dental implants, but my dentist said it could be slightly risky because I smoke. Why?

Read more

White Spots on Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment

White Spots on Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment

Article Featured on Dear Doctor

Dear Doctor,
I just had my braces removed, and I noticed several white spots on my teeth near where the brackets were. What are they — and how can I get rid of them?

Read more

Antibiotics: Use And Abuse

Antibiotics: Use And Abuse

Article By Dr. Ving J. Lee | Featured on Dear Doctor

Maintaining the Right Balance in the Fight Against Disease

Imagine a world without antibiotics: The cut on your finger might lead to serious infection; the simplest operation could be a perilous undertaking; there would be no effective cures for tuberculosis, cholera, strep throat or sexually transmitted disease; and bacterial meningitis in a child would likely be fatal. It may seem hard to believe, but a century ago — before antibiotic drugs became widely available — these risks were very real.

These omnipresent drugs have been hailed as one of the most significant medical achievements of the 20th Century. However, in recent years, a disturbing trend has been noted throughout the world: The life-saving drugs we once relied on are now less effective at fighting the organisms that cause disease.

Read more

Straightening a Smile Before Replacing Lost Teeth

Straightening a Smile Before Replacing Lost Teeth

Clear Aligners Can Offer Advantages Over Traditional Braces

By Dr. Robert Boyd | Article & Images Featured on Dear Doctor

Replacing a missing tooth — particularly in a highly visible area of the mouth — can do a lot to restore your smile and self-confidence. Today’s options for tooth replacement include state-of-the-art dental implants; crown and bridgework; and removable partial dentures. However, sometimes orthodontic treatment is recommended before a tooth or teeth can be replaced. Why would this be necessary?

If a tooth has been missing for a while, the teeth that were on either side of it can gradually drift into the space it occupied — taking up the room for the replacement tooth. This necessitates moving the neighboring teeth back into correct position. In addition, teeth that are not properly aligned might require dental restorative work, such as capping (dental crowns), to camouflage their poor position or orientation before any new teeth are placed.

Read more