Fixed braces are the most traditional form of orthodontics, and are therefore what most people know the most about. They consist of brackets that bond to each tooth with an archwire running through them, which is held in place by small loops that are called ligatures. The tension created by the wire allows the teeth to gradually move into the right position. To ensure optimal results, the orthodontist changes the wires around every four weeks and tightens the new ones to keep pulling the teeth into the desired alignment. Depending on the case, it might be necessary to use elastic bands, springs or a headgear to aid the process. Fixed braces are not removable, which means that you can’t take them off for eating or cleaning purposes.
Types of fixed braces
- Metal braces
These fixed braces come with small metal brackets bonded to the front side of each tooth and are joined together with fine metal wires. This type of orthodontic appliance is silver in colour and therefore visible throughout treatment; this is the most common kind of fixed braces you see worn by children, but also many adults. They are mainly used to help correct severe issues, such as overbites, where the upper teeth jut out in front of (or overlap) the bottom ones, which make up the majority of dental disorders among teens and children.
- Ceramic braces
These are used to provide patients with a more discreet and aesthetic orthodontic treatment. The braces are also bonded to the front of the teeth, but instead of metal attachments, the orthodontist uses tooth-coloured brackets or clear brackets. They offer an excellent alternative to metal braces for those who would prefer a less noticeable orthodontic treatment.
- Lingual braces
This type of fixed braces is the most discreet because they are worn behind the teeth. Lingual braces are not suitable for all cases, click here to find out more about this type of treatment.
How long does the treatment last?
The duration of the treatment with fixed braces is typically around 18-24 months, although each case is different. After evaluating your specific needs, your orthodontist will be able to determine the length of your treatment.
Things to know If you have fixed braces:
- Do not try to remove the braces yourself – Fixed braces are not meant to be removed (see Invisalign braces for removable options) until the end of your treatment. Trying to take them off yourself will damage your teeth and risk the success of the treatment
- The braces and brackets should stay intact throughout the treatment – If the archwire, a band, or two or more brackets break, you need to give the practice a call and arrange for an in-between appointment to have this repaired
- Provide the best care for your braces and teeth alike – Your Clyde Munro orthodontist will suggest certain oral care products that you could use to ensure your oral health is at optimal levels at all times. Don’t forget to brush after each meal and floss, at least once a day. We all know that a healthy mouth is a key factor to prevent unnecessary, yet serious, health risks
- Consider the foods you eat – Hard or crunchy foods should be avoided or consumed with caution as they might break the archwire or damage the brackets
- Expect some tenderness at first – After the fixed braces are fitted, the teeth will be slightly tender for a day or so. You will soon get used to wearing them though, this is just a passing phase.
If you have any other questions about fixed braces, please ask your Clyde Munro orthodontist or dentist who will be more than happy to help. To see if fixed braces is the right orthodontic treatment option for you, kindly visit a Clyde Munro Dental Clinic and schedule an appointment with one of our dentists or specialist orthodontist.