Metal Fixed Braces

What are metal fixed braces?

These are appliances which are glued to your teeth and are made of a silver coloured metal. Fixed braces are made up of brackets which are stuck to the teeth, wires which pass through the brackets and modules (elastics) which hold the wires in the brackets. These elastics can be made from different colours which gives the brace a coloured appearance. Metal fixed braces are usually the least expensive of all of the fixed braces.

Some of the metal fixed braces we use do not need modules but instead have a door than can be opened to put the wire into the bracket and then closed to hold the wire in place. These are known as self-ligation braces. Manufacturers claim many benefits to using self-ligating systems. In practice, for you it may be easier to keep the brace clean and we may not see you as frequently in the first few stages of treatment.

When are metal fixed braces used?

Metal fixed braces are used to straighten the teeth and improve the way in which you bite. They offer excellent control of the teeth and can be used in patients of all ages.

Below you can see teeth that are crowded on the left and straight on the right - both pictures are of the same patient before and after metal fixed braces.

How are they made?

Fixed braces are pre-fabricated. The teeth are cleaned with a special gel that is rinsed off. The teeth are then dried and a glue is painted on to the teeth. The brackets are then attached. A special light is used to set the glue. The entire process is completely painless.

You will also have some impressions or scan (detailed record of your teeth and bite) taken along with some X-rays and clinical photographs.

What if I need teeth extracting?

Once a full analysis of your case has been done you will be told if extractions are required. Nowadays, with modern appliances and techniques, fewer and fewer teeth are being extracted but sometimes extractions are necessary. We will provide you with a letter that you will need to take to your regular dentist to have the teeth extracted.

How often will I need to be seen by the orthodontist?

You will need to be reviewed every 6 to 8 weeks as the brace will need to be adjusted to get more and more control of the teeth.

Are there any risks to orthodontic treatment?

As with any type of treatment, there are always risks. Fortunately, in orthodontics these risks are usually minimal, particularly if advice is followed on how to look after your teeth and brace. It is more important than ever to brush your teeth really well when you have braces and a fluoride mouthwash will also be recommended. By far the most damaging of the risks is decalcification of the teeth. In the absence of good cleaning and a healthy diet, permanent damage to the tooth surface around the brace occurs. This can be likened to a scar on the tooth and can make it appear unsightly.

How long will treatment with a metal fixed brace take?

Treatment duration varies from between 12 months and 24 months. Some treatments can be quicker and other may take longer depending on the correction needed. After this time, you will be given Retainers.

Do I need to do anything special before I attend for the braces to be put on?

You should make sure you have soft textured food at home such as pasta and rice.

You will be able to obtain special brushes and mouthwash for help with keeping your teeth and brace clean when you attend for your braces to be put on.

It is also important to make sure you have had something to eat before you attend. The glue for attaching the brace is very moisture sensitive. If you are hungry, you will be producing lots of saliva and this will interfere with the placement of the brace.