Fixed metal and ceramic dental braces are an orthodontic treatment we offer at our dental clinic on the Kings Road in Chelsea, London. Also known as ‘train tracks’ or ‘fixed appliances’, fixed braces are the most common type of orthodontic appliance used to correct issues such as crooked teeth, crowded teeth, overbites and underbites.
Fixed braces are often recommended by orthodontists for straightening teeth because they produce very precise tooth movements and provide more control over teeth than a removable brace does. They have a long, proven record of achieving accurate results for patients of all ages.
A fixed brace consists of small brackets bonded to the front of each your teeth. Each of these brackets acts as a kind of handle on the tooth, which can be used to individually and precisely control it’s positioning. A thin wire connects each of the teeth bonded brackets and applies tension to the brackets to gently move and straighten your teeth over time.
They are ‘fixed’ in that once fitted to your teeth, the brackets and wires of the brace will only be removed again by the orthodontist at the end of the treatment plan. This contrasts to removable braces, like Invisalign braces, which you can remove yourself any time.
The modern brackets used for a fixed brace are very different to the ones used a decade or more ago, that many adults will remember from their school days. The brackets on today’s braces are smaller, less noticeable and more aesthetically pleasing. An alternative option is lingual braces, which work in a similar manner but where the brackets are bonded to the back of your teeth instead.
In addition to the standard stainless steel brackets, which can now be customised with colours, ceramic brackets are available too. Ceramic brackets are the same size and shape as metal ones, but are made to be tooth coloured so as to better blend in with your teeth. Tooth coloured wires are an option too, to make the brace even less noticeable.
There are multiple brands of fixed braces available. Whilst they all essentially perform the same function, there are some differences between them and some may be more suitable for you than others. At your appointment, our orthodontist, after examining your teeth, will outline your options and make a recommendation to you that will best suit your needs.
It will take about 1-2 hours for your fixed brace to be fitted. It is a painless process though some discomfort may be felt. For the first few days after the fitting, your teeth and jaw may feel uncomfortable whilst your mouth adjusts to the brace, but this will quickly pass.
It varies on the severity of the issue and how far your teeth need to be moved, but fixed braces typically take 12-24 months to have their complete effect on fixing your teeth. Throughout this timeframe, you will need to visit the orthodontist at our dental clinic at 6-8 week intervals so that they can make minor adjustments to the brackets and wires of the brace to keep moving your teeth in the right direction.
Your speech may be temporarily affected following the fitting of the brace, but this is just a short phase and within a week you should be able to speak clearly and naturally again. Whilst wearing a fixed brace, you’ll be able to eat normally, but should be cautious when eating certain hard foods, like crusty bread and uncut apples. Hard boiled sweets, chewy sweets and chewing gum should be avoided.
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