What are Metal Braces?
The metal brackets are small squares which are glued onto the teeth that are going to be moved during treatment. You may have heard these called ‘train track’ braces.
The wire that is threaded through the brackets is held in place by small elastics, and yes you can choose from a whole array of colours or you can keep it simple by choosing a silver elastic! As standard metal brackets are what NHS patients will be fitted with, if you wished to explore the other options we have available this would then be classed as private treatment.
The Process of Fitting Braces
Fitting metal brackets is a fairly simple process. The teeth must be very dry and clean and so before the fit the orthodontist will apply a product called etch to each tooth, this is then washed off and the teeth are dried. A suction tube is used throughout the whole of the process to avoid any moisture getting onto the front surfaces of the teeth.
After the teeth have been cleaned and dried each block is glued individually on the teeth. Once this has been done a thin wire is threaded through each block and held in place by a small elastic.
The thickness of the wire slowly progresses throughout the treatment as the teeth move into the perfect arch position.
Once the Brace is Fitted
After the fit we would like to see you on average every 8-12 weeks to check the progress of the brace and adjust the wire as necessary. After each visit you will notice some discomfort as the teeth move towards the desired final position. The treatment time will vary for each individual. On average a course of treatment is between 18-24 months.
At the end of the treatment we will fit you with a retainer. This is an invisible, removable appliance which helps to keep your teeth in their new position. Sometimes we will fit you with a fixed retainer, further information about this will be given to you closer to the time.
Is it Uncomfortable?
Having the braces fitted isn’t uncomfortable, the only thing you may wince at is the cold water we use! After the fit appointment you may find your teeth become sensitive and there will be some discomfort as the teeth begin to move, however this usually passes within a few days, if you need to you can take painkillers you would normally take for a headache.
How Do I Look After my Brace?
You should ensure you follow our 3 simple steps to keep the brace clean, this can be found in our Oral Hygiene blog. Avoid hard, sticky foods and cut down on the fizzy drinks, fruit juices and snacks between meals, boring we know but essential if you want to avoid marks on your teeth and decay!
What if I Break My Brace?
If one of the brackets comes off a tooth you should contact the practice, depending on when your next appointment is we may need to see you sooner to reattach the bracket. If your wire comes out or breaks we will need to see you, again depending on how soon your routine appointment is we may book you in sooner to get this sorted out.
These are usually the only breakages that can happen, sometimes you might find that the wire is digging into your cheek at the back of the brace, if this is the case contact the practice and we will arrange to see you, in the meantime you can use some wax over the end of the wire to protect your cheek. You will be provided with wax when you brace is fitted.