Fixed braces consist of a series of small square attachments cemented to the teeth. These are known as brackets. It is simplest to think of each bracket as a handle with which it is possible to control each tooth individually. The brackets are highly sophisticated as every tooth has its own bracket design engineered to achieve correct position and angle of axis.
We have very successfully used ceramic braces for many years as well as mini metal braces. The cosmetic ceramic brackets blend in with the colour of the teeth (see photo) and are used routinely in adults and when appropriate for young patients. Occasionally, ceramic brackets cannot be used on the lower teeth (when the bite is deep) but the mini metal braces are not usually obvious in these cases.
How are the brackets controlled?
In the early part of treatment, a flexible but springy wire is fitted to link up all brackets. Because the teeth are irregular, the wire has to bend up and down or in and out between the teeth. This is the clever bit: the wire, a bi-product of NASA research, has perfect shape memory and will gradually return to its original shape, bringing the teeth with it.
As treatment progresses, stiffer wires are fitted and these act as a monorail. At this time, the teeth are guided by tiny springs and elastics.
What are the advantages?
- Speech is unaffected
- The temptation of not wearing the appliance does not arise
- Fixed braces are supreme at fine tuning the way the teeth line up and bite together. Research has shown that patients are happier with their smiles after fixed brace treatment than after other forms of treatment
|Upper ceramic and lower mini metal brackets are a frequent combination, with an optional dash of colour.|
What about playing sport or musical wind instruments?
- It is essential to wear a mouthguard when playing sports such as rugby or hockey, whether wearing a brace or not. We provide custom made mouthguards that fit over fixed braces.
- The problem area for players of wind instruments is the inner surface of the lower lip. We provide low profile brackets for the lower front teeth in such cases with good success, even for professional musicians.