Fixed metal braces, or “train track” braces, are very commonly used by orthodontist as they are extremely effective at correcting most orthodontic problems and are easy to use. They are the mainstay of NHS orthodontics in the UK due to their relatively low cost, and for this reason they are frequently seen on the teeth of teenagers, although they are also suitable for adults. The main downside is that they are the most visible of all of the brace options. Some people actually prefer the appearance of metal braces, especially children who might want what their friends have got.
After the initial assessment and treatment planning stages, getting started with metal braces is quick and straight forward. The appointment to fit the braces will typically last a maximum of one hour. Your orthodontist will fix a metal bracket onto every tooth using a special type of glue. This is a painless procedure requiring no anaesthetic and no drilling.
A wire will then be inserted into the ceramic brackets held in with tiny little elastic bands. These bands can be grey to blend in with the metal, or you can choose from a wide range of colours. Everything you need to know about caring for your metal braces including how to keep them clean, what foods you should avoid and how to minimise breakages.
The first week getting used to your new metal braces can be tough. As your mouth adjusts, your teeth might feel tender to touch and some people may develop ulcers where the lips and cheeks are rubbing on the braces. Normal pain relief such as paracetamol or ibuprofen are effective in reducing the tenderness. The discomfort usually subsides completely within one week.
You will return to see your orthodontist approximately every 6 weeks to check the health of your teeth, and to have the braces tightened and adjusted. These appointments typically last no more than 20 minutes. Your teeth may be sore again for a few days after each adjustment. Depending on the complexity of your orthodontic problems, and the treatment goals, you can expect treatment to last for 6-24 months, or sometimes even longer if you have problems such as impacted teeth or missing teeth. Your orthodontist will be able to give you a more bespoke estimate of treatment time.
Your orthodontist may add additional features to help achieve the desired tooth movements such as elastics and springs.
Occasionally breakages occur, and you may need to visit your orthodontist to repair the braces in between the regular adjustment appointments. While anyone can experience breakages, they can be minimised significantly if the braces are cared for properly.
Once the treatment is complete and you are happy with the result, the braces will be removed and retainers will be fit. Retainers are necessary to avoid movement of the teeth. Fixed retainers are discreet wires fixed onto the back of the front teeth, which are usually kept in place long term. Removable retainers are clear plastics retainers that are worn at night time. You will normally be fit with both types of retainer, and you will be instructed on how to care for them, and the long term strategy for maintenace.
You will continue to see your orthodontist every few months for a couple of years to monitor the bite, the position of the teeth and the condition of the retainers. After this, you will always be welcome to come back to Neyo if you have any concerns or questions.