Metal braces are traditional braces that have helped generations of people get a beautiful smile. These braces are especially effective in treating complex problems, including bite issues. Dentists often recommend metal braces to:
- correct crowding and straighten teeth
- correct bite so the front and back teeth meet evenly
- reduce the damage to prominent teeth
Your dentist will either cement or bond the metal brackets directly to your teeth. A flexible wire fits through slots in the brackets to connect and hold the braces together. The orthodontist will then use small bands, known as ligatures, to hold the wire in place.
The braces apply pressure on the teeth to move and realign. The dentist may also tighten the wire to move the teeth and jaw during dental appointments. They may also cement or bond a metal ring, known as a band, to a back tooth to anchor and strengthen the braces.
Checkups with your dentist are usually every 6–8 weeks during the brace treatment to ensure correct alignment.
What to Expect
Metal braces provide greater control and more precise tooth movement, especially in complex cases. A 2019 study found that metal braces were more effective (compared to clear aligners) in treating teeth rotation and certain types of malocclusions (bite problems).
The materials in metal braces are usually strong and highly durable. Metal braces are less likely to break or get stained.
Treatment with metal braces can last from one to three years. After treatment ends, you will need to wear a retainer at night to keep teeth in their new positions. (This is true with all braces).
Many people prefer the appearance of ceramic braces or clear aligners, compared to metal braces. However, metal braces are generally less expensive – and work best in treating the most complex cases.
Metal brackets and wires may be available in appealing colours. Talk to your dentist about this possibility – as it can make the braces much more appealing, especially to teens.
Consider Your Priorities
When teeth are seriously crowded or crooked, these difficulties can affect your oral health. You will be more prone to plaque, tooth decay and gum disease – as teeth are more difficult to clean. If there is a bite problem, it can affect both eating and speaking.
None of these problems will resolve naturally; they require an orthodontist’s intervention with braces.
Metal braces have been worn successfully for many decades, with great results. Your orthodontist can help prepare you for making the transition to wearing metal braces.
With the right attitude and support, your child can emerge from treatment with a smile that reflects confidence and self-esteem.
The fixed brace provides absolute control of tooth movement for each individual tooth. So the orthodontist has full control over correction of the bite.
If you are under the age of 18 and satisfy the appropriate grade within the index of orthodontic treatment need the NHS will fund basic treatments. This does not include cosmetic braces.
Whereas ceramic braces have a more favourable appearance they may take longer to work than a metal brace due to greater friction. The ceramic braces also fracture and break more readily which can result in slightly longer treatment times.
Fixed braces provide precision of tooth movement whereas invisalign cannot always offer precision. Fixed braces often take longer than invisalign treatments but provide a more precise result.
For a simple case treatment can usually be done within one year. For a more complex case treatment can usually be completed with two years.
When changing the wires of a fixed brace the teeth are slightly tender for 24-48 hours. We usually ask patients to east and chew more softly and slowly and that is all that is needed to help opeppe manage,