Fixed appliances

Fixed braces are the most commonly used type of appliance in orthodontics. They consist of small metal brackets, which are stuck to the teeth using dental glue. Wires are run through the brackets and kept in position with coloured elastic rings (modules).

Fixed braces on the upper and lower teeth

Fixed braces image

The wires exert a force through the bracket and tooth, resulting in tooth movement. The forces are kept low to reduce the risk of any damage occurring to the teeth during treatment. Teeth move slowly in orthodontics at a rate of approximately 1mm per month. This is because the jaw bone around the teeth remodels and this is a slow metabolic process.

Please watch this video about fixed bonding to see how the brace is applied to the teeth:

Further information is also available in the BOS leaflet on fixed braces:

Treatment time

Most orthodontic treatment takes 18 months to two years to complete. More complex treatment where many teeth are missing or you are undergoing jaw surgery can take on average two and a half to three years.

You will need your brace adjusting approximately every six to eight weeks.

Getting used to the brace

When the brace is first fitted you will find the teeth ache for the first 24 - 48 hours. This is normal. You may be able to cope with this minor discomfort, or you may need a softer diet than usual during this period, or to take painkillers (paracetamol or ibuprofen) to relieve the pain. You should follow the manufacturer's instructions for the dosage.

What happens if my brace breaks?

If your brace breaks then it will not be correctly straightening your teeth. This will mean your treatment will take longer if you do not get it repaired. The broken brace may cause irritation or damage to your teeth, gums and cheeks. It is important to contact the orthodontics department and we will assess the problem and, if necessary, book you a broken brace appointment.

Tel: 0115 874 4548

Contact sports

When playing contact sports participants are required to wear mouthguards/gum shields as part of the essential equipment. Gum shields are designed to protect your teeth and jaws from serious injury. Just because you have a brace fitted does not mean you should not wear a gum shield!

There are different types of gum shield available on the market.

Custom gum shield

This can be manufactured by your dentist after taking a dental impression. Because these are manufactured just for you, they will fit you the best. However, if you are growing and your teeth move the gum shield will need adjusting or replacing.

Stock gum shield

These gum shields are not custom but may be put in warm water to adapt partially to the shape of your teeth and jaws. This allows you to readapt the gum shield as your teeth move, but it will never be as close fitting as a custom gum shield.

We advise you to attend your dentist and discuss with them what would be the best gum shield in your situation.

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