Fixed braces are usually made of either stainless steel or ceramic. Small attachments known as brackets are stuck onto the teeth using special tooth-coloured glue.

A series of thin wires are placed over the brackets and held in place with small elastic bands – which can be brightly coloured to personalise your brace or clear if you are trying to hide the brace as far as possible. Both types of brace work in the same way to alter the position of your teeth in 3 dimensions, resulting in the most precise positioning of your teeth. These types of brace should be adjusted about every 4-8 weeks and you will notice that the brace feels tighter for a few days after it has been adjusted. Treatment takes from 6-24 months depending on the crookedness of the teeth.

Stainless steel fixed braces

Ceramic fixed braces


Invisalign® is a type of removable brace which is far less visible on the teeth than conventional braces.

You will need a whole series of different aligners, the more crooked the teeth the more aligners you will need. Each aligner needs to be worn for a minimum of 22 hours per day – being removed for eating, drinking and brushing- for 2-4 weeks before progressing on to the next aligner in the series. Treatment takes 6-18 months depending on the severity of the initial problem. Just like treatment with conventional braces, you will need to wear a retainer afterwards at night times.

Aligner Braces


If your front teeth stick out you may need a special type of removable brace called a functional brace.

This will help to move your lower teeth forwards and your top teeth back. These braces feel like quite a mouthful to start with but if you persevere with them they are very effective at quickly moving teeth. It will take 3-5 days to get used to the brace – common problems initially are aching of the facial muscles, speaking differently, needing to swallow a lot. It may help to take some mild analgesia, such as paracetamol, during this period. Each time you see your orthodontist they will check that the brace is still fitting well, and will measure the gap between your upper and lower incisors to make sure the brace is working effectively – they will be able to tell how well you’ve been wearing your brace!

Functional Braces
Functional Braces

GDC 64981    BDS MSc MOrth FDSRCS (Orth) (Eng)
© Jo Clark 2015