A fixed brace is an orthodontic appliance which cannot be removed from the mouth by the patient. Amongst teenagers, fixed braces are commonly known as “train tracks” which can be used to treat children and adults alike.
Fixed braces are one of the most effective ways of straightening teeth. They can be used in combination with removable or functional braces and while a fair number of patients benefit from more than one type of brace, most will have fixed braces.
It is important to familiarise yourself with the different components that make up your fixed brace.
Features of a fixed appliance
Ligature or module
The archwire is held to each bracket with a ligature, which can be either a tiny elastic or a twisted wire.
The archwire is tied to all the brackets and creates forace to move teeth into proper alignment.
Brackets are connected to the bands, or directly bonded on the teeth, and hold the archwire in place.
Elastic Hooks & Rubber Bands
Elastic hooks are used for the attachment of rubber bands, which help move teeth toward their final position.
Metal Band (not shown)
The band is the cemented ring of metal which wraps around the tooth.
Types of fixed appliances
Stainless steel metal brackets are easily recognised and are widely used in the treatment of patients in all age groups. Their robustness and suitability for most cases make them an appliance of choice for most orthodontists. The designers have been making them smaller and decreasing the profile of these metal brackets, sometimes with beneficial results including higher treatment efficiency, decreased friction, decreased appliance breakage (due to increased bond strength) and superior fit or seating. These metal brackets can be customised with coloured ligatures or modules to provide individuality and make them more aesthetically pleasing.
Others might be more attracted by the aesthetic appeal of the Gold appliance systems such as the ‘3M Unitek Victory Series’ 24K gold plated brackets, which can be complimented with gold wires – these provide the patient with an alternative to the traditional stainless steel look.
Attractive, translucent or tooth coloured, aesthetic fixed brackets appeal to patients in view of their less obtrusive appearance. These are made from a ceramic material and differ from plastic (polycarbonate) brackets in terms of the superior durability, colour stability, strength and overall performance throughout the treatment. Not all tooth coloured brackets are ceramic, if you are having problems with breakages and discolouration, you most likely have been fitted with an inferior plastic bracket.
Fixed braces can be made “totally white” by utilising ceramic brackets, white or tooth coloured arch wires and non-staining ligature wires This means that your appliance is virtually not visible!
Self Ligating brackets
These are fixed braces which function without ligatures and modules. These braces are designed to help the teeth move more efficiently and may result in fewer adjustment visits. The absence of modules and ligatures eliminates the hassle of staining.
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