Metallic (Traditional) Braces
Metal/traditional braces: Traditional braces are made of metal. They include brackets that are attached to the front of your teeth or bands that fit around each tooth, as well as flexible wires or arch wires that hold the brackets or bands together. Some braces also include rubber bands or metal ties that link the brackets to the wire. These bands create more pressure to help straighten and align your teeth. Sometimes, your orthodontist will have you wear a device called headgear at night. It provides added pressure to help straighten your teeth. You can put it on and take it off.
A CLOSER LOOK AT METAL BRACES
These are the most common type of braces that you are likely familiar with and are easily recognizable. Metal braces consist of just a few main components, namely the brackets, bands, wires, ligatures, and elastics.
Brackets are the small metal fixtures that are bonded to each tooth using a dental adhesive and remain on the teeth until the treatment has been completed. The brackets provide the fixed base that allows the other components of the braces to exert the necessary pressure on the teeth to encourage movement to the desired position for each tooth.
Bands are a variant of the brackets, and perform the same function, but with an added metal ring that surrounds the tooth and provides extra stability on those areas of the jaw that require it. Normally, bands are only used on the molars or back teeth since they are typically larger and require a larger appliance.
Wires are the thin metal pieces that run through each band and bracket along the perimeter of the upper and lower teeth. Also known as arch wires, these will have a specific shape formed in them to help pull or push each tooth in the desired direction to achieve the final perfect alignment. The wires are replaced at regular increments to provide a gradual progression of movement of the teeth.
Ligatures are the small but firm elastic bands that go over top of the arch wires on each bracket and band, securely holding the wire in place. The ligatures are often available in a wide variety of colours, allowing the patient to add some personalization and creativity to the appearance of their braces. Since the ligatures are replaced at each adjustment appointment, patients can choose a different set of colours several times during the course of their treatment.
In some cases, rubber bands will be used to provide tension and resistance between the upper and lower jaw. Based on the state of the overbite or under-bite of the patient, and the general alignment of their teeth, the orthodontist will use a special bracket on specific teeth in the upper and lower jaw. Rubber bands are then attached to the pairs of brackets to gently pull the jaw in to the proper position and gradually encourage a permanent adjustment. The rubber bands can easily be removed by the patient for meals or for cleaning, and then re-attached at any time.
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