Types of Braces

/Types of Braces
Types of Braces2017-11-13T16:52:57+00:00

Types of Braces

Fixed Appliances

These braces are fixed onto the teeth, which means they cannot be removed. They deliver a force to the tooth via a wire which allows tooth movement to occur. The metal braces are mainly used for adults and children where treatment is funded through the NHS, they are very popular because the “colours” on the brace can be changed at each appointment.

Alternatively, fixed braces can be tooth-coloured (ceramic). This type of brace is not permitted on the NHS and can only be provided with private/independent treatment. These braces are popular with adults who wish to have a more discrete appliance to help give them a beautiful smile.

Functional Appliances (“Block” braces)

These are mostly removable braces and are sometimes called ‘block-braces’. They work in the growing patient to help posture the lower jaw forward so that the bite can be corrected. This can help to correct front teeth which are prominent. These braces need to be worn full time (removing only to eat and for sports) and treatment usually takes around 9-12 months. Fixed appliances are usually placed at the end of this treatment to align the teeth and close any residual gaps.

Removable Appliances

These braces are mostly used to correct the bite of a growing patient or to correct one tooth. They can also be used to expand the jaw or as an adjunct to help patients stop a non-nutritive habit (dummy/digit sucking).


Retainers are the most important part of the orthodontic treatment. Without them, your teeth will move out of alignment and can become crooked again. Retainers must be worn indefinitely as your teeth will continue to move as you get older (this is inevitable!). There are several types of retainers, they can be made from a clear plastic or can be in the form of a wire placed at the back of your teeth. There are advantages and disadvantages to different types of retainers, your orthodontist will be happy to discuss these with you.

Invisalign is a clear brace system which is used to discretely align teeth. It consists of a series of clear aligners (which are similiar to a clear mouth-guard). The aligners are customised for your teeth and your mouth. Invisalign is ideal is for patients who are not keen on having a visible brace.

An example of the Invisalign aligners.

Image showing an upper Invisalign aligner in situ.