tel: 028 9065 3031

416 Upper Newtownards Road
Belfast BT4 3EZ

Fixed Appliances

  • Separators
  • /
  • Bands
  • /
  • Brackets
  • /
  • Arch-wires
  • /
  • Elastics

These are the most common type of orthodontic brace. Most patients require the use of fixed orthodontic appliances to straighten their teeth, and achieve the best possible improvement of their smile. As there are a few stages we go through to put your braces on this will mean you may need to have more than one appointment. They can be used either after or at the same time as removable braces. We tend to find that a number of patients benefit from more then one type of brace although most will have only fixed braces.
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With fixed braces, there is no plastic in the roof of the mouth. This means speech is unaffected and the flavour of food can be enjoyed fully. As the appliance cannot be removed, it acts full-time, and so it is very effective. Fixed braces are very good at achieving fine detail, and making your smile look really perfect!

Fixed appliances, by definition, cannot be removed by the patient. The simplest way to think of each bracket is as a handle with which it is possible to control each tooth individually and precisely. The brackets are highly sophisticated as every tooth has its own bracket design engineered to achieve correct position and angle of axis.

A thin archwire is fitted to link up all the brackets. Because the teeth are irregular, the wire has to bend up and down or in and out between the teeth. This is the clever bit: the wire, a bi-product of NASA research, has perfect shape memory and will gradually return to its original shape, bringing the teeth with it. As treatment progresses, larger size wires and other wire materials are used. At this time, tiny springs and elastics guide the teeth.

Separators: To make it easier for you, before placing your fixed brace, we may need to make space between your back teeth to allow the bands to go into place. Slowly over a day or two, the separators gently move certain teeth slightly apart to allow us to accurately place bands on your next appointment. This can cause a temporary mild discomfort, but will improve after a few hours. It is important that if you lose one of the separators you contact the surgery, as you may need to come in and have it replaced.

Bands: These are thin bands of metal, carefully fitted to the tooth and then cemented in place. They have either a tube or hook attached so that the wires can be held into place.

Brackets: These are small square shapes that are bonded directly onto each tooth, the arch wire is then placed through the brackets. Metal, gold and ceramic brackets all function in a similar way, but the ceramic brackets are the least visible and very aesthetic.

Arch-Wires: These act as a guide or track along which the teeth are to be moved. They are changed throughout the treatment. Each change brings us closer to the ideal position for your teeth.

Elastics: Not every patient needs to wear elastics. These small rubber bands are attached to a hook on some of your brackets at the back or to a hook on the arch-wire. Elastics are used to provide gentle but continuous force to help individual tooth movement or to align one arch to the other. Teeth will only respond when elastics are worn consistently as directed. In most, though not all orthodontic treatment, the elastics are used towards the end of your treatment. If worn as directed they can help speed up the process.

Fixed Braces With Ceramic / Tooth-Coloured Brackets

The brackets are made of ceramic; they are translucent or the same colour as the teeth, making them much less noticeable than metal brackets.

Invisible Braces

About Invisible Braces Invisalign and Clearstep

Invisible Braces are made of a series of clear aligners that are custom- moulded to fit you. By wearing a series of clear wafer thin transparent mouth guard like positioners the teeth are gently guided from their present to the desired position.

These systems are used in thousands of practices around the world and its popularity is growing at an incredible rate.
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How does it work?

Unbelievably your teeth are always moving, albeit minutely. The clear aligners exert gentle pressure upon the tooth/teeth in the direction in which you would like them to move. A series of clear aligners are custom made by our laboratory for you to move your teeth to the desired position.

Who is suitable to wear Invisible Braces?

At your consultation, we will be able to determine whether you are a suitable candidate. It is not possible to carry out all types of tooth movement with invisible braces and therefore it is only suitable in certain cases.

How much will the treatment cost?

After your consultation, we will send clinical information and models to our laboratory to determine the complexity of the case and then give you a detailed report of how much the course will cost.

So, why choose Invisible Braces?

In comparison to existing systems, Invisible Braces are wire free and does away with the need to bond brackets onto the teeth. It is invisible, and removable, allowing you, the wearer, to eat that steak dinner, give that public speech, meet that client without embarrassment or discomfort. You simply remove, brush, floss, rinse and reinsert. Your aligners will do the rest.

Functional Braces

A functional appliance is a brace that is worn on the upper and lower teeth at the same time in order to correct the way upper and lower teeth fit over each other. It may be used to correct very protruding upper front teeth, improve the way in which molar teeth bite together, or even improve your facial profile so that the jaws look more aligned with each other when you look at the face in profile.
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Functional braces only work in growing children and adolescents. They help to promote or modify growth of the jaws, adapt the soft tissues and muscles of the face to new positions, move whole groups of teeth at the same time or change the angulation of teeth.

Depending on the condition of the bite functional brace treatment starts either at an early age when milk teeth are still present (age 7-10), or around the time of the pubertal growth spurt (age 11-14), when all or nearly all the milk teeth have been shed.

There are varieties of functional appliances e.g. twin block, Frankael appliance, Andreasen.

If worn all of the time, it will only take a couple of days to get used to and you will quickly adapt to speaking and swallowing with the braces in your mouth. For the brace to work correctly, the appliance must be worn the majority of the time. If left out of your mouth for prolonged periods it will take longer to get used to wearing it.

The twin block is one type of functional appliance, which has been used quite successfully. The results will depend on the patient’s co-operation and commitment as well as their inherent growth potential.

The length of active treatment for a twin block is on average around 9 months, (followed by a further 18 to 24 months of fixed braces), however your treatment could be as fast or as slow as you make it, by choosing to follow, or ignore the advice you have been given.

Removable Braces

  • Instructions

Sometimes fixed braces are not the ideal appliances to bring about the required changes to the bite, and a removable brace has to be used, for example if a patient is very young or oral hygiene is not good. This brace can be used to resolve various simple problems, some examples being to bring a single tooth forward or to widen the upper arch. Removable braces can be used on the lower arch also.
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A removable brace consists of a plastic base and custom-made metal wire components. Some of these wires are designed to keep the brace secured to the teeth. A removable brace simply clips onto the teeth, and can be easily fitted or removed. Its insertion or removal does not cause any pain.

For the Upper Removable Appliance or URA to be effective you must wear it all of the time with a few exceptions. You may take it out for eating, cleaning and playing sports.

They might feel strange at first but you will soon get used to the feeling of having them in. Your mouth will produce more saliva than usual, speech may be affected temporarily and you may also get a few irritations on the cheeks or gums but this will soon settle down.

Keep it safe
Our FIRST RULE with all appliances is:

“If it is not in your mouth, it should be in your brace case”
This reduces the chances of it being damaged or accidentally thrown away. NEVER wrap in a tissue or kitchen paper as this can results in it being thrown away accidentally.

If your brace does get lost or broken there is an additional charge for a new one to be made.

Keep it clean
Like your teeth, you must also keep your brace clean, use a toothbrush and toothpaste to clean them twice a day. We recommend that the appliance is sterilised in Retainer Brite at least twice a week and you must keep your oral hygiene perfect.

You will have regular appointments for the brace to be adjusted. If the brace
becomes loose or breaks then please phone the surgery as soon as possible for an appointment.

Reasons to take your appliance out: (ALWAYS place it in your BRACE CASE!!!)

● When taking part in physical contact sports, i.e. rugby, football, hockey, snowboarding, skiing, etc.
● When swimming, this to avoid losing your brace whilst in the water.
● When eating, and for cleaning the brace, this must be done after every meal.

We advise that you purchase a brace case from reception to ensure that the appliance is not lost or thrown away by accident. Never place in a tissue as they can be thrown away by accident!

A fee is charged to replace lost or unrepairable appliances.

“The final step in creating your perfect smile”

At the end of your active orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist will provide retainers for you to wear. These are to ensure stability of results after active treatment is completed.

If you do not wear your retainer as recommended, you teeth are likely to drift towards their original positions. If this occurs then the only way to correct them may be to retreat with fixed appliances.

Once your appliance has been removed, Impressions are taken of your teeth in their new position and one of two types of retainers is made.

Removable Retainers

The removable retainer is, as the name suggests, can be removed from the mouth and worn as directed by your orthodontist.

There are two available options of the removable retainer. The first is made of the same materials as removable appliances. An acrylic base sits against the palate or inside of the lower arch and a wire runs over the outside of the teeth keeping them in their new position, as on upper teeth in the photo. The second type of removable retainer is a very comfortable clear guard, similar to a mouthguard, but made of a thinner material, as shown on lower teeth in the same photo.
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The wear of retainers is supervised for a period of 12 months for children and 6 months for adults.For most cases longer retention time is required but this does not always have to be supervised by the orthodontist. When they are first supplied, you will be required to wear them all the time and eventually decrease wear down to night time wear. We will advise you if long-term wear is required.

Once you are in the retention phase you will not need to be seen as often as previously. Appointments will be made every 3 – 4 months to review your progress and change how often you wear the retainers. We highly recommend that you continue to see your General Dentist every 6 to 12 months to check your teeth for routine dental needs.

Fixed Retainers

This consists of a small wire that is designed to fit perfectly against your teeth preventing any movement. The wire is placed on the inside of the teeth, making it invisible to other people. Using special bonding agents or “glues” it is attached to the teeth. These are very comfortable and very easy to adapt to.
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If you have a fixed retainer then you will need to take extra care to keep it clean. Instructions will be given when the retainer is fitted.

If you have any problems with your retainer, ring for an appointment as soon as is reasonably possible. Do not wait for your next routine appointment as your teeth may move whilst not wearing your retainers.

Surgery Opening Hours

  • Monday
  • Tuesday
  • Wednesday
  • Thursday
  • Friday
  • 8.30am - 4.30pm
  • 8.30am - 12.30pm
  • 8.30am - 4.30pm
  • 8.30am - 12.30pm
  • 8.30am - 1.00pm

* Private patients by arrangement

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