The most important accessories in fixed braces are attachments called “brackets”. Brackets bond to the (inner or outer) surface of the teeth with a special cement. The force of a wire is needed to move the teeth. The wire is inserted in the bracket’s small horizontal slot. The bracket’s tie wings serve to allow the wire to be attached to the bracket (in traditional brackets).
What types of brackets are there?
There are many different types and brands of brackets. Here is a brief visual summary of the current brackets:
Traditional Metal Brackets
These are made of stainless steel and are the most common brackets on the market. I personally do not use them very much, because I now use self-ligating brackets in virtually all cases (read below). The traditional brackets that I use are very low-profile (more flat) and small in size.
Conventional Ceramic Brackets
Ceramic brackets give a very natural look because they are translucent and the colour of the teeth shows through them. Clearly, they are much less visible than metal brackets. The best ceramic brackets are the ones with a metal-covered horizontal slot; this way, the teeth move better.
Self-Ligating Brackets are the most significant advance in the world of orthodontia in the last 10 years. The wire is held in place by a special clip or “little door” (depending on the system), and no elastic bands or metal ligatures need to be placed as in traditional brackets. As a result, visits are shorter, the forces that must be applied are more gentle and the teeth move faster. Brackets with a self-ligating system may be metal or ceramic (white).
Go to Self-Ligating Systems to read more.
Unlike visible brackets, lingual brackets are placed on the inner part of the teeth, and so they are invisible from the outside. The system that I use in lingual braces is 3M Incognito®. Its brackets are made of a gold alloy and are completely customised. Each bracket is specific to each tooth and each patient.
For small movements of the front teeth, I use Social 6 STb brackets, which are made of stainless steel. This type of treatment tends to take around 4 months.
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