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A mouth with fixed braces on the teeth.
Fixed braces or 'train tracks'
There are two main types of braces for your teeth:

Fixed braces or 'train tracks'

These have small squares of metal with grooves and are stuck to the tooth. The wires which are put in to the grooves help move the teeth into the right position.

Removable braces

These can be taken in and out of the mouth. They have a base made out of acrylic, which can be see-through or pink. Attached to the base are wires to hold it in position and springs to move the teeth.

What does having braces involve?

Treatment with braces usually last between 18 months to 2 years. However more difficult cases can take longer. During treatment, while your teeth are nearing their final positions it is not unusual for them to look more crooked, so it is important to keep going with the treatment until it is completed.

Brushing your teeth

It is very important to keep brushing you teeth regularly particularly if you have 'train-tracks'. This is because having a brace in your mouth means that there are more places for dental plaque (a sticky mix of bacteria and salivary stuff) to build up. If plaque is left in place without brushing it off it can then lead to tooth decay. Plaque is a creamy white or yellow colour. Brushing your teeth carefully - all around the brace - twice a day should be enough. You should spend about two minutes each time you brush your teeth. With a brace you may find it takes slight longer than this. Some of the newer electric toothbrushes have timers which help with the time to take. They also tend to have a small head which may help brushing around the bits of the brace.

Changing what your teeth look like

When front teeth first come through into the mouth, the top surface of the tooth is often slightly bumpy. This is normal and it is a result of the way that your teeth develop. Over a period of time these little bumps wear down and the surface flattens. If the reason that you are wearing a brace is because your front teeth do not meet very often, it is probable that these bumps have not worn down. If you are wearing 'train tracks' this may affect the colour of your teeth because some of the apparent colour of your teeth is due to light reflecting off them. This will tend to make the gum area look darker and the tip of your tooth look more see-through. Most people when they wear a brace are much more conscious of their teeth and the way they look, than they usually are.


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