Traditional Metal Braces
Traditional metal braces are the most common type of braces and are more comfortable today than ever before. Recent improvements in traditional braces have resulted in smaller, stronger, more efficient and less conspicuous brackets. They are usually made from stainless steel, which contains small amounts of nickel*.
Some of our patients can customize their braces by using different color ties around the brackets. Most patients mix their colors and change the colors after each adjustment.
*Please let your orthodontist know if you may have a nickel allergy.
In their entirety, braces work by applying continuous pressure over a period of time to slowly move teeth in a specific direction. Braces are made up of the following components:
Brackets are the small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth with a special dental bonding agent or are attached to orthodontic bands. Brackets act like handles, holding the archwires that move the tooth.
Orthodontic Bands are stainless steel. They are not used in all patients. Some people have only brackets and no bands.
Spacers are separators that fit between teeth to create a small space prior to placement of orthodontic bands
Archwires attach to the brackets and act as tracks to guide the movement of the teeth. Archwires can be made of metal.
Ties/Ligatures are small rubber rings or fine wires that fasten the archwire to the brackets. They can be clear, metal or colored.
A Buccal Tube on the band of the last tooth holds the end of the archwire securely in place.
Springs may be placed on the archwires between brackets to push, open or close the spaces between teeth.
Bands on the upper back teeth may have headgear tubes on them to hold the facebow of the headgear in place. (A headgear is another tool used by orthodontists to aid in correcting irregularities of the teeth.)
Elastics or rubber bands attach to hooks on brackets and are worn between the upper and lower teeth in various ways. They apply pressure to move the upper teeth against the lower teeth to achieve a better fit.