Types of Braces

Fixed Appliances

Fixed braces are made up of bands and brackets that are stuck onto the teeth. Straightening wires run between the various attachments and the teeth are moved with elastics and, sometimes, headgear or temporary anchorage devices (TADs).

The fixed attachments must not be removed by the patient. The length of treatment varies between 9 months and two years although complex cases may take longer. The most commonly used fixed braces are made from stainless steel but we also offer aesthetic braces and invisible braces.

Patient cooperation is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of your treatment.


Functional Appliances

Functional appliances are usually fitted to reduce the prominence of upper incisors and to improve the way the teeth bite together. They are use in growing children to try and influence the development of the jaws and face. Often they reduce the need for extractions to be undertaken.

Removable functional appliances are the most popular. These braces may be in one piece (eg. Medium opening activator) or in two separate parts (eg. Twin Blocks).

Functional appliances must be worn on a full-time basis, day and night, for about 9-12 months in order to work. They are removed for cleaning, swimming and contact sports. After this initial treatment period they are usually worn at night time for about a year or worn in combination with fixed braces.

Fixed braces may be needed after functional appliance treatment. In these cases  the total course of treatment may last 30 months.


Aesthetic Braces

Many patients do not want metal braces fixed to their teeth. 'Train-tracks' are very obvious, even from a distance, and there is an increasing demand for less conspicuous braces.

Patients seen under private contract can choose aesthetic braces. These are clear or tooth-coloured brackets which are usually made from porcelain. A tooth coloured  wire is still used to straighten the teeth but this is only really obvious on closer inspection, but occasionally we may recommend a metal wire to aid or speed up treatment.

Aesthetic braces are usually fitted on the front teeth and side teeth only. Windmill Orthodontics use 3M Clarity Advance™ brackets.
Windmill Orthodontics specialise in  invisible braces (lingual) for adults. These are fixed behind the teeth so that they do not show at all! Windmill Orthodontics uses 3M Incognito™ lingual appliances. The 3M Incognito™ brackets are custom made for your teeth using the latest in CAD/CAM techniques from gold. You keep the gold brackets at the completion of treatment.


Invisible Lingual Braces

Lingual braces attach to the inside surfaces of the teeth (lingual meaning tongue side) and are ideal for those who would prefer a more inconspicuous brace.

The 3M Incognito™ brace is the very latest advance in lingual orthodontics. Using cutting-edge technology, the cast-gold brackets are custom-made to fit onto the back surface of the teeth making the brace completely invisible.

Lingual braces can be used to treat both simple and more complex problems. Many patients notice an improvement in their smile within the first few months.

Most of the patients we treat are adults, but many teenagers are now also choosing lingual braces. 

Lingual braces are only available for private patients and fees are between two and three times that of conventional braces. 



Removable Appliances

Removable braces can only undertake simple tooth movements eg. expansion, tipping a tooth (or teeth) and reducing an overbite. They are not used too often in modern orthodontics. Removable brances are normally used as part of more complex treatment, with either fixed or functional appliances.


Are Braces Painful?

No! ... but the braces may feel rough to the inside of your lips and cheeks for the first week. Soft wax is provided to ease this initial discomfort. Your teeth will be tender for a few days after each appointment and you may need to take mild pain killers as you would normally for a headache.

If your brace is broken you should phone the practice for an appointment to have it repaired.

It is very important to keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy during orthodontic treatment. Wearing an appliance makes this more difficult so we offer brace care kits to help you keep your mouth, teeth and gums healthy during orthodontic treatment.

Brace Do's and Don'ts

  • Do clean your teeth after every time you eat.
  • Do use a fluoride mouthwash at least once a day – or you can swish around the toothpaste/water in your mouth for 30-60 seconds having cleaned your teeth before spitting out.
  • Do avoid hard and sticky foods eg chewing gum, they may break the brace.
  • Don’t eat too many sweets or fizzy drinks – keep nibbling/sweets to meal time.
  • Don’t leave your brace broken – contact the practice to get it fixed, as soon as possible.
  • Don’t loose your functional/removable brace – keep it safe in your mouth or in a brace box when playing sports etc.

Fixed appliances – we offer 4 types of fixed appliances. 
Ceramic, or white / tooth coloured braces. The appliance is made from porcelain making the appliance much more discrete. We use 3M clarity brackets for the highest clinical performance with excellent aesthetics.

Lingual appliances – these are ‘invisible’ as they are placed on the inside of the teeth, instead of the front. This totally hides the appliance so no-one knows you are having orthodontic treatment.

Invisible aligner appliances – Often known as under the trade name ‘Invisalign’, these are a series of very thin clear aligners that are modified to straighten the teeth.

Once orthodontic treatment is complete it is vital that appropriate retainers are used in order to reduce the risk of your teeth relapsing to their original position. It is extremely important that you wear your retainers as instructed. Otherwise your teeth may not stay straight.


The type of recommended retainers will be discussed with you are your consultation. The NHS provides and looks after retainers for one year normally. We use 2 types of retainer:

Invisible, clear vaccum formed ("Essix") retainers - These are made from thin clear plastic, they are very comfortable to wear. These retainers are usually worn either full time or part time.

Bonded retainers – these are invisible as they are glued to the inside surface of the teeth, on a permanent basis to prevent relapse.

If you loose or break your retainer it is vital that you contact us as soon aspossible so we can arrange an appointment to get them repaired or replaced

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