One of the most frequently asked questions during our consent appointments is “does it hurt having the brace put on?” People are naturally apprehensive about the unknown so it’s up to us as professionals to prepare patients for the treatment they are going to have, so I thought this blog could explain how we put on or take off someone’s fixed braces (sometimes referred to as “train-track” braces).
First things first, let me answer the question we are most frequently asked – “it is pain free to have a brace fitted” (unless your orthodontist likes to sing that is!).
What we do when we fit a brace is place metal or ceramic squares to the surface of the teeth. Like any good DIY’er knows, things stick better on cleaner surfaces so the first thing your orthodontist should do is polish your teeth. The hardest thing about fitting a brace is controlling ‘moisture’, so it’s usual to place either cotton wool rolls or a special retractor (holds lips and cheeks away from the teeth) in the mouth, as well as use some kind of suction tube to remove saliva. The teeth are prepared by cleaning and then the squares are placed on each tooth with a special glue – the glue either sets on its own or a blue light is used to make this happen. Once all the squares are on, the retractor or cotton wool rolls and suction tube are removed. A wire is then added on to the squares and secured either with little O-rings or by closing the clasp on the square, if present. That is the brace fitted.
The squares stay in place throughout treatment (unless there are breakages), and are removed at the end using a special plier. Essentially what happens is the orthodontist gently rocks the square until the glue breaks away from the base of the squares leaving residue on the teeth. This is then gently polished away leaving the teeth smooth.
So there it is – a simple guide to how braces are fitted and removed. Hope you found it helpful.