There are four main types of orthodontic treatments, which are selected by your dentist depending on the exact problem you happen to face. These treatments are designed to remedy problems with your teeth or your jaw and they include functional appliances and headgear as well as the more common braces. If an orthodontist recommends braces to treat you, then it is important to understand whether fixed or removable ones are being suggested. Aside from the obvious ability to take a removable brace out of your mouth, what are the other differences and why do they function differently?

Fixed Braces

In Australia, as well as the rest of the modern world, fixed braces constitute the most commonly fitted type of orthodontic device. They are not fixed in place forever and will be fitted for a limited period of time while their corrective work is carried out. Some patients wear them for a few months, others for a couple of years, depending on the speed of movement of the teeth and how much they are tightened.

Fixed braces tend to be used when several teeth need to be repositioned. This correction process needs to be undertaken to get a good alignment of your teeth so that potential problems in the future are avoided. It also means that you end up with a better-looking smile in many cases.

One of the key points about fixed braces is that they are usually constructed from metal. Although you won't taste anything metallic in your mouth, a fixed brace will be noticeable to others on the front of your incisors. Some orthodontists now provide ceramic or plastic fixed braces which are less visually intrusive, although these tend to be more expensive. People who play contact sports such as rugby or Australian rules football will need to protect their fixed brace. This is achieved simply enough by wearing a gum shield.

Finally, it is important to note that patients are capable of eating normally while they are sporting a fixed brace. They don't interfere with biting or chewing. Nonetheless, dentists recommend that you ought to avoid certain foods and drinks which can damage the brace. These include corrosive things like fizzy drinks as well as sticky foodstuffs, like toffee.

Removable Braces

This sort of brace will be recommended by an orthodontic professional if you only need to correct a minor problem, such as one or two misaligned teeth. They can be fitted once a fixed brace has done its job and some further cosmetic work is required, for example. In other cases, they are used to discourage toddlers from sucking their thumb and causing a malocclusion.

Removable braces can be taken out by the wearer without the need to see a dentist. This means they are more practical if you engage in certain activities, such as playing a musical instrument using your mouth. They can also be taken out for key events, like having your portrait taken, for instance. Lastly, if you want to eat a food that might be bad for the brace, like a chewy sweet, then removing it temporarily makes it much more practical. Of course, the longer your brace is out of your mouth, the longer its corrective effect will take.