The Essentials In Brief:
Removable braces make dental care easier, but may move the teeth significantly less.
Fixed braces are attached with brackets and are mainly used in permanent dentition. They work more effectively, but they can cause harm.
It should also be considered whether a correction is necessary at all.
What do removable braces do?
Removable devices are made individually based on an impression. Brackets and correction elements are attached to a plastic base and are clamped to the teeth when inserted. It is difficult to speak, but the teeth can be cleaned better than with fixed braces.
Removable braces must be checked and readjusted regularly. You can do this at home with a small key. If the appliance does not fit properly, causes pain or is damaged, you should contact your orthodontist. The braces (technically also called the active plate ) should be cleaned every day with a toothbrush and toothpaste or with cleaning tablets.
How do fixed braces work?
The core element of fixed braces are the so-called brackets . These are small metal, ceramic or plastic plates that are glued to the teeth with plastic glue. In addition, metal rings made of steel, so-called bands, are fixed on the teeth with cement. Archwires are attached to the brackets and ligaments, which release the tension necessary to move the teeth. Steel wires and nickel-titanium wires are often used. Steel wires are stiffer, but otherwise not disadvantageous. Which wires are used depends on the purpose. This does not change the duration of treatment.
As a rule, fixed appliances are attached to the outer surface of the teeth, so they are visible. Although they are invisible on the inside of the teeth, they mean more effort, more costs and longer acclimatization because the tongue bumps into them when speaking.
Who decides on the selection?
There is no binding regulation when a fixed or a loose brace should be used. Important aspects for the decision are the type and extent of the tooth position and jaw anomaly, the age and the number of permanent teeth, but also the patient’s willingness to cooperate and oral hygiene.
Fixed braces are mainly used for correction in permanent dentition – for example in the case of pronounced crowding, when teeth are to be rotated or moved over longer distances.
Removable braces can be indicated, for example, to widen dental arches, to correct a large anterior tooth spacing or to advance the lower jaw using the growth. There is no scientifically proven guideline on this.