What are conventional fixed braces?


Conventional fixed braces consists of standard metal/ceramic brackets that are cemented onto your teeth and connected by a metal wire.


Conventional Braces1 | Elite Dental Group


How do they work?


The wires are changed periodically so that as the wire straightens itself, it will move the teeth through the bone along with it. Over time, the teeth align as they follow the shape dictated by the wire.



Fixed braces CANNOT change jaw position or size in adults.



How long will it take me to complete the treatment?


Everybody has a unique set of teeth, which means each orthodontic treatment plan differs from person to person. There are many factors that can affect the time taken to complete the treatment, such as: patient age, the extent of crowding, bone density, your compliance with scheduled adjustment visits, whether extractions are required and the overall complexity of the treatment plan.



The average duration of a braces treatment is one to two years. PropelTM (periodic micro-osteoperforations) can be used to accelerate treatment speed and help reduce treatment duration by 50-60%.


Conventional Braces2 | Elite Dental Group


Conventional braces at Elite Dental Group


Step 1: Consultation and assessment


During your initial consultation, we will first discuss your treatment goals with you.  A clinical assessment is also done to ensure that you are ready to start treatment. Tooth decay, gum disease and/or any other dental health issues should be treated first, before your braces journey can begin.



Following the assessment, photos, study models, digital scans and X-rays of your teeth will be taken to design your personalised treatment plan.



Step 2: Treatment plan discussion


Once we have finished analysing your teeth and bite , we will then discuss your personalised treatment plan in detail. All possible treatment options will be discussed so that you can make an informed decision about how to move forward. The braces programme will only commence once you are satisfied with the proposed treatment plan. It is important that you fully understand all your treatment options and ask as many questions as you need at this stage.



Step 3: Bonding your braces


We will bond the brackets onto your teeth using a special dental adhesive. This process may take about 60-90 minutes. Usually the braces are started only on the upper jaw, for a gentler start.



Once the brackets are bonded onto your teeth, a metal wire will be attached to the brackets.



Step 4: Adjustment Visits


Wire changes are done every three to four weeks. As the teeth get straighter, the wires used increase in thickness. This generates more orthodontic force. We will strike a balance between increasing the orthodontic forces and your comfort.



You may also need to use rubber bands at this stage, and we will instruct you on how to install the bands onto your brackets.



Step 5: Debonding


Once the teeth are straight and the bite is finalised, the braces are removed and the bracket cement is carefully cleaned off the surfaces of your teeth.



Fixed retainers are placed and moulds for your removable retainers are done at this appointment.



For your knowledge, here is a table comparing conventional braces and clear aligners (Invisalign)


Conventional Braces3 | Elite Dental Group


Conventional Braces vs Invisalign



  Braces Invisalign
AppearanceMetal or ceramic braces cemented on the teeth, with metal wire/coated aesthetic wiresClear/Invisible
Treatment TimeBraces may take a slightly shorter duration to complete as compared to Invisalign.
Braces are useful for extraction cases or treating very complex problems.
Invisalign takes a slightly longer duration to complete compared to conventional braces.

Some patients may need sectional braces to assist in the finishing stages of Invisalign.
MaintenanceMore difficult to maintain.
Teeth: Thorough brushing and flossing is required.
Braces: Brackets and wires must be thoroughly cleaned to prevent plaque buildup.
Easy maintenance.
Teeth: Brush and floss teeth normally as aligners are removable.
Aligners: Brush aligners to keep them clean.
Visits to the dentist for reviewAdjustment visits every 3-4 weeks Aligner trays are changed every 2 weeks. Monitoring visits every 6 to 8 weeks
ComfortLess comfortable as the brackets/wires may cause abrasions and ulcers.

Ceramic brackets are more bulky and may interfere with your bite.
Relatively comfortable
CommitmentLower commitment required. The braces are not removable.More commitment required. To ensure optimal results, patients must wear the aligners for 20-22 hours/day
CostLower cost/more affordableHigher cost due to lab fees and digital planning
Retainer required?YesYes



Benefits of Conventional Braces


  • Affordable
  • Moves teeth 20-30% faster than Invisalign
  • They are more effective at treating complex cases because of greater fine control over tooth movement
  • Elastic ties come in different fun colours
  • Require less effort and discipline by the patient
  • Ceramic brackets are more aesthetically pleasing



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What age should you get braces?

In general, there is no upper age limit on having your teeth straightened. 


However, in younger patients (children and teens), the jaw bone is not yet fully mature so moving teeth tends to be easier and less painful.


There are certain issues that can be addressed in the growing phase (childhood to early teens) such as jaw and facial growth pattern. Leaving these issues untreated until adulthood may mean that jaw surgery may be required to fix the skeletal discrepancy.


Many adults need teeth straightened prior to cosmetic dental work such as veneers or implants, to ensure the best aesthetic outcome.

How much do braces cost?

The fees for orthodontic treatment vary depending on the case and its complexity.


Some factors that affect the difficulty of orthodontic treatment include:

  • The need for extractions
  • The presence of compromised teeth
  • The presence of uncorrected skeletal discrepancies
  • The need for additional appliances for anchorage (e.g. mini implants/screws)
  • Patient requests
  • Need for specialist management
Can braces ruin your teeth?

If your case requirements have been understood by your dentist and a sensible treatment plan has been developed, then carefully-done orthodontics is safe.


However, if the oral hygiene is poor and the patient’s risk of decay is high and uncontrolled, then having fixed braces on the teeth increases your risk of gum disease and tooth decay. This is a very important aspect of treatment success that is almost entirely under the control of the patient.

Are braces painful?

Most patients tend to develop ulcers from friction of the braces rubbing against their lips and cheeks when first starting treatment. This tends to improve after a few weeks as the mucosa adapts.


As the teeth move, they may become tender when chewed on. This usually develops 1-2 days after the braces are adjusted. Most patients do not have any difficulty but for more severe discomfort, paracetamol can be taken for pain relief.

Which teeth braces are best?

The gold standard for braces is fixed braces. These are the most versatile and can be used to fix a wide range of problems with a high degree of predictability.

How can I straighten my teeth without braces?

Clear aligners (such as Invisalign) are becoming popular however these are not suitable for complex cases and depend heavily on patient compliance to ensure a good result. Aligners also move teeth more slowly than fixed braces do since there are periods of time where the aligners are not inside the mouth applying pressure to the teeth to move them.


If the crowding is mild, then correction by artificially straightening the teeth using veneers or crowns may be considered. However, this usually means making bulkier veneers or cutting down more tooth structure for an aesthetic result.