Types of braces

There are numerous systems available and each has its uses and advantages. Some of the types of orthodontic treatment available and an explanation are listed in the tabs below.

An orthodontic assessment with our Orthodontist will help in establishing your dental health, bite and evaluate your individual circumstances with regards to what you would like to achieve. The Orthodontist will then be able to discuss with you the different options possible and most appropriate to address your needs.

To book a consultation appointment for this, please call the practice on 0207 449 98 88 or contact us.

Removable Braces

These are those which can be placed and removed by the patient. They are made out of plastic and retained via metal clips which hold onto certain teeth. They offer a limited amount of tooth movement and can be useful when a small amount of treatment would be beneficial in a growing child (interceptive orthodontics). They often allow for improvement of certain aspects before a more comprehensive orthodontic treatment with fixed braces is considered when further dental development has occurred.

Functional Braces

There are numerous types of functional braces but all work in a similar manner by posturing the lower jaw in a forwards direction. Typically they are used in growing patients when managing prominent upper front teeth, often associated with smaller than average lower jaws. Their effect is to reduce the prominence by tipping the teeth towards each other as well as encouraging the growth of the lower jaw.

They can be removable (patient is able to insert and remove them) or fixed (cemented to the teeth). If worn well they can provide excellent results in the reduction of the horizontal gap between upper and lower front teeth, solving the “sticking out” upper front teeth problem. This would be followed by a re-assessment for considering the second phase of treatment with fixed braces to straighten the teeth.

Fixed Braces              

These are those which are cemented onto every tooth to be straightened and linked by wires. They need regular appointments with your Orthodontist for their adjustment and are removed upon completion of the treatment. As the braces are fixed onto the teeth they allow for full 3D control of the tooth position, giving excellent results.

They are typically on the surface of the teeth which is visible (labial) and the metallic type is often used in children. However, materials other than metallic are available which can make them more discrete and aesthetic. Materials such as ceramic braces and reinforced plastics have a similar colour to tooth and have become a very popular choice in adults, as they provide the full control with improved aesthetics.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are an aesthetic type of fixed brace made of a material which is closer to that of tooth colour than the metallic version. They are fixed which allows for precise control of tooth movement and so excellent results in alignment of teeth, like those achieved with the fixed metallic braces, can be achieved. They can be linked with white coloured wires, further improving the discreteness of this type of brace.


This is a clear aligner system which provides patients with a series of individualised computer generated removable aligners which straighten teeth gradually. They are virtually transparent, providing an “invisible” type option for straightening teeth.

Lingual Braces

Often quoted as “invisible” braces, these are growing in popularity, especially in adults due to the benefit of them being “invisible” whilst still fixed and providing good control of tooth movement. They are fixed braces which are placed on the inside surface of the teeth (lingual), facing the tongue, therefore not visible. There are a number of types of lingual braces available, and their benefits and appropriateness to your individual circumstances can be discussed during your consultation.


Following completion of orthodontic treatment retainers are used to maintain the result achieved as teeth have a tendency to want to move back towards their original position (called relapse). Relapse can occur at any age and at any time, which is why wearing retainers is essential following treatment.

There are different types and in certain circumstances one type or a combination of types may be advisable. You would be advised as to what is recommended in your specific case following your assessment at your consultation. Types include;

Removable retainers: these are placed and removed by you and often their wear is gradually reduced over time. There are different types available but one of the most popular is the vacuum formed clear retainer.

Bonded (fixed) retainers: this refers to the wire stuck to the inside surface of the front teeth (not visible as facing the tongue). With a fixed retainer it is important that you maintain good oral hygiene around them and attend your regular dental check-ups.