Removable braces are as the name says: they are a type of brace which is worn all the time apart from when it has to be removed for cleaning and sport. If you play sport then it is a good idea to remove this brace especially if you play contact sports such as rugby!

Removable braces are suitable for minor orthodontic problems such as expanding the upper or lower teeth or straightening crooked teeth.

A typical removable brace consists of a plastic base with attached wires and springs. The Inman Aligner is a good example of a removable brace. A removable brace covers the soft palate of the mouth and fits neatly over the teeth, and is easy to clean.

Wearing a removable brace

The orthodontist will fit the brace over your teeth, making certain that it is a snug fit and is unlikely to move around inside your mouth. A loose brace can irritate inside your mouth.

Expect some soreness for the first few days as the brace is adjusted and your teeth and gums become accustomed to it. Do not stop wearing the brace however tempting it is as you will have to repeat this process again. Take an over the counter painkiller if necessary.

Contact your orthodontist if the brace causes severe soreness.

You will be expected to visit the orthodontist on regular occasion for adjustments to the brace. It is important that you attend these as well as your normal check ups with your dentist.

What to expect with a removable brace

It will feel strange to start with. Your speech will be affected and you will have a tendency to excess swallowing although this will soon disappear.

What about eating? This is something which concerns many patients but you can eat as normal whilst wearing a brace. You will find it a little bit awkward to start with but persevere with it.

It is a good idea to avoid ‘hard’ or excessively sweet foods to start with. These include sweets, chocolate, and fruit such as apples and crusty bread which can damage the brace. Plus they are known factors for tooth decay and gum disease.

How long do I need to wear a removable brace?

Treatment times vary between individuals but it can take from 6 months up to two years to straighten your teeth. Much of this depends upon how well you clean and care for your brace.

If your brace gets broken (and on several occasions) or is not cleaned and cared for properly then this will increase the length of time the brace takes to correct your teeth.

Avoid using your tongue to flick against the brace to remove/replace it as this will damage the wires thereby increasing the risk of breakage. Plus it will also increase treatment time.

Caring for a removable brace

Clean and care for your brace in the same way you would with your teeth. Incorporate this into your daily oral hygiene routine which will reduce the risk of tooth decay as well as preserve the brace.

Ensure that the brace stays in your mouth when eating or drinking but remove it each time. Remove the brace and brush it gently with a toothbrush taking care to ensure that all food deposits have been removed. Don’t forget to clean your teeth as well.

You may be given a retainer to wear after treatment has finished. This is a similar device to a brace which helps to keep your teeth in their new position for up to 6 months. This is usually worn all the time but eventually at night time only.