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How Are Braces Put On: A Breakdown Of The Process And What To Expect

3 June 2021

Categories: Braces
Close up of woman with braces

Deciding whether to get braces may be difficult, especially with all the considerations and questions you may have. Learning more about the treatment process may help you with decision making and ease your uncertainties.

  • Bracket

    Brackets are tiny metal or ceramic pieces that are attached to the front of your teeth using dental cement.

    The arch wire then resides within the slot of the bracket.

  • Arch wire

    The arch wires serve to connect the brackets together and guide the movement of your teeth.

    They can come in various materials* such as stainless steel, copper nickel titanium and nickel titanium.

  • Ligature/Module

    Ligatures/modules are used for traditional braces to hold the arch wires in place. They can come in various colours.

    Modules aren’t required for self-ligating braces as the brackets have “sliding doors” that close over the arch wire.

*If you have a nickel allergy, you’re recommended to consult your dentist for advice.

There will be 2 consultations before you get braces. These sessions will allow the dentist to analyse your oral health and create a treatment plan that suits you.

  • First consultation

    The dentist will conduct an oral examination and take diagnostic records of your teeth including 3D intraoral scans and X-ray images. The treatment plan will be designed based on these records.

  • Second consultation

    During the second consultation, the dentist will explain your dental condition based on the diagnostic records and present the treatment plan to you.

    If you’re comfortable with the plan, the dentist will proceed to put on your braces!

Step 1: Cleaning

Your dentist will clean and polish your teeth before putting on the braces. This ensures that the brackets won’t fall off during the treatment process.

Step 2: Gluing on the brackets

A small amount of chemical will be placed onto your teeth. The dentist will then wash and dry the teeth before applying some bond material.

After which, they’ll use dental cement to stick the brackets onto the front of your teeth and a blue light will be used to set the glue.

Step 3: Placing the arch wire

Once all the brackets have been attached to the teeth, the dentist will proceed to place the arch wires.

For traditional braces, modules will be used to hold the arch wires in place. If you’d like, you can customise the colours based on your preferences!

On the other hand, self-ligating braces simply require the dentist to slide the “doors” over the arch wires to secure them.

Finally, the excess ends of the arch wires will be cut and cinched back to prevent them from hurting your cheeks.

Steps 1 and 2 are the same for both traditional and self-ligating braces. Step 3 differs slightly as self-ligating braces don’t require modules.


The duration will vary based on the type of braces and your teeth. In general, putting on braces will take 1-2 hours.

No, putting on braces doesn’t hurt! However, you may feel some soreness and/or discomfort due to the pressure that’s being applied to your teeth.

In the initial stages after getting braces, you may feel discomfort or soreness in your mouth especially when chewing food. To minimise this, your dentist may recommend a soft food diet.

You’ll be scheduled to meet the dentist every 4 to 8 weeks to follow up on the progress of your treatment. If necessary, he/she will adjust your braces.

If the arch wire is causing you pain or discomfort, you should make an appointment with your dentist. They can help to cut off any excess parts of the wire!

Alternatively, you can apply some orthodontic wax to the parts of the wire that are poking you.

In the event of such emergencies, you should schedule a repair appointment with your dentist immediately.

After getting braces, you’ll need to pay extra attention to your dental hygiene. You’ll have to adopt a new routine when it comes to brushing and flossing your teeth.

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