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Train Track Braces: All About Fixed Braces and Alternatives

Contributors:  Amanda Dexter

Are you interested in straightening your teeth, but the idea of train track braces is putting you off? Well, don't worry because these days there are plenty of options when it comes to dental braces, and there are plenty of alternatives as well. But first, let's find out more about braces, including:

  • What are train track braces?
  • How do fixed braces work?
  • Types of braces
  • Alternatives to train tracks
  • How much do braces cost?

There are all sorts of ways to straighten your teeth, and traditional fixed braces are just one of those ways. We will discuss them in detail, as well as alternatives, so you have all the information you need to make a decision. You may even end up deciding that train tracks are the right choice for your needs!

Train track braces aren't the only option. Clear aligners are effective for mild to moderate cases, and they are practically invisible. Some clear aligners like Invisalign are even suitable for some severe orthodontic issues.

Of course, the best person to help you decide on a treatment route is your dentist, so always consult them before making your final decision.

What are the best alternatives to ‘train-track-braces'?

Are train track braces putting you off? Well, luckily, there are plenty of good alternatives.

We recommend Smile White aligners. Like Invisalign, they can treat 90% of cases. However, these Aligners are a lot more affordable, plus you'll get free whitening and aligners worth £790.

Read our Smile White review for more information, or book a FREE e-consulting.

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What are train track braces?

train tracks
Train track braces are traditional fixed braces

Train tracks are just another name for traditional braces. It comes from the way braces look when they are attached to the teeth with the archwire running through connecting the metal brackets.

When people think of braces, they think of the traditional metal train track look. However, there have been advancements in technology in more recent times which means that they are now smaller, lighter and more discreet.

They are also suitable for both adults and teens, although if you are getting NHS treatment it is free for children under the age of 18. It is worth checking with your dental practice what the suitable age is for children to start wearing braces if you aren't sure.

What are train tracks made from?

Fixed braces are made from metal; more specifically stainless steel that is sometimes combined with titanium. The metal brackets that sit on each tooth are then connected by a flexible wire, also made from stainless steel. The arch wire is secured by small rubber bands, that can come in many different colours.

Bigger rubber bands are also used to help pull teeth in different directions. Sometimes, metal bands (orthodontic bands) are used to gradually move teeth that need stronger pressure into position.

How do fixed braces work?

Now that you know what traditional braces are made from it is a simple step to understanding how they work. Your orthodontist attaches metal brackets to each tooth. The metal wires, known as the arch wires, connect to each one and are secured by small elastic bands.

Braces work when your dentist shortens the wire over time and adds larger rubber bands in certain positions to slowly move your teeth into the desired position.

Braces are made up of metal brackets, elastics and wire

It can take 1-2 hours to attach the braces to your teeth, and then, depending on the severity of your case, 1 – 3 years to straighten your teeth. Braces treatment time can depend on the type of braces you have, your age and your individual severity of misalignment. In cases of misalignment or malocclusion, you may need to wear an orthodontic appliance before your braces which can add up to 12 months to your treatment.

There are some alternatives to braces that have a much shorter treatment timescale if you are eligible for them. You will need to visit your dentist or orthodontist to decide on a suitable option before making a final decision.

How are train track braces fitted?

The following video shows the steps of braces being fitted so that you know exactly what to expect when you get yours.

This video shows and explains clearly what happens during each step of getting your braces fitted close up. 😃 Dr Sarah Sadek's dental hygiene products: 🦷 Waterpik Cordless Advanced Water Flosser: 🦷 Waterpik & Toothbrush in One: 🦷 Retainer cleaning tablets: ❤️ Join our family: Are you getting your braces put on soon? You may be here because you want to know how they are put on. Watch this video for all the steps to expect when you go. In this video Dr Sadek explains each stage of fitting a brace. She begins with discussing the different types of braces you may be going in to have fitted with your orthodontist. These include fixed clear and fixed metal braces, and lingual (Incognito) braces. The procedure of getting the brace fitted does not vary much with each type of brace fitting. The video shows the stages of having an X-Ray, having moulds of your teeth taken and how this is not as scary as it seems, it then goes on to attaching the brace to your teeth. Dr Sarah Sadek is a dentist that specialises in straightening teeth. She uses a whole range of methods to give her patients a beautiful smile. These include Invisalign, fixed clear braces, Invisalign, Incognito braces. Here is a video all about powerchain: How braces are removed: Video about 'Power chain' on braces What happens at your first visit to the orthodontist: How to keep your brace and teeth clean when you have braces: Different coloured elastic and good combinations you can choose for your brace: Subscribe for more useful dental information. Tweet me at: Follow me on Instagram: Thanks for watching, keep smiling! This channel is dedicated to everything related to dentistry, orthodontics and straight teeth. How you can get straight teeth with braces, Invisalign or even veneers. All aspects of kids braces are discussed as well as Invisalign for teenagers. I discuss Invisalign cost and how much braces cost. The amazing power chain braces and exactly how these work are shown in great detail. You may wonder what elastics during braces are for and this is also spoken about. General dentistry problems will also be explained. Teeth whitening and the various methods available and their costs, in addition to how you can whiten teeth with braces. Problems with wisdom teeth and you can reduce these. Common causes for tooth ache and dental abscess, their prevention and when you may need to see an emergency dentist are also discussed. Dental implants to fix teeth and how these work, in addition to getting an implant and straight teeth. I will also be reviewing HiSmile for teeth whitening and discussing if it actually works. So for all of this and more, please do join our dental community and subscribe. The content seen in this video does not provide personal health or medical advice. Information is provided only for education purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for professional dental advice, diagnosis, or treatment. For personalised medical or dental advice, please be sure to consult your doctor, dentist or relevant health provide immediately.

Types of braces

If you get treatment through the NHS, generally your only option to improve your smile is train track braces, but the criteria for eligibility are quite stringent with the NHS. However, if you opt for private treatment there are a multitude of options. So, let's discuss other types of braces and alternatives.

If you are wondering how to know if you need braces, then read our article to find out more and make an appointment with your dentist or orthodontist.

Ceramic braces

Ceramic braces are a little more discreet than regular braces, although not unnoticeable. This is because the material that they are made from is clear, white or tooth-coloured ceramic, helping them to blend into the teeth behind them. The wires that connect the brackets can also be tooth coloured which helps them to be less noticeable.

Lingual braces are hard to adjust and treatment can take longer

Unfortunately, the rubber bands that secure the wire to the braces are easily stained. And, although they work just like traditional braces, they cost a little bit more and are not available with the NHS.

Lingual braces

The most discreet fixed braces are lingual braces. This is because the brackets are attached to the teeth facing inwardly so that they cannot be seen from the outside (unless the mouth is open). They are often difficult to adjust, treatment time takes longer and they can often cause speech problems due to the proximity to the tongue.

This type of braces are much more expensive than traditional braces, and can often have more cons than pros. However, speak to your dentist if you are interested in getting this type of braces.

Self-ligating braces

Self-ligating braces look very similar to traditional fixed braces, but they work quite differently. They are self-tightening and the modern technology of heat-activated wires makes adjustments more steady and gentle.

These braces are made to be more comfortable, easier to adjust and need no elastic or metal bands to work. The lack of rubber bands also means that they are more hygienic than traditional braces.

Clear braces

Many people think that clear braces are similar to invisible aligners, but what's the difference? Clear braces are actually just traditional braces that are clear or tooth coloured. There are not really any similarities between these and aligners like Invisalign other than the fact that they both are used to straighten teeth. Some examples include the following:

  • Damon Clear
  • Radiance Plus
  • Clairty
  • InVu
  • Quick Straight Teeth

What are some alternatives to fixed braces?

Check out SmileDirectClub or NewSmile aligners

Invisible braces

The alternatives to fixed braces for straightening teeth are clear aligners (invisible braces). Clear aligners are a series of removable clear plastic trays that are custom made to the shape of your teeth. They fit snugly over your teeth to apply pressure and slowly guide your teeth into the desired position.

Every 2 weeks, the aligners are changed for a new set so that they can continue to align your teeth. There is a varying amount of time that treatment can last depending on which aligner you choose and your individual case. Treatment time can also depend on your ability to comply with wear time.

Many types of aligner treatments come with teeth whitening included with is a bonus. Teeth whitening with braces isn't always possible, but it is with clear aligners because they are removable.

Invisible braces, also known as clear aligners are generally used for less complex orthodontic cases. Train track braces are used for more severe cases of misalignment and crooked teeth.

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Smile White offers a hybrid model for clear aligner treatment. You have 3 in-office appointments, so your dentist can ensure in person that your treatment is going as planned.

That means that, unlike other clear aligners, Smile White can treat even the more complex cases of bite misalignment.

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Every treatment comes with free teeth whitening, so you can whiten your teeth while you straighten them!

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NewSmile is a Canadian company that brought its clear aligners to the UK market in 2022. NewSmile aligners are made from the clearest material and the company offers excellent service at the best price.

They don't have any physical locations, so you'll need to purchase an aligner kit to get started. One of their Impression Specialists will guide you through the process on a video call when you're ready.

NewSmile aligners are very affordable, costing just £1,395 (currently discounted to £1,295). But even better, this price includes whitening foam to use in your aligners, plus your first set of retainers!

Choose their daytime package for treatment in 4-6 months, or nighttime aligners for a more discreet treatment that takes 8-10 months. Both options come with 0% interest payment plans available.


Train track braces, although more traditional and perhaps old-fashioned when compared with modern alternatives are still very effective. In fact, when it comes to more severe and complex orthodontic cases, they are still the best choice.

While train tracks are the only choice if you choose to get treatment with the NHS (and are eligible), if you get private treatment there are a few options. Both lingual braces and ceramic braces are more discreet than metal braces. Or, you can always go a bit more flashy and get the coloured bands of your choice.

Lastly, if fixed braces are not suitable for you and your case is not too complex or severe, there is the option of removable clear aligners.

If you are still not sure about which braces are for you, book a consultation with an orthodontist to discuss your options further.

Before/after results with our #1 recommended teeth aligners

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Train Track Braces: All About Fixed Braces and Alternatives
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Amanda combines her medical background with her love for writing to bring you informed and accurate content at

Wiley Online Library: Clear aligners in orthodontic treatmentConsulted 4th August 2021.