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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialist branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis and management of irregularities of the teeth and jaws. Various types of braces can be used to apply gentle pressure to move teeth into a better position and improve your smile.

What are the benefits of Orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment enhances your personal appearance and many patients report that this boosts their self-esteem and confidence. In addition, the function of the bite may improve and straight teeth are easier to clean, which helps to keep them healthy.

What types of braces are there?

We offer a range of the most up-to-date treatment techniques, including fixed braces, removable braces, invisible braces and lingual (behind the teeth) braces. Please see our treatments for more information.

Why are tooth extractions sometimes needed?

If there is insufficient room to allow for the correct alignment of your teeth, your orthodontist may contact your dentist to arrange for an extraction and create some extra space.

How is a brace fixed to my teeth?

A brace fitting is pretty straightforward. Brackets are simply glued in place after the teeth have been dried in preparation.

Will my teeth hurt after the fitting?

It is normal for teeth to be a little sensitive for a day or two after the brace is fitted as they start to move into their new position. If it is uncomfortable you can take pain relief, such as paracetamol, but remember to follow dosage instructions. Be reassured that this sensitivity generally only lasts a couple of days.

Sometimes as teeth start to straighten, the end of the wire may appear to lengthen and stick into cheeks or gums. If this happens, try to tuck the wire in with your fingernail or pad the area with cotton wool or wax and then contact us the next working day so we can snip it off.

How can I keep my brace clean?

During your fitting appointment we will advise you on the following:

  • what kind of brushes and equipment to use
  • the importance of cleaning your teeth after every meal and before going to bed
  • when to use disclosing tablets or paste
  • the use of fluoride mouthwashes

Will the brace leave marks on my teeth?

No – not if you brush well and avoid fizzy drinks and sugary snacks. Also fruit juices should be diluted if drunk between meals.

When can a removable brace be taken out?

A removable brace should only be taken out:

  • after every meal for brushing with toothpaste and then replaced straight away
  • for swimming and contact sports (and keep it in a brace box while you’re busy being active – these are available at reception)

In all other cases, the brace should be worn full-time so that constant pressure is applied to the teeth, ensuring they move quickly in the right direction. Try not to cheat as your treatment will take much longer and your teeth will not look as good as they could.

How often will I need my brace adjusted?

To keep teeth moving smoothly into the right position, you will need to have your brace adjusted every 4-12 weeks. After adjustments, your teeth may feel tender for a day or so, but this should quickly settle down.

It is a good idea for young patients to be seen on their own during fitting and adjustment visits to encourage independence and increased confidence. Parents will, of course, be given regular updates on progress.

How long will treatment last?

Generally, orthodontic treatment lasts between 18 months and 2 years, but very difficult cases may require longer. We will give you an approximate idea of how long it will take, but remember you can also influence the treatment time and result by closely following care advice instructions and attending appointments.

Do I have to wear retainers?

After teeth have been straightened you will need to wear a retainer to hold them in their new position. We recommend that these are worn for a minimum of 12 months and for best results they should be worn regularly at night as teeth can continue to move throughout your life.

Do I need a mouthguard?

It is vitally important that you protect your teeth with a mouthguard when playing sport – be sure to ask at reception about keeping your teeth safe.

I have been refused treatment on the NHS, can I still have treatment?

If your teeth are not a severe enough case for NHS treatment you can still be treated privately if your Orthodontist feels you would benefit.

What are the costs of private treatment?

The cost depends on the problem being corrected and the type of brace you choose. Your Orthodontist will be able to advise.

What are the benefits of private treatment?

  • adults can be treated as there is no age limit
  • there is a wider choice of treatments and braces
  • problems that do not qualify for NHS treatment can be corrected
  • no waiting lists

If you need any further information please visit the British Orthodontic Society.