Common Questions

Why have braces?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The practice of orthodontics requires specialist skill to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and to achieve good facial balance.

Our goal is to achieve both a beautiful and a healthy smile for the patient.

People have orthodontic treatment to improve the appearance, health and function of their teeth.

Appearance
People are very aware of how teeth look and an attractive smile can play an important role in enhancing self-confidence. These days, with good oral hygiene and regular dental care, your teeth should last a lifetime

Hygiene
It’s more difficult to clean your teeth when they are crowded and overlapping. Inadequate cleaning is a major factor in tooth decay, gum disease and eventual tooth loss. Whilst it is possible to keep even the most crooked teeth clean, having your teeth straightened will make it easier for you to look after them.

Tooth wear
It is claimed that some bad bites lead to clenching, grinding, and excessive wear and/or uneven wear of the teeth.

Gum damage
In severe malocclusions the teeth can damage the gum. For example, in cases of deep bite, the lower front teeth can bite into the gum behind the upper front teeth.

Can anybody have braces?

Yes, and at any age too. However, orthodontics is most successful when carried out in children whose teeth and bones are still actively growing.

What will happen at the first appointment?

The first appointment will take approximately 20-30 minutes.

A brace will not be fitted at this session. At this stage we will use the time to assess your problems, discuss the treatment plan that will be necessary and the optimum time to start your treatment. We will also take into account your own concerns, your dental development and your oral hygiene. Patients who are not ready to start treatment will be reviewed at a later date. For those who are ready to start immediately we will make an appointment to take dental records which includes dental study models, photographs and possibly some x-rays.

How do you carry out orthodontic treatment?

Treatment involves wearing a brace (appliance) that is specially made for you. Depending on the type of brace, the appliance can move your teeth into a new position, guide the way your jaw grows, or even widen your jaw to make room for crowded teeth. Occasionally it might be necessary to extract some teeth if your mouth is very crowded.

What are the different types of braces?

There are two types of braces, fixed and removable. Different combinations of braces may be used to treat individual cases. Removable braces are used for simple treatment, and work by exerting gentle pressure. Fixed braces give more precise guidance and have brackets and bands temporarily attached to the teeth.

Will it hurt?

The process of fitting the braces does not hurt. A few hours after fitting your brace your teeth may well feel tender and sensitive. This discomfort may last for three to four days and a mild analgesic such as paracetamol may be necessary.

The level of discomfort varies between individuals. Parts of braces may rub on the lips, cheeks and tongue. Soft orthodontic wax can be moulded to reduce discomfort. After the initial settling period, you will become less conscious of your braces.

How long will treatment take?

This depends on your age and bite problem. Most people need to wear their brace for about 16-18 months, but you can make a difference by looking after them and wearing your braces properly. Broken braces and missed appointments will slow your treatment down. What you need to remember is that this is a team effort and the success and speed of your treatment depends on the partnership between you, your orthodontist and the rest of the dental team.

How often will I need to visit the orthodontist?

Generally your brace will need adjusting every 6 to 8 weeks.

Do I need to wear retainers after my treatment is completed?

Yes, after any type of orthodontic treatment a retainer will be provided. Retainers allow the teeth to settle into their new aesthetic and functional position. They allow the gums and bone to form and strengthen around the newly positioned teeth. Wearing your retainer is the most essential part of your treatment as it prevents relapse – shifting of the teeth back into their original position. There are two types of retainers – fixed and removable. You will be advised by your orthodontist as to which is suitable for you.