What is a Specialist Orthodontist?
In the UK all dentists are permitted to provide orthodontics but a Specialist Orthodontist is a dentist who has undertaken three years of extra full time training to gain an M.Orth qualification which is required to be registered as a ‘Specialist’ with the General Dental Council. If you choose a Specialist Orthodontist you can be confident they will have had the training and expertise needed to ensure you receive the very best orthodontic care.
What is orthodontics and how does it work?
The term orthodontics comes from the Greek words ‘orthos’ meaning straight or correct and ‘dontia’ which means relating to teeth. Dentistry has many branches and specialties. Orthodontics is the specialty which treats abnormalities of the bite and jaws in children and adults. Improvements in the appearance of the teeth, smile and face are among the cosmetic benefits derived from orthodontic treatment.
How long will orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment time depends on each individual’s specific orthodontic problem. Sometimes simple cases can be treated in as little as 6 months but other treatments can take 12-24 months.
Am I too old for orthodontics?
No never! Orthodontics is for everyone! It is a myth that having treatment is only for children and young people. It’s never too late to have braces. Adults are increasingly having orthodontic treatment later in life, often this is because they have found out about some of the modern developments in brace technology, which render braces practically invisible. More and more adults are embracing orthodontics as a way to improve themselves. This can be simply for the cosmetic reason of wanting a great smile, or because of ongoing orthodontic problems such as poor bite or crowded teeth.
How much will it cost?
Treatment costs vary according to the length of treatment and the type of brace used. In order to make the payments more affordable finance options are available.
Do children have to pay for orthodontic treatment?
Within the NHS, orthodontic care for children under the age of 18 can be provided free if the need for treatment is great enough. Private treatment offers a wider choice of braces including clear brackets or invisible braces and more convenient appointment times.
Are there advantages to having private orthodontic treatment?
Yes. As we do not have to apply for funding from the NHS, there is less delay in starting your treatment and a wider range of appointment times are available. We can also offer a variety of advanced, more cosmetic and efficient appliances which are not available on the NHS.
Will my teeth straighten by themselves as they grow?
Unfortunatly no, in most people after the permanent molars appear the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
How often will I have appointments?
You will usually need to have appointments every 4 to 6 weeks.
What happens at your first orthodontic appointment?
Your first appointment with your orthodontist gives you the chance to discuss with an expert what is wrong with your teeth and how you would like them improved. The orthodontist will be able to give you an outline of how brace treatment can help you. The next steps will involve X-rays and record taking. Then approximately 3 weeks later you will have an appointment where the orthodontist will fully discuss your treatment plan with you and answer any questions you may have. Once all of your options have been explained, your written consent will be gained. Finally, a few weeks or so later you will have a long appointment to fit the brace.
Why do I need an X-RAY?
Part of the orthodontic consultation process is making sure that all aspects of any problems can be investigated and subsequently cared for. Panoramic radiographs, skull or facial x-rays and intra-oral of the teeth are all used by your orthodontist to achieve this. X-rays can help to decide whether it is necessary to have teeth removed, or where crowded teeth are impacting on your smile.
Can I have invisible braces?
Yes. We offer lingual braces which are fitted to the back of your teeth out of sight. Tooth coloured braces are also available as well as Invisalign, a clear removable aligner system.
Will it hurt?
Braces are generally not painful to be fitted but afterwards you may feel some discomfort for a few days. If necessary this can be relieved with a painkiller.
Will I need to have teeth removed?
Possibly. New technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures which mean that removing teeth is not always necessary but it is sometimes required to achieve the best results.
Will I be able to eat as normal?
Wearing braces should not excessively change your diet but hard foods, sticky foods and foods with a high sugar content should be avoided as these can cause damage.
Will my speech be affected?
Most patients have no difficulties with speech after having a brace fitted. However this does depend on which type of brace you have. Some braces can affect your speech for a few days. This is just until your tongue gets used to the braces presence and then normal speech will be resumed.
Do I still need to see my own dentist while I have my braces on?
Yes we only look after your braces. It is very important that you continue to attend your own dentist for check-ups.
How do I look after my brace?
It is important that you keep your brace clean after it is fitted. After your brace is fitted we will spend time with you and show you how to care for it.
Can I play contact sports with a brace?
Yes, we have many people who play contact sports like rugby or martial arts with a brace. We recommend gumshields and can provide a special one for use over braces.
Can I drop my children off for an appointment?
Yes, with exceptions. On some occasions, we may request to speak with a parent when they return, so we ask that parents check in with us before dropping off their child. It is necessary for the parent of a minor (16 years and under) to be present for the initial consultation visit.
Will I be charged if I miss appointments?
We require one full working days notice if you need to cancel an appointment. You will be charged a fee appropriate to the length of your appointment.
FAQs for patients wearing braces:
How often should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?
At least three times each day – after each meal and before going to bed. When you get your braces fitted we’ll advise you what you need in order to keep your teeth and braces clean.
Will the braces damage my teeth or jaw?
No. The brace itself will not damage your teeth but you must remove plaque with regular brushing. It is also vital that fizzy drinks and sugary foods are avoided whilst wearing braces.
Are there foods I can’t eat while I have braces?
Yes. Start on a reasonably soft diet until you get used to your brace. Harder food should be avoided, such as crusty breads, hard crisps, pop corn, pizzas with a hard base, sticky toffees/sweets and chewing gum. We still want you to get your five a day so when it comes to eating fruit and vegetables, chop them up and eat them on your back teeth. Try and keep fizzy/sugary drinks as a treat and if you must drink them then drink through a straw.
Can I still play sports while wearing braces?
Yes. We recommend you use a mouth guard while playing any contact sports and that you take out any removeable braces during contact sports and swimming.
My brace is rubbing
Pinch off a small piece of wax and roll it into a pea-sized ball. Flatten the ball and place it completely over the area of the brace causing irritation. If you have run out of wax sugar free chewing gum or the wax from the outside of Babybel cheese work well.
A sharp wire is sticking in
Place a ball of wax over the sharp end this will stop your brace rubbing.
My brace has broken
Brackets are the parts of braces attached to teeth with a special adhesive and are generally positioned in the centre of each tooth. Sometimes brackets can be knocked off by eating hard or crunchy foods. If the loose bracket has rotated on the wire and is sticking out and you cannot immediately reach the orthodontist you can do a temporary fix to ease discomfort. To put the bracket back in place use clean tweezers to slide the bracket along the wire until it is between two teeth. Rotate the bracket back to the right position and then slide it back to the centre of the tooth. Small rubber bands or fine wires called ligatures hold the wire to the bracket. If a piece of wire is sticking out it can often be gently pushed back into place with a cotton bud or the wooden end of a matchstick. If a metal ligature is loose and causing irritation, remove it with tweezers. If a rubber ligature comes off and you have it, it can be replaced with tweezers although this can be fiddly to do, so alternatively call the practice to organise an appointment to get your brace fixed. Lost brackets, ligatures or elastics do not need to be treated as an emergency and if such situations arise out of hours it is perfectly acceptable to wait until the next working day in order to seek advice from the practice without it affecting or delaying your treatment.
What if I have a problem while you’re closed?
If you experience a problem with your brace which is causing extreme pain outwith our normal surgery hours you should call the NHS 24 helpline on 0845 4242424.
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