We want to ensure that all our patients understand what is involved in orthodontic treatment from the beginning. That is why we have listed some frequently asked questions below, in the hope that they will answer some of your questions.
If you cannot find an answer to your question below, please contact us here.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. Braces, aligners and other appliances or devices are used to make these corrections by moving teeth and bones.
What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
An orthodontist has extra qualifications and experience in the specialist field of orthodontics. Both an orthodontist and a dentist have studied dentistry, but an orthodontist has gone on to do further study.
Why a specialist orthodontist?
In the UK, all dentists are permitted to provide orthodontics. However only those dentists who are on the General Dental Council specialist list can call themselves a ‘specialist orthodontist’. Specialist orthodontists undertake a minimum of 5 extra years of training after their dental degree including three years of extra full-time training – and further examinations must be passed before qualifying (MSc and MOrth).
Is orthodontic treatment for me?
Orthodontic treatment is for everyone – children, teens and adults – if they have an orthodontic problem. This may include crowding or spacing issues, or bite issues which occur when there is a misalignment of the jaws.
Can adults benefit from orthodontics?
It’s never too late to have a beautiful smile! Over 20% of our patients are adults, many of whom include straightening their smile as part of their total body improvement plan in pursuit of a healthier, younger, appearance.
When is it best for children to first see you?
We like to meet patients at age 8 to 9 years, so we can plan the best time for starting treatment. This is especially important if facial growth guidance is needed. An early diagnosis of some problems can dramatically reduce treatment time. We are, of course, happy to meet your child or teenager whenever you or your dentist seeks our specialist opinion. We also welcome patients who are new to the area for continuing orthodontic care.
What will happen at my first appointment?
We want to find out how you would really like to see your smile improved. We may need to take x-rays to assess the health of your teeth and the surrounding bones and also the position of your jaws. A set of photographs of the face and teeth will also help us plan your treatment.
We will then discuss with you how we can help you achieve the smile you are looking for. We will also give you an estimate of how long your treatment may take, the required financial investment and show you the types of braces and appliances we can use. Occasionally, for more complex treatments, a second planning visit is needed to finalise the treatment plan.
It would be great if both Mum and Dad can come along with a child patient, and if you are an adult, we are very happy for you to bring a relative or partner.
Does orthodontic treatment hurt?
No, orthodontic treatment won’t hurt. You may experience mild discomfort when your appliance is first fitted, and again when it is tightened or adjusted, but this can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief.
How often will I need to visit?
It varies depending on the stage of treatment and type of brace. On average your brace will need adjusting every 6 to 8 weeks. However modern low-friction and bespoke appliances mean that visits for adjustments can be as infrequent as every 12 weeks.
How long will I have to wear my appliance?
This depends on the treatment plan we provide you, which we’ll discuss at your consultation appointment. But, on average, orthodontic treatment takes between 12 and 24 months.
Will my teeth stay straight?
Teeth can and do move at any age, so it is essential to wear retainers as instructed by your orthodontist. The longer you continue to wear your retainers, the better – particularly if you are still growing.