Frequently Asked Questions
Orthodontic Braces FAQ’s
Orthodontics is a specialist field of dentistry which concentrates on improving the alignment of the teeth, the way they fit together and their overall position within the face.
Yes – an orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has undergone a minimum of 3 years of Specialist certified training to become an orthodontist. Most orthodontists only practice orthodontics and no longer practice regular dentistry.
If you have crowded, twisted or spaced teeth and or bite issues, such as protruding teeth, you could benefit from orthodontic treatment.
If you think you might need orthodontic treatment you should arrange an orthodontic assessment and we can advise you if you would benefit from treatment.
Children, teenagers and adults can all receive orthodontic treatment but we would always recommend having an orthodontic consultation before starting any treatment.
On your first visit your orthodontist will carry out an assessment to see if you need braces. They may also take x-rays, moulds and photos of your teeth. If you need braces your orthodontist will normally arrange another appointment to discuss your treatment plan in detail.
That depends on your teeth and your individual treatment plan. The braces we use are listed in our treatment section of the website. Most patients will be treated with either a cosmetic or metal fixed appliance.
These braces are made from plastic and wire components and they can be removed from the mouth.
We use them for simple interceptive corrections or for specific tooth movements where they can more effective than a fixed appliance.
They are usually fitted on the top teeth but can also be used on the lower teeth if needed. They commonly precede fixed appliance treatment.
These are a specially designed combination of an upper and lower removable brace appliances used to functionally stimulate block tooth movement and maximise any favourable jaw growth potential.
These are commonly used in cases where the top teeth sit significantly in front of the lower teeth due to a shorter lower jaw. They are only used in growing children.
Commonly called ‘train tracks’ these braces consist of metal or ceramic brackets which are fixed to the outside of the teeth with special adhesives. A wire is tied into the bracket and the combination of the bracket and wire is used to align the teeth.
Fixed orthodontic braces allow maximum control of the teeth and are used in most of the cases we treat. Ceramic brackets are not available to NHS patients.
In some fixed appliance cases we use a trans- palatal arch which is a thin bar that runs across the roof of the mouth and is held in by bands cemented to the back teeth. It is used to control the teeth at the back of the mouth.
These are clear thin gum-shield type appliances with fit over the teeth and are changed every week.
Sometimes tooth coloured bumps are glued onto the teeth to help the aligner have better control over the teeth – these bumps are removed at the end of treatment.
Invisalign™ is not available to NHS patients.
Orthodontic extractions are a standard part of orthodontic treatment but whether you will need teeth removed will depend on your individual treatment plan. There are a lot of things for the orthodontist to consider before recommending extractions and we prefer not to remove teeth if possible.
When your appliances are first fitted or then adjusted you may experience some discomfort. This typically lasts for a few days and can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief.
Every patient’s experience with braces is different. Patients tend to adjust to the brace within a few days, however, it can take up to a week, and occasionally a little more.
If you have a removable appliance it may take you a few weeks to get used to speaking normally with the appliance in place.
This depends on the type and extent of orthodontic treatment undertaken. However, on average, orthodontic treatment takes around 12 and 24 months.
On average most patients would attend an appointment every 6-8 weeks to have their brace adjusted.
It may be necessary for you to wear elastics during your treatment. These are used to apply pressure to the teeth and jaws to correct the alignment of your teeth and bite. You will be advised if elastics are necessary in your case.
At the start of treatment or after the brace is adjusted, your teeth may feel sore and you may need to stick to a softer diet with foods like pasta, noodles, mashed potato and soups etc.
We also recommend that you avoid hard and crunchy foods, biting nails, chewing pen lids or picking at your brace. This will help prevent the brace being damaged which could prolong the treatment time.
Healthy hard food such as apples, raw vegetables etc should be cut up into small pieces and eaten carefully on your back teeth.
Yes – but we would advise using an orthodontic gum shield, to protect your teeth and lips. We sell these at our reception desk or you can have a custom one made for you.
Yes, you can play a musical instrument while your brace is in place. However, some people who play brass or wood wind instruments have felt that their play has been effected while the braces are in place or afterwards. If you are concerned about this, please discuss it this with your orthodontist before starting any treatment.
Yes – This is a very important part of the treatment, as without retainers your teeth could begin to move back out of alignment.
Retainers are used once the orthodontic treatment has been completed to ensure the teeth are kept in their post treatment position.
The practice uses both removable and permanent retainers depending on the requirements of the individual case.
A removable retainer is a thin clear plastic appliance which is custom made to fit exactly over your teeth and is usually worn at night.
A permanent retainer is a thin wire glued to the back of your front teeth and holds your teeth all day long.
We recommend wearing retainers every night for the first 1-2 years after active treatment.
Beyond this time it may be possible to reduce the retainer wear to every second or third night but only if they fit correctly with the reduced amount of wear.
If you stop wearing your retainers your teeth can move no matter how long it has been since your orthodontic treatment has been finished. If this happens you will have to cover the cost of treatment if you would like your teeth re-straightened.
You should replace your retainer as they get worn out (cracked, split, feel soft etc).
Whether it’s your removable or bonded retainer you should contact us as soon as possible for advice and to arrange getting a replacement retainer. The longer you are without your retainers the more chance there is of your teeth moving.