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Be armed with the facts before your treatment

Straighter teeth are less time-consuming to clean and less prone to traumatic injury - but just as important is the boost to self-confidence that a better smile can provide.

Adults now account for 25% of orthodontic patients. Treatment can be successful at later ages, even though bones are no longer growing, because the biological process involved in tooth movement is the same in adults as in children.

As you prepare to make decisions about orthodontics, it's very important to be armed with the facts. Read on to find out more.

Frequently Asked Questions
What will brace treatment feel like?

Whilst the brace is fitted the most challenging part is keeping your mouth open. The brackets are glued on (which doesn’t hurt) and they feel very strange at first. It will take a while to get used to it and you may find your teeth ache a few hours after the appointment. A soft diet and pain relief can help with the initial discomfort.

When should my child first see an orthodontist?

Early examination allows us to determine when your child’s problem should be treated for maximum improvement – in the least time. Treatment during growth stages can achieve results not possible once the face and jaw bones have finished growing. Most child patients start their main orthodontic treatment between eleven and fifteen years of age. This age gives the patient the best chance of accepting treatment easily and achieving an ideal outcome.

How often do I need to be seen? How long will it take?

We need to see you to adjust your brace on a regular basis, normally every 12-16 weeks. The time of brace treatment will depend on what orthodontic brace system you want to use, what result you want to achieve, how regularly you attend your appointments, and how well you follow our instructions. We use well-established researched systems and techniques and with your commitment, we can complete the treatment with the best result in the shortest time possible.

Will my speech be different?

Anything fixed to the outside of your teeth will not interfere with your speech. Anything fitted inside your mouth near the tongue may alter your speech at the beginning. The more you talk the more you get used to it, so keep on chatting.

Only 1 or 2 teeth are out of line. Do I need a brace on all my teeth?

In order to move 1 or 2 teeth into the right position, we need to move all the other teeth to make space or to “fit in” with the position of the moved teeth. Also aligning teeth in one arch only may interfere with your bite. To achieve an alignment and be left with a functional bite, it is advisable to have a brace on your upper and lower teeth.

My front teeth are chipped and my dentist recommended seeing an orthodontist. Why can’t he just build up my teeth?

A “incorrect bite” can contribute to excessive enamel wear and chipped teeth over time. Very importantly, people do not realise that their teeth are wearing faster than expected until it is too late. The most common and damaging bite is an increased overbite or “deep bite”. This can cause lower incisor wear over the years as the teeth contact and then slide long distances over each other on chewing.

An increased overbite can be fully corrected with specialist orthodontics in adults of any age to make sure the angles that the teeth meet are correct to reduce shearing bite forces. A full bite correction then allows rebuilding of the worn teeth by the patient’s dentist as the bite forces are reduced. In an ageing population, consideration of the long-term harm to teeth from an untreated deep bite is an essential part of good dentistry.

Can I have a removable brace so I can still enjoy going out and meeting friends?

Removable appliances are not used to treat all orthodontic problems. It takes skill and experience to recognise conditions that will respond favourably to removable appliances. We will let you know the best options for you in your initial consultation.

Timing of such therapy also is very important. Invisalign treatment consists of a series of nearly invisible, removable aligners that you change every two weeks for the next set of aligners. Aligners should be worn day and night, and only be removed when eating, drinking, and brushing your teeth otherwise your treatment may not be successful. Invisalign is suitable for orthodontic situations with mild to moderate spacing or crowding. There are certain situations for which Invisalign would not be recommended. A specialist consultation is the best way to find out if Invisalign is possible in your case.

Do I need teeth removed?

Our aim is to give you an ideal smile without losing any permanent teeth. Certain treatment techniques provide significant benefits for patients between ten to thirteen years old. Treatment during these growth stages can achieve results by avoiding removing teeth which is not possible once the face and jaw bones have finished growing. If your treatment plan requires you to have extractions these will be carried out by your own dentist.

For our adult patients, a new treatment of mini implant anchors now requires fewer extractions.

I heard about elastics. What are they and what do I have to do?

At some stage during your orthodontic treatment, it may be necessary to ask you to wear extra pieces to your appliance such as elastics. It is very important that you follow the instructions of your orthodontist precisely during this time. Elastics will need to be worn from the upper arch to the lower arch in treatment. If the elastics are not worn well then the anticipated correction will not be achieved.

How do I clean my teeth with a brace on? Will a brace damage my teeth?

It is now extremely important that you keep your teeth and appliance spotlessly clean. A normal adult-size medium toothbrush will remove all food and plaque from the teeth and appliance if used thoroughly at least twice a day (an electric toothbrush is also acceptable if you prefer). As an extra, an interspace brush will allow you to clean in between each tooth, bracket, and wire. We recommend that you use a fluoride mouthwash every day to help strengthen the enamel of the teeth, and use this at a different time of day to brushing. The mouthwash must contain fluoride, but not chlorhexidine as this will cause staining. Disclosing tablets are a useful way of checking if your brushing technique is good enough. All these items are available from chemists or most large supermarkets.

You also have to take extra care with the types of food and drink you consume. Try to eat just three meals a day. Avoid acid-containing drinks at all times and avoid all sugar between meals, otherwise you will get permanent marks on your teeth. Sugar and acid can be hidden in foods so read the labels. Any fizzy or tangy drinks contain acid. A brace will not damage your teeth if you follow our diet advice.

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