Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
After qualifying as a dentist, some people decide to specialise in a specific area of treatment. To become a Specialist Orthodontist requires an extra three years of training resulting in a Masters in Orthodontics (MOrth). Once qualified as an Orthodontist, most choose not to practice any general dentistry at all and concentrate purely on straightening teeth. This specialist training allows Orthodontists to carry out much more complex and comprehensive treatments and offer a wider range of brace options.
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications.
Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Twenty to twenty-five percent of orthodontic patients today are adults.
Braces use steady, gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule.
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for three to five days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity.
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleanings and dental checkups.
Orthodontic treatment is only available free of charge on the NHS for young people who are under 18 years of age and who have a clear clinical need for treatment. A rating system, known as the Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN), is used to assess the need and eligibility of individual cases.