Orthodontics is a specialist form of dentistry which aims to straighten teeth and align jaws to produce a healthier bite and a perfect smile. Most people only experience orthodontics once in their life so the process is typically new and also, like a lot of dentistry, it is full of specific dental language and can often be a little confusing!
We've therefore created this Frequently Asked Questions page to try and help with commonly asked questions (and without jargon) and hope you find it helpful? However, if you don't see an answer to your question below, do please contact us and ask - we'll be pleased to help!
Orthodontics is an arm of dentistry that focuses specifically on correcting teeth and jaw irregularities and improving their function. This usually involves fitting an orthodontic appliance to ensure alignment of the teeth.
All orthodontists are dentists who have embarked on 2 to 3 years of postgraduate study to specialise in orthodontics. Your general dentist will help you to maintain good oral hygiene, carry out fillings etc but will usually refer you to an orthodontist for more substantial work, like the fitting of braces.
Your orthodontist should always ask you about your concerns, outline the different treatment options and their risks and benefits, explain about the different types of appliances and an estimate of how long the treatment should take.
They should also explain about retainers and how likely the teeth are to stay in their new position at the end of treatment and give you a written Treatment Plan and cost estimate.
The orthodontist and their team will ask about what you are hoping to achieve and then will examine your mouth to assess your current condition and any problems. You may need to have X-rays and/or photographs taken. The orthodontist will then want to discuss the options for treatment with you and agree how to proceed. Digital scans or sometimes impressions or "moulds" of your teeth may also be needed.
It is very unlikely that you would have braces fitted at the first appointment.
A good orthodontist will discuss all the possible types of brace that can be used for your problem and explain each of these options together with the costs, risks and benefits of each one. The brace choice is therefore HOW the orthodontist is proposing meeting your needs and achieving the best outcome from your current condition or problem.
There are also different options for WHAT can be improved such as simple straightening or full bite correction. You should be wary if you are only offered one option or one type of brace. It is always advisable to ask the orthodontist how much training they have had in orthodontics and the brace system being suggested.
We appreciate that the cost of treatment is an important consideration. This is completely dependent on the type of treatment you have. Different types of braces are more expensive and some patients will need longer treatment than others. However, as a guide, you could expect to pay anywhere between £5,000 and £8,000 for private orthodontic treatment.
We very much appreciate that investing in your new smile is an important decision and we are pleased to provide finance payment facilities to help you spread the cost. We understand that the financial considerations can sometimes be an obstacle to you having the treatment you want, which is why we offer a range of finance options including interest-free plans. These finance options are designed to help you get the treatment you want in the most convenient manner possible. If you would like to understand more about these options then please get in touch.
No, orthodontic treatment doesn’t hurt, although at various stages throughout your treatment you may experience some discomfort. This is usually around the time you have your braces tightened or you are given your next set of aligners. This discomfort can be effectively treated with pain relief such as paracetamol.
Every course of orthodontic treatment needs to be tailored to the needs of the individual patient. In some patients, adults as well as young people, extractions are necessary to align crowded teeth or correct the bite.
Much depends on the problem which needs correcting. A decision can only be reached on the basis of a detailed assessment by your orthodontist. For some patients, in order to get the best appearance and long-term stable result, extractions may be part of your Treatment Plan.
No. The need for anything as fundamental as an extraction depends entirely upon your wishes for the outcome of treatment and whether your current condition means this is necessary. Any claims that treatment can always be completed with or without extractions, especially before an assessment has been completed, should be regarded with considerable caution.