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Orthodontics

Orthodontics

Orthodontic treatment is a way of straightening or moving teeth, to improve the appearance of the teeth and how they work. It can also help to look after the long-term health of your teeth, gums and jaw joints, by spreading the biting pressure over all your teeth.

Why should I have orthodontic treatment?

Many people have crowded or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment will straighten the teeth or move them into a better position. This can improve their appearance and the way the teeth bite together, while also making them easier to clean.

When the teeth don’t meet correctly, this can put strain on the muscles of the jaw, causing jaw and joint problems and sometimes headaches. Orthodontic treatment can help you to bite more evenly and reduce the strain.

At what age should I have orthodontic treatment?

The best time is generally during childhood, but adults can have orthodontic treatment too – and more and more are doing so. Age is less important than having the right number of teeth. In children it may be necessary to wait for enough teeth to come through before starting treatment.

What does it involve?

The most important thing is to have a full examination. This will usually involve looking at your teeth, taking x-rays and making plaster models of your teeth. Your dentist will then discuss what treatment is possible. Once you are sure you want to go ahead, the treatment can start as soon as you have enough permanent teeth.

What is a fixed brace?

Often, teeth need to be guided more accurately than they can be using a removable brace. So a fixed brace is used. This has brackets and bands which are temporarily stuck to the teeth. A flexible wire joins all the brackets and allows the teeth to be moved. You can’t take the appliance out yourself, so it is called a fixed appliance. Fixed braces are not always made of metal. Plastic and ceramic can be used, especially for adults.

What are ‘invisible braces’?

They are tough, clear plastic ‘aligners’ (moulds) that are used to straighten teeth. Several sets of specially moulded, slightly different aligners are made for each patient. Each set is worn for two weeks before being replaced with the next one. They are made from clear plastic, so they are nearly invisible. This means that no one need know you are straightening your teeth.

The aligners should be worn for 22 to 23 hours a day for the best results. They can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing, and for cleaning in between your teeth. You need to have all your adult teeth before you can have this treatment.

How long will it take?

The length of treatment depends on how severe the problem is, and it may take anything from a few months to two-and-a-half years. Most people can be treated in one to two years.

How do I go about getting orthodontic treatment?

The first thing to do is to visit us for your free consultation and get your dentist advice. Your dentist will know whether you need treatment and will make the necessary arrangements.