Frequently Asked Questions in Orthodontics
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry specialising in the treatment of abnormalities in the development of the jaws and teeth.
An orthodontist is a dentist who has undergone further specialist training to achieve higher qualifications in orthodontics. Once specialist training has been completed successfully the clinician is registered by the General Dental Council as an orthodontic specialist.
What are the benefits of Orthodontics?
- Improved appearance of teeth, smile and face.
- Improved self-esteem and confidence.
- Improved function of teeth
- Improved ability to clean and look after teeth/gums.
At what age may I start treatment?
This depends on both the type of orthodontic problem and the stage of the patients dental development. Normally patients start treatment at about 12 years of age, once all the permanent teeth have erupted. However, there are some occasions when earlier orthodontic intervention is indicated, before the permanent dentition is fully matured. Generally your dentist will know if earlier referral is indicated or not.
Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?
Certainly not. We treat many adult patients and age is no barrier to improving your smile with braces.
How long will my treatment take?
This is variable depending on the complexity of the individual orthodontic problem. On average, most treatments take between 18-24 months. However, simple treatments may be completed within a few months and more complex cases can take up to 3 years to finish.
Once you have been assessed your orthodontist will be able to give you an accurate idea of how long your treatment will take.
Will I need teeth extracted?
This can only be decided once an orthodontist has carried out a full assessment of your face, teeth and jaw relationship. Although additional space is often required to straighten crooked teeth, recent advances in orthodontic techniques mean that teeth are extracted less frequently now than they were several years ago.
We will always offer non extraction treatment if at all possible and if it is in the best interests of the patient.
If extractions are necessary, they will be carried out by your own dentist.
How much will the treatment cost?
This depends on the treatment complexity and expected treatment length of each individual case. This can only be decided after the initial assessment and a detailed quote of the orthodontic fee will be given in writing after your first visit. Fees are usually in the range of £1,800 – £4,800 and interest free payment plans are available.
Children under the age of 18 with a demonstrable need for orthodontic care (i.e. IOTN of 3.6 and above) may have their treatment funded by the NHS in which case no fee is payable.
How do I get referred to you for an orthodontic assessment?
NHS referrals are only accepted by letter or email from your dentist. Please note that NHS referrals are not available for adults.
Private referrals can either come from your dentist or you can choose to self refer by contacting the practice directly. This may be by telephone or email. For your convenience, there is a link in the Contact Us section of this website to request an initial consultation.
What happens at my first visit?
The orthodontist will examine your mouth, jaws and face to assess the nature of the orthodontic problem. You may have X-rays and photographs taken.
Impressions or moulds of your teeth will be needed before treatment starts. The orthodontist will discuss treatment options with you but braces are never fitted at your first appointment.
Will treatment be painful?
Fitting a brace is not painful. However, a few days afterwards the teeth and gums will often ache slightly as the teeth start to move. It is also not uncommon for the inside of the lips and cheeks to get a little sore whilst you get used to the brace. This will soon settle down but you might get a little aching after the brace is adjusted from time to time.
Should I still see my dentist for check ups during my orthodontic treatment?
Yes, absolutely. The orthodontist is adjusting your braces and moving your teeth but it is very important that your dentist continues to monitor your overall dental health during treatment.
What constitutes an orthodontic emergency?
If you have a broken appliance that is causing severe discomfort, you may contact the practice for the out of hours emergency number.
In the event of any other breakages or concerns you should contact the practice during normal surgery hours.