Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects irregularities of the teeth and jaws. Treatment involves using a variety of appliances to move teeth to a better position by applying gentle forces.
As well as enhancing the appearance of teeth, there are a number of other benefits to receiving orthodontic treatment. It can improve eating and speaking ability, as well as encouraging better oral hygiene as teeth become easier to clean in their straighter position.
Braces can be used to successfully to treat a range of issues from crooked, crowded, overly spaced and twisted teeth to more serious malocclusions (upper and lower teeth not biting together properly) and misalignments.
These consist of metal brackets that are attached to the front surface of the teeth and thin metal wires held in place with elastics. Brackets are now generally smaller than they once were and they can also be customised with coloured elastics. More discreet fixed braces are also available featuring ceramic brackets and tooth coloured wires.
These are the most commonly used braces and are suitable for a wide range of conditions. They produce good results because they can move teeth very precisely.
• If your teeth are overcrowded, it may be necessary to remove one or more teeth prior to your brace fitting. If there is not enough space between teeth, bands can be inserted to create sufficient gaps.
• After your teeth have been cleaned and dried, brackets will be fixed in place with a strong dental adhesive. The wires are then attached to these brackets.
• The wire is shaped to encourage the teeth to move and, as it slowly returns to its original shape, it pulls the teeth with it. Initially, it moves the crown of the tooth and then goes on to move the root.
• Adjustments will be needed every 4-6 weeks.
Some people can experience a little discomfort during orthodontic treatment, particularly in the first few days after fitting or following a tightening appointment. Paracetamol or ibuprofen can ease any soreness and it may help to stick to a soft diet during this time.
Treatment times vary depending on the patient, but it normally takes 12-24 months for fixed braces to realign teeth. Following treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in their new position.
Short term and more discreet orthodontic options
Orthodontic treatment is most commonly given to children, but it has become very popular with adults who are unhappy with their misaligned teeth. As well as fixed braces with ceramic brackets, there are a number of alternatives to traditional braces for older patients who may be unwilling to have very noticeable orthodontic treatment. These include:
We’ll be pleased to discuss your needs with a simple, no obligation consultation. Call us today on 020 8940 3444 or e-mail us on: [email protected] for further information.