Many of us are keen to straighten our teeth for any number of reasons.
Whether you are looking to straighten crooked teeth, close unsightly gaps or improve your bite, braces are the most commonly used, effective and safe way to move teeth-helping to improve the look, function and overall oral health of your mouth.
Braces are most commonly used in younger patients- as this is when bite and misalignments issues are first detected. During the younger years, braces are generally very effective and can help to treat issues quickly and with a high success rate. Orthodontic treatment in the younger years can also often help improve facial features including the jaw, lips and cheeks and any problems with speech.
Today, tooth straightening has become increasingly popular in adults who are also looking to improve the appearance of their teeth. Many never benefitted from orthodontic treatment in childhood or may have been put off by the thought of many years wearing noticeable and uncomfortable metal braces. Others have found that orthodontic treatment carried out in childhood has relapsed overtime.
Today, fixed metal braces are no longer the only way to beautiful, straight teeth. Instead there are a number of highly discreet systems. Some incorporate white or clear materials which blend in with the natural tooth colour while others are completely invisible- unless you choose to point them out.
If suitable, patients can opt for removable braces which offer the optimum in convenience and minimal encroachment on daily life. Likewise, many fixed braces now offer much shorter treatment times.
Overall, modern orthodontic treatments are more comfortable, faster working and cost effective than you might have ever imagined.
Which brace is for me?
Short term orthodontics
This is otherwise known as cosmetic orthodontics and is classes as short term as it often takes less than 6 months and many people can see results in 12 weeks or less. Short term orthodontics is designed to move only the front 6 to 8 teeth into a better position for either a good end result or further cosmetic treatment. Detailed assessment of the teeth is first required, as with any orthodontic process, to ensure the teeth, and you, are ready for the treatment.
Here at Cornhill Dental Practice we offer Quick Straight Teeth orthodontic system through our principle dentist, Jeremy Lyle. With Quick Straight teeth the majority of treatments are carried out with fixed tooth coloured ceramic brackets and white wire which gives better and quicker results when compared to removable options. However if more comprehensive orthodontic work is required to address your smile referral to a specialist will be required.
- The most commonly used type of brace.
- Fixed braces usually give the most effective results.
- Used to move many teeth in a very precise way.
- Suitable for a wide variety of corrections- mild or complex.
NHS fixed braces comprise of metal brackets which are attached directly to the surface of the teeth with a dental adhesive. Thin metal wires are inserted through the brackets and held in place with elastics. Over time this wire is bent and shaped to encourage your teeth to move. As the wire slowly returns to its original shape it pulls the teeth with it moving them slowly to the desired position. In the first year of treatment the crown of your tooth is moved first while in subsequent years, treatment focuses on the root- moving these so that they are in line.
For a more discreet type of fixed brace, lingual braces can be attached to the inside surfaces of the teeth, or ceramic brackets can be used as with Quick Straight Teeth.
- More suited to less complex issues.
- Generally only used on the top teeth.
- Often used on baby teeth or where a change in jaw growth is required.
In a removable brace a plastic arch fits into the top of the mouth with wires attached as required. As the wires hold the teeth, the plastic arch expands slowly overtime pushing teeth to their desired positions.
It is important that removable braces are worn for as long as possible during the day (at least 22 hours). You should only remove them for cleaning, eating, sports or playing musical instruments.
Treatment with braces:
Before treatment: Your teeth will be thoroughly checked for any decay and/or gum problems before fitting to make sure they are all strong and healthy.
It’s likely that x-rays, photos and impressions will be taken for use before and during your treatment.
If removal of a tooth or teeth is required this will be done prior to the fitting of your brace. Elastic separators may also be placed in advance to create space around your teeth.
During treatment: You will need to attend regular check-ups (at least every 4-8 weeks) so that your brace can be checked and adjusted. Regular check-ups will also help ensure that your treatment is on course to finish as and when expected.
After treatment: While every case is different, the average treatment time for fixed braces is between 2 and 3 years. When treatment is finished you will be invited along to a de-banding appointment where your fixed brace will be removed. After the brackets and wires are removed your teeth will be cleaned and polished.
Remember to wear your retainer for as long as advised in order to keep your smile looking great, keep your smile looking great, normally lifelong.
Other things to consider:
Fixed brace accessories:
Occasionally the need for alternative accessories such as face masks, headgear and biteplates is required in order to positively enhance your treatment. Always use these items as instructed in order to ensure your treatment progresses in the correct way.
Retaining your beautiful new smile:
Teeth continue to move after any orthodontic treatment- any adult with relapsed straightened teeth will agree with this! For this reason, it is always recommended you wear a retainer.
We will advise you on the type required and the length of time you will need it.
A removable appliance can be supplied for use at night or a fixed retainer can be fitted to the inside surface of your teeth as a suitable and discreet long-term option.
Do braces hurt?
A brace can feel a little uncomfortable at times but normal painkillers should help with this. You may find that a softer diet helps
Please get in contact with us if the pain continues or gets worse.
With fixed braces, the wires and brackets can rub slightly on the inside of your cheeks and lips. Dental wax can be provided to help.
Looking after your teeth when you have braces
It is really important to look after your teeth well during any orthodontic treatment. Particularly with fixed braces, there is the increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease as food can get trapped and missed when cleaning your teeth.
- Brush your teeth at least twice a day (or 45 minutes after every meal if possible). If you can’t brush teeth after a meal then ‘rinse’ out your mouth with water.
- Interdental brushes can be used to clean around the wires, brackets and elastics. A disclosing solution or tablets can help to highlight any missed plaque.
- Remember that very hard foods can damage wires. Avoid particularly hard or sticky items and cut fruit into small pieces so that it is easier to chew.
- Avoid chewing gum which can get stuck in wires.
- Avoid sugary food and drinks which can rot or discolour your teeth.
- Always attend your regular brace check-ups and dental appointments.