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- Used for: To correct crooked, crowded, to fix gaps and adjust overbite and underbite
- Treatment length: 2 months – 3 years
- Cost: £1,000 – £7,000 – Click here to compare costs in your area
This section answers
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialist area of dentistry concerned with straightening abnormal, crooked or misshaped teeth. Its main tool for realigning teeth is the brace which applies pressure to gradually move and reposition teeth over a period of time. People may require orthodontic treatment if their teeth or jaws do not develop in the normal way which can result in discomfort and is known to affect people’s confidence.
Braces are most commonly used to correct misaligned and crooked teeth, over and under bites and gaps in teeth. They work by gently applying pressure to the teeth over a period of time to move them in a desired direction. They are made from bands, wires and brackets which can be coloured to blend in with your teeth.
How long will I need to wear braces for?
The time required for braces to correct misaligned teeth varies a lot from person to person. It depends on the level of realignment required, the health of the teeth, gums and the supporting bone and the type of orthodontic treatment you opt for. Typically braces will need to remain in place for between 1 to 3 years (which is known as the active phase). After they come off you may need to wear a retainer at all times for a period and then while you sleep (the retention phase). Braces work easier on children and take longer to achieve the desired results for adults as their bone has stopped growing.
Several companies have introduced faster acting orthodontic systems in recent years such as Invasilign and Six Month Smiles. They act quickly by focusing on the more visible teeth. See the links on this page for more information on these systems.
Orthodontic treatment is available on the NHS for patients under 18 who possess a clear clinical need for treatment. However, there can be a long very waiting list for treatment. Privately orthodontics can cost from £1,500 to £8,000 depending on the type and degree of treatment required.
What are the benefits of orthodontic treatments?
Some of the benefits include:
- It improves the appearance of teeth and can give people extra confidence
- It can improve dental health as straight teeth are less prone to decay
- It is easier to clean and maintain proper dental hygiene if teeth are straight
- It is known to have positive effects on chewing, digesting and speaking
There has been a lot of development in the orthodontics over the last 20 years. A lot of commercial organisations have invested money to produce faster acting and less visible orthodontic systems. Some new and improved alternatives to conventional braces include:
- Inman Aligner is a removable appliance that applies continual pressure that quickly aligns crowed front teeth. It is fast acting and can correct minor crowding in as little as 8 weeks. However it is not suitable for all cases.
- Invisalign uses a series of almost undetectable aligners to straighten teeth over a period of time. The custom made aligners are removed every two weeks and replaced by new aligners as part of program. One of their main advantages is that they can be removed for eating and drinking.
- Six Month Smiles are a fast acting orthodontic brace system which focus on correcting the alignment of the front teeth only. They are fast acting and discreet and provide a cosmetic fix which is desirable for lots of people.
- Lingual Braces (Incognito Braces) work in the same way as conventional braces but are fitted to the back of your teeth instead of the front. The aesthetic results are far better as the braces are not evident to people you meet.
- Damon Braces are fixed cosmetic braces that reduce the friction and binding associated with conventional braces. Treatment times are shorter using damon braces and they are recognised as a comfortable form of treatment.