Orthodontic treatment involves moving teeth to a better position to improve the appearance, function and general health of your mouth. Various appliances are used to apply gentle forces and these can treat a range of issues including:
• Crooked or crowded teeth
• Overly spaced teeth
• Twisted teeth
• Protruding teeth
• Serious malocclusions (upper and lower teeth not biting together properly)
These consist of metal brackets, attached to the front surface of the teeth, and thin metal wires, held in place with elastics. More discreet fixed braces, with ceramic brackets and tooth coloured wires, are also available.
• If your teeth are overcrowded, it may be necessary to remove one or more teeth prior to having your brace fitted.
• The brackets will be fixed in place with a strong dental adhesive to which the wires are then attached.
• The memory wire initially moves the crown of the tooth and will then focus on the root.
• Regular 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 sticking to a soft diet may help.
Treatment times vary depending on the patient, but on average it takes 12-24 months for fixed braces to realign teeth.
Short term and more discreet orthodontic options
There are a number of alternatives to traditional braces that may be suitable for older patients who don’t want to wear noticeable appliances including:
Clear aligners – This treatment features a series of custom-made clear aligners that are changed every two weeks and gradually move teeth to their desired position. They are removable, so you can keep teeth and gums clean, and there is no restriction on what you can eat.
Lingual braces – these braces are fixed to the inside (lingual) surface of the teeth. The process of straightening is similar to traditional braces but they are kept well hidden.
Short term solutions
Faster acting fixed braces use advanced technology to quickly straighten just those front teeth that show when you smile and results can be seen in as little as six months.
Another short term solution is a custom-made aligner with a spring and thin bar that uses a combination of pushing and pulling to move the front teeth into an improved position in just 8-16 weeks.
After any type of orthodontic treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to keep your newly straightened teeth in line.