A referral from your general dentist is required before you can be assessed for orthodontic treatment to be provided on the NHS. We aceept referral for children and young adults until the age of 18.
Orthodontics is all about the growth of the teeth, jaws and face. Orthodontic treatment is about making the best of your teeth and improving the harmony of your mouth and jaws. Once you can bite together correctly you can eat more comfortably and care for your teeth and gums more easily.,
The length of time that you will need to wear your braces will vary but the average is 18-24 months. Occasionally you may also need to have some teeth extracted for the braces to be fully effective. It is normal to expect some aching and tenderness in the gums as the teeth start to move, but usually wears off after a few days.
At the end of your treatment you are required to wear a removable or fixed retainer to hold your teeth in their new position.
Sometimes, a child’s teeth and jaw do not develop in the normal way. The medical term for teeth that are out of position is malocclusion. Some cases of malocclusion occur for no obvious reason. Other cases are the result of certain behaviors, such as frequent thumb sucking, or an injury to the teeth or bones of the face.
Many cases of malocclusion do not pose serious health concerns. However, if malocclusion is not corrected during the teenage years, it may affect the appearance of the teeth and the shape of the face. This could cause psychological and emotional problems, such as lack of self-confidence, anxiety and depression. More severe cases of malocclusion can affect the functioning ability of the teeth, mouth and jaw. For example, it can make it difficult for a person to eat food; cleaning the teeth may be harder and the teeth may be vulnerable to damage.
Some of the most common reasons why people are referred to an orthodontist for orthodontic treatment are listed below.
Protruding upper front teeth - one of the most common reasons for needing orthodontic treatment, particularly as the teeth may be more prone to damage during falls or contact sports.
Crowding - people with narrow jaws often lack enough space for their teeth, resulting in crowding.
Impacted teeth - the adult teeth come through in the wrong position.
Asymmetrical teeth - in some people, the centre of their upper and lower teeth do not match, giving their teeth an asymmetrical or crooked appearance.
Deep bite - the upper teeth cover the lower teeth too much.
Reverse bite - the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth.
Open bite - the upper and lower front teeth do not meet when the mouth is closed; an open bite often occurs as a result of prolonged thumb sucking.
An average orthodontic treatment takes 12 to 18 months for a child or teenager. Your orthodontist may give patients a approximate time length about how long their individual treatment will take, but don't hold them too tightly to this - the best possible treatment and a result which will last sometimes just takes time. Treatments can be shorter or longer than this though. Many factors are involved, and you will notice that there are some that you can influence to speed up your treatment:
If you don't come to see us regularly, we can't adjust your brace regularly! An unsupervised brace is very unlikely to work well, and may even cause damage. Patients who forget appointments or cancel them at short notice are likely to see their treatment slow down. Busy appointment books mean that it can be some time until a new appointment is available for you at a convenient time.
Broken braces can make a huge difference to the length of your treatment. Frequent damage at an important stage of treatment can set treatment time back a long time, months even. Telephone your orthodontic practice straight away if something breaks and ask for advice. During brace treatment you are required to avoid hard and sticky food. Food like apples will need to be cut up in to pieces and hard foods like crusty bread will need to be avoided. Sticky food likes chewing gum and chewy sweets will need to avoided too as these can get wrapped up in the brace causing breakages. The glue we use for fixed appliance is not very strong, this is because the brace needs to come off easily at the end of treatment.
Although removable braces can be taken in and out of your mouth for cleaning purposes they rely on wearing the brace full time. This brace it won't work if it is not in your mouth. It is easy to fool yourself about how much your brace is being worn, but if you really want to finish treatment quickly, it will need to be worn full time. For fixed appliances your orthodontist may ask you to wear elastic bands on the brace to help correct the way your teeth fit together, they will give your instruction on how to wear these elastic and when they should be changed.
A lot of braces and attachments may be hard to get used to at first, but stick with it its will become easier with time. Stopping and starting just means that it is harder to get used to your brace or attachment and treatment takes much longer. If you don't understand why you are being asked to do something, do ask. It is easier to put up with wearing something if you know why it is important.
Growth can affect the treatment route taken, if your growth pattern changes your treatment may have to change to adapt to this. Your orthodontist will keep your informed of any changes to your original treatment plan. Growth also affects the speed of treatment, patients treated when they are growing fast can see treatment completed surprisingly quickly.
Severe orthodontic problems usually take the longest to treat. If you have a problem bite (where the teeth do not fit together as they should) or teeth that have failed to erupt normally (come through the gum), your treatment may take longer than if the teeth just need straightening.