is orthodontic treatment?
treatment is a way of straightening
or moving teeth, to improve the
appearance of the teeth and how
they work. It can also help to
look after the long-term health
of the teeth, gums and jaw joints,
by spreading the biting pressure
over all the teeth. Top
Why should I
have orthodontic treatment?
have crowded or crooked teeth.
Orthodontic treatment will straighten
the teeth or move them into a better
position. This can not only improve
their appearance but also the way
the teeth bite together, while
also making them easier to clean.
patients the upper front teeth
can stick out and look unsightly.
These ‘prominent’ teeth
are more likely to be damaged, but orthodontic treatment can move them back
into line. In others, the way the upper and lower jaws meet can cause teeth
to look unsightly and lead to an incorrect bite. Orthodontic treatment may
be able to correct both.
When the teeth don’t meet correctly, this can put strain on the muscles
of the jaw, causing jaw and joint problems and in some cases headaches. Orthodontic
treatment can help you to bite more evenly and reduce the strain. Top
What is a removable
Simple treatment may be
carried out with a removable appliance
(a plate that can be taken out to
be cleaned). It has delicate wires
and springs attached, which move
the teeth using gentle pressure. Top
What is a functional
It is sometimes possible
to change the way the jaws grow,
using orthodontic appliances. These
functional appliances use the power
of your jaw muscles and can help
with certain types of problem.Top
What is a fixed
Often, teeth need to be
guided more accurately than they
can be using a removable plate. So
fixed appliances are used. These
have brackets and bands temporarily
stuck to the teeth. A flexible wire
joins all the brackets and allows
the teeth to be moved. It is not
possible for the patient to take
the appliance out and so it is called
a fixed appliance. Top
tough, clear plastic ‘aligners’ (moulds)
that are used to straighten teeth.
Several sets of specially moulded,
slightly different aligners are
made for each patient. Each
set is worn for four weeks
before being replaced with
the next one. They are made
from clear plastic, so they
are nearly invisible. This
means that no one need know
you are straightening your
The aligners should be worn for 22 to 23 hours a day for the best results.
They can be easily removed for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing. You
need to have all your adult teeth before you can have this treatment. Top
Even after retention,
it is normal for minor tooth movements
to happen throughout life, so no
permanent guarantee can be given.
However, it is unusual for teeth
to alter enough to need further treatment.
much does it cost?
You can have orthodontic treatment
under the National Health
Service or as a private patient.
National Health treatment
is free for children up to
the age of 18. Patients aged
18 and over will be seen on
a Private basis only.
Under 18's will only be entitled
to treatment under the NHS
if your condition is serious.
Minor problems may be classed
as cosmetic and would therefore
be charged privately.
If you decide to have treatment
privately, the orthodontist
will be able to estimate the
cost of your treatment and
give you details. It is always
a good idea to discuss the
cost fully before treatment
and, if necessary, have the
cost confirmed in writing to avoid any confusion. Top
How do I care
for my brace and teeth?
is important to continue to have
your teeth checked by your dentist
while having orthodontic treatment.
You also need to take extra care
of your teeth and mouth:
your teeth carefully
every day, including between
your teeth where you can. Appliances
are delicate and you need to
make sure you clean them carefully
so that they do not break. Your
dentist or hygienist will be
able to show you the special
techniques to use depending
on the appliance you are wearing.
down on how often you
have sugary foods and drinks.
Avoid ‘snacking’ on
foods or drinks containing sugars, and on fizzy drinks.
Also, sticky and hard foods
may damage the delicate
your teeth twice a day
with fluoride toothpaste
and, if necessary, use a
mouthwash. Your dentist or
hygienist may recommend a
fluoride toothpaste or application
for you to use. Look for
a product carrying the British
Dental Health Foundation’s
This shows that
the product has been checked
by a panel of experts and
does what it says
on the packet.