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Frequently Asked Questions

Why should I consider orthodontic treatment?

There are two main goals of orthodontic treatment, one is to improve your bite and the other is to straighten your smile. Having a healthy bite can make it easier for you to eat, chew and speak. This is beneficial for all, regardless of your age. Having a correct bite means that your natural teeth and any dental work you have done will also last longer and there will be less chance of teeth wearing away unevenly. A good bite can enhance your dental health and your overall health. Your smile is an essential part of who you are and how others see you. It makes up the most important part of our expressions and is used in communication and interaction during work, rest and play. A straight and confident smile can be a great personal investment that should last you a life time. Orthodontic treatment should be considered as “part of the bigger picture” and by working with your dentist, orthodontics helps to provide a comprehensive dental care for you or your child. Back to Top

What problems require an orthodontist’s opinion?

If you recognise any of these signs in your child or yourself, it might be time to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist.

  • Early or late loss of baby teeth
  • Difficulty chewing or biting
  • Mouth breathing
  • Sucking the thumb or fingers, or other oral habits
  • Crowded, misplaced or blocked-out teeth
  • Jaws that shift, make sounds, protrude or are set back
  • Speech difficulty
  • Biting the cheek or biting into the roof of the mouth
  • Protruding teeth
  • Teeth that meet in an abnormal way or don’t meet at all
  • Facial imbalance or asymmetry
  • Grinding or clenching of teeth
  • Inability to comfortably close lips
  • Spaces and gaps in between teeth
  • Tipped and teeth drifting over time

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What is an orthodontist?

All orthodontists are qualified dentists first. It takes at least another 3 years of post graduate training after dental school on an accredited orthodontic residency program to become an orthodontist. Special training is required to learn the skills to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopaedics). Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists limit their scope of work only to orthodontics since they are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances,” including braces, clear aligners, lingual braces, functional appliances and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Back to Top

How do dentists and orthodontists work together?

There are many dentists that who provide orthodontic treatment for their patients. However depending on the complexity of the case and the type of brace required, your dentist may still refer you on to an orthodontist. Orthodontists work very closely with dentists to provide a comprehensive dental health plan. Well aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Dentists and orthodontists also work together sometimes with other dental professionals such as an implantalogist, periodontist and oral surgeon to make an inter-disciplinary team. Orthodontics can help adults to improve bites, close spaces and make space for implants and bridges. Current cosmetic dentistry is focussed on minimally invasive dentistry, so moving teeth in many case can reduce the need for crowns, veneers and other dental procedures. Back to Top

Give me five reasons to see an orthodontist.

1. To have a healthy smile that makes you feel and look good. Straight teeth not only look good they work well together. A perfect smile goes with a perfect bite. A healthy mouth contributes to your overall good health and your appearance 2. To get the specialized treatment you deserve. Orthodontists have in-depth experience in orthodontic care. They use their knowledge and skills to help you get the best results possible by working closely with your dentist. 3. To get your bite right. Your bite is a complex biological system. Its components include up to 32 teeth, upper and lower jaws, gums and facial muscles. It is your orthodontist’s goal to give you a healthy bite where all these components fit in harmony for optimal performance and aesthetics. 4. To solve the problem. You may only see six crooked front teeth; however the orthodontist sees the cause of crooked teeth in three dimensions. Orthodontists use their education, experience and expertise to investigate the root of your orthodontic problem. 5. To recommend the right treatment for you. There are a lot of treatment options out there, from clear aligners to ceramic braces. Orthodontists take your unique needs and wishes into consideration when recommending the right treatment option for you. Back to Top

When should children get an orthodontic check-up?

It is recommended that your child get an orthodontic check-up no later than age 7. By this age, orthodontists can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. That’s important, because some orthodontic problems may be easier to correct if they’re found early. Most orthodontic patients begin active treatment between ages 9 and 14. Early treatment may give your orthodontist the chance to:

  • Guide jaw growth
  • Lower the risk of trauma to protruded front teeth
  • Correct harmful oral habits
  • Improve appearance
  • Guide permanent teeth into a more favourable position
  • Improve the way lips meet
  • Achieve results that may not be possible once the jaws have finished growing

Through an early orthodontic check-up, you’ll be giving your child the best opportunity for a healthy, beautiful smile. Because children differ in both physiological development and treatment needs, the orthodontist’s goal is to provide bespoke and appropriate treatment at the most appropriate time. Back to Top

Can adults benefit from orthodontic treatment?

Yes and orthodontic treatment can be provided to patients of any age. There has been a steady increase in the number of adult patients seeking orthodontic treatment over the years. About one in every five orthodontic patients today is over age 18. This is due to braces which are smaller, less visible and more comfortable. Having the option of fixed and removable braces, adults are finding treatment more appealing. Braces do not mean that you need to change your lifestyle; you will still be able to dine out, kiss and smile in photos. The British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry recommends orthodontics as the first choice of treatment for the non invasive smile makeovers. Orthodontics and whitening has replaced the need for excessive veneers and crowns in many cases. Orthodontic treatment is a partnership of the doctor and patient. The orthodontist uses braces that apply gentle pressure to move teeth into their proper positions. For the patient, orthodontic treatment always requires following the orthodontist’s instructions, keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments which are every 6 to 8 weeks and maintaining excellent oral hygiene to achieve the best results. You will also need to see your general dentist as recommended to continue your general dental care. Back to Top

What causes orthodontic problems?

Most orthodontic problems are inherited. Examples of these genetic problems are crowding, spacing, protrusion, extra or missing teeth and some jaw growth problems. Other malocclusions are acquired by thumb or finger-sucking, dental disease, accidents, the early or late loss of baby (primary) teeth. Back to Top

Why is treatment so important?

Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. A bad bite can also cause abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, difficulty in chewing and/or speaking, and excess stress on supporting bone and gum tissue. Without treatment, many problems become worse and can require additional dental care later in life. Back to Top

How long does treatment take?

Patients who need orthodontic treatment generally have 6 to 18 months of active treatment plus long term retention. Back to Top

How much does treatment cost?

The cost of orthodontic treatment will depend on many factors, including the severity of the problem, its complexity and length of treatment. We will be glad to discuss the cost of treatment and your financing options with you before treatment begins. Patients are finding that braces are more affordable today than ever. Back to Top

What happens once I book a consultation?

Congratulations! You have already started your journey to a healthier and beautiful smile. The following is a guide to how the aesthetic orthodontist conducts a consultation. The aim of the consultation is to have a good chat and find out what your main concerns are. It is the orthodontist’s job to listen carefully and then help you find a solution that suits you. If you have been referred from your dentist, the orthodontist has already been well informed of your dental status. However, talking and discussing with the patient one to one is the best way of starting. After having an informal chat, the orthodontist will do an orthodontic examination to check the health of your teeth, jaws, and facial muscles. There might be a need to take clinical photos and radiographs to help with the diagnosis procedure. All this information is put together in the consultation. The aim is to educate the patient about their dental health so they can make an informed decision of what is best for them. To do this, the orthodontist makes a list of the problems which could benefit from dental and orthodontic treatment. This list is carefully explained and reviewed with the patient to set up the agreed treatment goals. The different types of braces suitable for each case will discussed in further detail to make a bespoke treatment plan for you. You will receive a full orthodontic report which will also be sent to your dentist. This is to make sure that we are all working as a team and share the same treatment goals to provide you with a comprehensive dental care plan. Back to Top

Does Invisalign work as well as normal braces?

When visiting a qualified orthodontist, you will be presented with the treatment options that the clinician is comfortable providing. An orthodontist with a large amount of Invisalign experience,  will be confident in treating broader range of cases using Invisalign. Back to Top

Are all Invisalign doctors the same?

No. Both orthodontists and general dentists are able to provide Invisalign. However, only qualified orthodontists have completed specialist training in orthodontics. This is at least 3 years of further training after the basic Dentistry degree.  Additionally, the amount of Invisalign experience varies greatly by provider. Back to Top

What are the Clincheck mini movies and pictures?

These are demonstrations of how your teeth will move during the Invisalign treatment process. The images will show you a selection of before and after images and a mini movie detailing the tooth movements throughout your treatment. Back to Top

What are attachments

The attachments are required for some patients in order to help the teeth move in certain directions. They are a pink colour on the animation so that you can see them clearly, they will be tooth coloured in your mouth and will be attached to your teeth by the orthodontist. These attachments are individual to each patient. Back to Top

What is the interdental stripping?

Interdental stripping is used to create space between the teeth so that they can move efficiently. Measurements of the fattest or mis-shaped teeth allow us to select which teeth need to be modified. This is individual to each patient. Interdental stripping is best compared to a high polish as the gaps created cannot be seen visually and are only a fraction of a millimetre (0.1mm – 0.5mm maximum). It is not the same as drilling the teeth. Your treatment plan includes interdental stripping. Back to Top

Treatment length?

The number of Invisalign aligners for your treatment helps to predict the total length of your treatment. It has to take into account any Mid Course Corrections, Refinements or any other changes that may occur during the treatment. The estimated treatment length is 2-3 weeks x each aligner + allowance for any additional Refinement aligners. Back to Top

Why is there a triangular gap between my teeth?

Gaps between teeth can occur when two triangular shaped teeth lie next to each other; the gap is called a black triangle. It can also occur in patients who have pre-existing gum recession. If a black triangle (space) does appear it can be easily resolved by further movement of the teeth to close the gap or by a very small filing which your dentist can place to obscure the gap. Back to Top

Will my gums move during treatment?

The simulation you have been sent only shows the movement of the teeth, the gum is not simulated as it is not predictable. The programme is designed to demonstrate the alignment of the teeth (how straight your teeth will be at the end). I am sure you understand that it is very difficult to anticipate the reaction of any patients gum to these complex movements. The reassurance we can give you is that most patients do not have an adverse gum reaction to tooth movement. Back to Top

How frequently do I need to visit the orthodontist?

You will need to visit us at specific crucial times to carry out certain parts of your treatment within the surgery but on average appointments could be anywhere between 4-10 weeks intervals. Back to Top