Frequently asked questions

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialist area of dentistry. Orthodontic treatments help move teeth that are crooked or that do not fit together right. This improves the appearance of your teeth and can also help keep your mouth healthy. Crooked teeth can be harder to clean, putting you at risk for cavities and gum disease.

What is an orthodontic specialist?

In addition to completing a five year degree to become a fully qualified dentist, an orthodontic specialist goes on to complete a three-year full-time university and hospital postgraduate orthodontic training programme, to become an orthodontic specialist. Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. Their name appears on the General Dental Council’s specialist register.

When can a child begin orthodontics?

Most children begin treatment around the age of 12 or 13, once all their permanent teeth have erupted. In a few instances treatment is better started early and your dentist may want to make an earlier referral.

Can adults have orthodontics?

Adult orthodontic treatment has become very popular with age no longer being an issue. Multiple treatment options are now available to serve the requirements particular to adults such as aesthetic appearance.

How do I know if I need orthodontic treatment?

If your teeth are crowded, crooked, twisted or you have big gaps between them, you could benefit from orthodontic treatment. Similarly, if you have bite issues, such as an under, over or crossbite, orthodontic treatment could resolve this. You don’t need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist.

What can I expect on my first visit?

At your initial visit, we'll determine a course of treatment and provide an estimate of the treatment costs. If you decide you would like to move forward, we can take the required records including X-rays, and make an appointment to proceed with your orthodontic care. 

How long will my treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance.

Does orthodontic treatment hurt?

No, orthodontic treatment doesn’t hurt, although at various stages throughout your treatment you may experience some discomfort. This is usually around the time you have your braces tightened or you are given your next set of aligners. This discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol.

Do I need to visit my dentists while having treatment?

Yes, we recommend you continue to see your dentist for your regular checkups while receiving orthodontic treatment. This will help to ensure your teeth remain clean and healthy throughout treatment.

What alternatives are there to ‘traditional’ braces?

Orthodontics has never been a more exciting field to work in. These days, there are a wide range of treatment options beyond traditional metal fixed braces. From clear aligners to tooth-coloured and clear fixed braces, today’s options are discreet, comfortable and fast-acting.

Will I need to wear a retainer after my brace is removed?

Yes; it is very important you wear retainers. If you don’t wear retainers your teeth will try to return to their original position. Your orthodontist will advise you how often and for how long you need to wear retainers.

This page was last updated on the 30th of October 2015