Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that corrects irregularities of the teeth and jaws. As well as enhancing the appearance of teeth, there are a number of other benefits to straightening teeth. It can improve eating and speaking ability, as well as encouraging better oral hygiene as teeth become easier to clean in their straighter position.
At Chichester Dental Practice, we only do orthodontic treatment through referrals. If you wish to benefit from braces, your dentist will need to refer you to our specialist orthodontist.
These consist of metal brackets that are attached to the front surface of the teeth and thin metal wires held in place with elastics. Brackets are now generally smaller than they once were and they can also be customised with coloured elastics. More discreet fixed braces are also available featuring ceramic brackets and tooth coloured wires.
These are the most commonly used braces and are suitable for a wide range of conditions. They produce good results because they can move teeth very precisely.
- If your teeth are overcrowded, it may be necessary to remove one or more teeth prior to your brace fitting. If there is not enough space between teeth, bands can be inserted to create sufficient gaps.
- After your teeth have been cleaned and dried, brackets will be fixed in place with a strong dental adhesive. The wires are then attached to these brackets.
- The wire is shaped to encourage the teeth to move and, as it slowly returns to its original shape, it pulls the teeth with it. Initially, it moves the crown of the tooth and then goes on to move the root.
- 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 it may help to stick to a soft diet during this time.
Treatment times vary depending on the patient, but it normally takes 12-24 months for fixed braces to realign teeth. Following treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to keep your teeth in their new position.
Adult orthodontics is becoming increasingly more popular now that there are many discreet options for the treatment, including clear braces and lingual braces.
These fixed braces are different from traditional braces in that they use materials that are a lot more discreet and blend better with your teeth. Using either clear or ceramic brackets, these braces are hard to notice when you smile.
These braces are fixed to the inside (lingual) surface of the teeth. The process of straightening is similar to traditional braces with brackets and wires but they are kept well hidden.
Caring for braces
It is important to keep your teeth and braces clean during orthodontic treatment. Use interdental brushes to get to all those tricky to reach places, particularly around the brackets. Also, disclosing tablets can reveal leftover dental plaque, which you can then remove with your toothbrush. It’s a good idea to steer clear of sticky, chewy and sugary treats to reduce the risk of tooth decay.
After any type of orthodontic treatment, you will need to wear a retainer to keep your newly straightened teeth in line. Retainers can either be removable and custom-made to fit your teeth, or fixed at the back of your teeth. Removable retainers are worn at night. You’ll need to wear your retainer for as long as you want your smile to stay straight as teeth are prone to slipping back out of line if not stabilised.