Orthodontics are considered part of corrective or aesthetic dental treatments. Orthodontics can indeed be used to correct potentially life threatening problems as well, so the categorization may be a bit misleading. However, usually the re-alignment of teeth - which orthodontics is primarily concerned with - is an aesthetic dental procedure meant to help the patient’s smile look better. As crooked and uneven teeth carry a social stigma with them, most of us prefer to have and look at a radiant smile full of orderly, even teeth. Also, even teeth are easier to clean and leave less space for bacteria and tartar to build up on, and thus even a relatively expensive orthodontic treatment can result in a lot of money being saved in the future, with potentially more invasive and expensive surgery or other dental treatments being evaded. Orthodontics can best be defined as that medical science which deals with the alignment of the teeth.
Usually orthodontics is thought of as a dental treatment only available to children and young adults whose face and jaw bones are still growing and whose teeth are not yet set. While it is true that children are the primary beneficiaries of orthodontic treatments, and their teeth can align much more quickly and easily, adults can also benefit from successful orthodontic treatments, indeed the re-alignment of teeth can be a good choice for anybody with crooked or uneven teeth. Many options are now available in adult orthodontics that are virtually invisible, or hidden, as the stigma associated with orthodontic braces is one of unprofessionalism and youth.
Our standard orthodontic metal braces are the type people usually picture when they think of braces. They are made out of a hypoallergenic metal with a wire in the middle attached to teeth via brackets that are adhered to the surface of the teeth. These braces can have rubber bands on the sides of the apparatus itself to ligate, or gently bend the wire into the desired position. There are also brackets that are self ligating, these are priced differently than our standard metal braces.
We also provide what are called aesthetic braces, which include the same sort of wire as used in our standard metallic braces, but the brackets are made of either tooth colored porcelain, or of a clear biocompatible plastic. Another type of aesthetic brace is distributed by the Invisalign® company. These are moulds of your teeth that are changed every six weeks, are absolutely see through, and can be removed whenever necessary. This option is quite expensive, but is reported to be quicker, much more comfortable, and causing less irritation than other methods of tooth re-alignment.
Also distributed by our London dental practice are lingual braces. These are braces that go on to the lingual side of the teeth, the side that faces the tongue. These are completely hidden by the teeth themselves and are thus essentially invisible. They have been reported to abrade the tongue and cheek lining, however.
We can also provide complex orthodontic headgear, and perform orthognathic surgery at our London dental practice as well.
Very important for orthodontics is the consultation session. During an orthodontic consultation session we assess the patient’s mouth and bone structure, and take an impression of their teeth.
After that a study model has to be built, which is a replica of the patient’s mouth and some of the bone material that those teeth are housed in. This is why the price of the orthodontic consultation is non-refundable and non-deductible, unlike consultation sessions for other dental treatments.
A panoramic x-ray must also be made, however we accept x-rays that are no older than 3 months. During the consultation session all of the options are discussed and a treatment plan that itemizes all of the treatments involved will be made.
Braces are usually worn between 6 and 12 months, but sometimes it may be necessary to wear orthodontic appliances for longer.
Retainers are generally given at the end of the treatments. It is very important to wear the retainer if you have been prescribed one, or all of the time spent in braces might have been for naught.