Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is orthodontics?
    Orthodontics is the field of dentistry concerned with the relationship between the teeth, face and jaws and the correction of both functional and cosmetic issues relating to these.
    It can be of benefit in many cases, such as where crowding or spacing of the teeth exists or teeth are prominent, where teeth are absent or the jaws in the incorrect position.
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  2. At what age is treatment carried out?
    Most patients are treated in their teenage years once all of the adult teeth are present. However, even patients as young as 7-8 years of age may benefit from earlier interceptive treatment to simplify treatment at a later stage.
    It is never too late to have braces.  Provided that your teeth, gums and bone levels are healthy there is no upper age limit.
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  3. Will it hurt?
    Some discomfort should be expected for a few days after the brace has been fitted, usually for about 3-5 days.
    During this initial period patients may find a soft diet and protective orthodontic wax useful.  Also some patients may require painkillers.
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  4. How long will treatment take?
    Treatment duration will vary depending on the difficulty of the case and patient co-operation.
    For fixed braces this is generally in the region of 12-24 months, provided breakages are kept to a minimum, and for functional appliances 9-12 months.
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  5. How often will I need to be seen?
    Regular attendance every 6-8 weeks is particularly important in ensuring treatment runs smoothly when fixed or removable braces are being worn.  Appointment intervals are longer if you are being treated with a clear removable brace and can be upto 4-5 months.
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  6. How do I care for my braces and teeth during treatment?
    Good oral hygiene is extremely important throughout treatment in order damage such as tooth decay and decalcification and gum disease.
    All patients must brush twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and interdental toothbrushes should be used to aid cleaning of fixed braces around the brackets and underneath the wire.  A fluoride mouthwash is also recommended for most patients.
    Removable braces are kept clean by brushing them with a toothbrush and toothpaste.
    In order to minimize breakages of appliances, which extends the duration of treatment, hard or sticky food should be avoided and sugary foods and drinks should be kept to a minimum.
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  7. What happens if my brace breaks?
    When wearing a fixed brace the brackets may sometimes become loose.  This generally does not cause any discomfort and can be dealt with at the next appointment.  Should the break result in any pain, you should contact the practice for an earlier appointment.  Orthodontic wax may be of help in the mean time.
    If a removable or functional appliance breaks, make an appointment to ensure that the appliance is safe to wear, and keep it out of the mouth until then.
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  8. What happens when the brace is removed?
    Once orthodontic treatment has been completed, you will be required to wear retainers.  These may be fixed to the teeth or removable and are designed to keep your teeth straight.  They should be worn fulltime for 3 months, then night times only on a long-term basis.
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  9. What will happen at my first visit?
    At the initial consultation you will have an opportunity to express your concerns about your teeth and what goals you hope to achieve through orthodontic treatment. 
    Then, following an examination, a discussion regarding the most appropriate treatment options to address your needs will take place, with an aim to clarify any queries you may have.
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  10. How much will braces cost?
    The price for orthodontic treatment will depend on both the complexity of the case and the type of brace used.
    For more information see Treatment Options
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  11. How soon can I start treatment?
    Once you have decided that you would like to proceed with treatment, an appointment will be arranged to obtain complete records and discuss, in depth, the benefits and risks of treatment, as well as the care of your braces throughout treatment.
    The braces can then be fitted at the next appointment, which may be as little as 4-6 weeks from the initial consultation.
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  12. What is Invisalign?
    Invisalign is a series of clear removable aligners custom-made for your mouth.
    Each aligner is worn for 2-3 weeks, ideally for approximately 20 hours a day.
    They are kept clean by brushing them with a clean toothbrush and washing-up detergent.
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  13. What is lingual orthodontics?
    Traditional braces are placed on the front surface of teeth and are visible.
    Lingual braces, however, are completely invisible as they are fixed to the inside surfaces of the teeth.
    They work in much the same way as traditional fixed appliances, a combimation of brackets and wires to starighten teeth, and will require regular adjustments.
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Northwoord Orthodontist


Smiles Better - London orthodontics


The Dental Design Studio, 1 Murray Road, Northwood, HA6 2YP

Telephone: 01923 836334 Email:


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