Teeth Straightening & clear braces

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How does teeth straightening & clear braces work?

It gives you confidence, and makes you feel, well, more you in some ways.

For many people, especially young people, straight teeth are part of that perfect smile. Yet, due to a lot of different factors, by the time a child has all their adult teeth, usually at around the age of 12, they might not be as straight as you might like.

This is where Orthodonticsa speciality of dentistry that deals with the correction of malpositioned teeth. come in. Orthodontics refers to all treatments which are used to correct crowded, wonky or protruding teeth, as well as making changes needed to your ‘bite’. Most commonly this is done using some form/type of braces.

Teeth that don’t sit straight in your mouth can be a problem for a few reasons. Wonky teeth can affect your bite, which means your teeth are more likely to be damaged. It also puts a strain on your jaw muscles. In extreme cases it can also affect the shape of your face.

Orthodontic options can be fitted for children once they’ve got all their adult teeth, usually around 12 years old. They can also be used on adults at any time, although the treatment options can be more limited for adults as their teeth are more settled and may not move as much during treatment.

The most common Orthodontic option is braces which are used to straighten teeth. In some cases, small pins are fitted temporarily to the jaw. Teeth might also be removed in order make room for others to move and straighten.

If you feel that you might need your teeth straightened, please make an appointment with your Dentist to discuss your options. They will be able to discuss your needs and also refer you to one of our Orthodontists.

What teeth straightening options are available?

The most common Orthodontic option is braces which are used to straighten teeth. In some cases, small pins are fitted temporarily to the jaw. Teeth might also be removed in order make room for others to move and straighten. Alternatively, treatments such as clear aligners are increasingly becoming more popular as more patients prefer an option that is discreet and more flexible to everyday life.

If you feel that you might need your teeth straightened, please make an appointment with your Dentist to discuss your options. They will be able to discuss your needs and refer you to one of our Orthodontists.

What are invisible braces / clear aligners?

It is important to note that invisible braces are, in fact, not invisible. They are, however, incredibly discreet and largely unnoticeable. Clear aligners are worn for up to 20 hours a day and are clear, removable plastic or ceramic trays that fit over your teeth. Clear aligners apply a small amount of pressure over time to help realign and straighten your teeth.

Clear aligners, also commonly known as an “invisible brace”, do not require brackets or wires and as such they are harder to spot. Furthermore, clear aligners can be removed temporarily for everyday tasks like eating, meaning they can prove more comfortable to the wearer.

Find out more about ClearCorrect clear aligners here and Invisalign clear aligners here.

What are the advantages of clear aligners?

First and foremost, clear aligners are clear. The clear plastic used in the aligner means that they easily fit over the teeth and are not as visible compared to the likes of traditional braces. The lack of wires or braces also makes clear aligners more discreet.
Secondly, whilst clear aligners do take longer to straighten teeth than compared to braces, they do provide some greater flexibility for everyday tasks. As mentioned above, clear aligners can be removed and put back into the mouth daily. For many patients this may give them more comfort and confidence.

NHS Orthodontic Treatment


The NHS does cover Orthodontic treatments, but not in all cases. The NHS pay the cost for the treatment of under 18s where there is a ‘clear health need’ for the treatment required. This means that where the condition of your teeth is affecting your dental health, orthodontic treatment is available. For more cosmetic cases, for example if you just want your teeth to be a bit straighter, it is unlikely that treatment will be paid for by the NHS.

Even when NHS treatment is available there is often a long waiting list. Many patients who can have their orthodontic treatment paid for by the NHS still choose Private Orthodonticsa speciality of dentistry that deals with the correction of malpositioned teeth. so that treatment can start straight away.

Private Orthodontics Treatment

We offer a range of Private Orthodontics, using top of the range braces and technology, to deliver the best treatment for you. Your Dentist will be happy to talk you through the options and recommend what’s best for you and your teeth.

Our Private Orthodontic treatments offer you a range of options, including braces which can make teeth straightening faster and more comfortable. There are also more options for braces that are not available through NHS treatment such as braces that are less noticeable or ones that could even be hidden entirely.

Your next steps would be to speak with your local Dentist to find out more about your personal circumstances and options, and see how we can best help you on your journey!

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Frequently asked questions

What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics refers to any treatment used to straighten teeth. Most commonly this is braces, but it can also include treatments which address conditions like cleft lip and palette and sleep apnoea.

Orthodontics can be used alongside other treatments to give you the smile that you are looking for.
Who can have Orthodontics?
Children can be fitted with several Orthodontic options once all their adult teeth have appeared, usually around 12 years old. Adults can have Orthodontic treatment at any time, but treatments can be more limited.
In order to have Orthodontic treatment you need to have good oral health overall – put in front of oral health, as treatments such as braces can cause tooth decay if they are not looked after properly.
Can I get braces on the NHS?
NHS treatment is free for under 18s. It covers any treatment that a child has a ‘clear health need’ for. This can include Orthodontics in some cases. These are assessed on a scale, which is defined by the British Orthodontics Society, from Grade 1 – perfect teeth – to Grade 5 for the worst cases. Only those cases in grades 4 and 5 will receive NHS treatment.

If you are not eligible for NHS treatment then it is worth thinking about Private Orthodontics.
How much does Private Orthodontics cost?
Costs will depend on the type of braces that you choose and what treatment is needed. Your Dentist will discuss the costs with you as part of your initial consultation. We offer interest free credit for treatments over £300 and you can find more information on our payment plans here.
How much do braces cost?
Children under the age of 18 can have orthodontic treatment on the NHS at no cost. Whilst there can be specific cases where adult orthodontic treatment may be covered by the NHS, it’s usually not available for free. Private orthodontic treatment often depends on the patient and their case but can usually cost around £2,500 and upwards.
How can you straighten teeth without braces?
In some instances, it may be possible to straighten teeth without the use of braces. For example, if your teeth are only overcrowded mildly, your orthodontist might advise using a retainer instead to rectify the issue. Furthermore, an undeveloped palate in a child (for example, where there isn’t likely to be enough space for future adult teeth to grow into properly) may be widened with the help of expanders rather than permanent braces.
As mentioned previously, using a clear aligner rather than a traditional brace may provide more discretion and flexibility to a patient, thereby providing greater confidence and comfort.
Do braces hurt?
There is usually minimal pain when braces are applied to teeth. Most patients feel some discomfort and need a little time to adjust to their braces as their teeth realign. For example, eating a meal might take a little longer at first and feel different than usual.

In cases where the discomfort caused by the braces is painful, it can be relieved with over-the-counter pain medication.
Do I need braces / aligners?
Most children never require a brace. However, if a dentist feels that a child’s teeth and oral health would be improved by braces, they will usually refer them to an orthodontist (a specialist in straightening teeth). The orthodontist can then examine the patient’s teeth and advise on the best course of action.

Braces are usually fitted to straighten crooked teeth, close gaps and/or resolve protruding teeth. Braces are also used to correct a patient’s bite, so that the top and bottom teeth meet when the mouth is closed.

Most children receive orthodontic treatment between the ages of 12-13, when the jaw and mouth are still growing. Receiving orthodontic treatment older than this or as an adult, is likely to be a slower process.
How long do braces last?
There is no standard set time that it takes for braces to work but in general, treatment usually takes from 18 months to 2 years to correct the issue. During the treatment, the patient will require regular appointments with the orthodontist to check on progress and make any minor adjustments to the brace.
How long does it take to put braces on?
For most braces, the treatment lasts about 1-2 hours. The treatment usually starts with the orthodontist cleaning and drying your teeth. He/she will then apply a special adhesive to your teeth to attach the brackets (these are usually small ceramic or metal squares). Once attached, the orthodontist will then place the “archwire” (the wire that connects the brackets and teeth together) and ensure its secure with elastic bands.
What’s the difference between braces and a retainer?
Braces are applied to straighten the teeth into a new position by gluing brackets to your teeth and a wire attached in order to apply the necessary pressure to straighten your teeth.

A retainer is often used after braces have been taken off to ensure that your teeth remain position and prevent them from moving back to where they were before treatment. Where braces are not required to straighten teeth, a retainer may be an alternate option used.

Whilst braces are glued to your teeth, retainers are removable. In some instances, you might only need to wear your retainer at night.
Can you use an electric toothbrush with braces?
Yes. An electric toothbrush can be used safely with braces. Using an electric toothbrush may make it easier to brush ‘hard-to-get-to’ areas under the wires where food can get trapped.
How old do you have to be to get braces?
Both adults and children can have braces to correct crooked or unstraight teeth.

For children, most dentists advise that they get braces at around 12-13 years old as at this age, the jaw and mouth are still growing and is therefore more conducive for teeth straightening.

For adults, the results may take a little longer than children as it may require more time to correct the issue.
What can you eat with braces?
For the most part, patients with braces can continuing eating normally. However, your orthodontist will advise you to avoid certain foods that can get stuck in between brackets or potentially damage your braces, such as:
  • Nuts
  • Ice
  • Popcorn
  • Hard sweets
  • Hard crackers
  • Chewy food / sweets
  • Pizza crusts
  • Other hard or particularly crunchy foods
Your orthodontist is also likely to advise against drinking too much sugary drinks such as fizzy pop or energy drinks. These drinks create plaque, which could be harder to remove from your teeth with braces on.

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