Getting started

Deciding to have braces as an adult is a big decision for many people. Learn more about your options, treatment choices, finding an orthodontist and what to expect whilst undertaking treatment

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Do you want to get braces?

If you are seriously thinking about getting braces, congratulations, it’s a decision you won’t regret. But where do you start? Firstly you need to know that General Dental Practitioners (GDP’s) can provide orthodontic treatment within the scope of their expertise alongside all the other treatments they provide. Orthodontists are specialist dentists who have had three years additional training and often concentrate on just providing orthodontic treatment. You are likely to receive a more comprehensive assessment and more options from an orthodontist than a GDP.

There are many different types of braces available but more importantly, it is the skill of the practitioner rather than the type of brace that determines the experience you will have whilst undertaking treatment and the final outcome. It is worthwhile making appointments with several practices before making your final decision to get a complete understanding of the options available to you. As an adult, you do not need to be referred by your dentist to an orthodontist, you can simply contact them and arrange an initial appointment.

British Orthodontic Society

If you view nothing else before getting braces, please watch this great video from the British Orthodontic Society. They have also produced a patient leaflet explaining your choices and what you need to consider before getting braces.  The leaflet can be viewed here

Think about

Wearing braces

Every type of brace is different, each with their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Keep your options open until you have a better understanding of your own treatment goals

Invisible braces

The most discreet brace is a lingual brace. All other braces are more noticable but don’t worry, no one really cares that you have braces. Aligners are almost invisible but buttons on your front teeth make them more visible

Brackets

I have found no evidence that one particular bracket, self ligating or not, is any better than any other. It comes down to choice and the skill of the orthodontist providing your treatment

Retainers

Your teeth will likely move again if you do not wear retainers after treatment. If you don’t want to wear retainers, think seriously about whether you should be undertaking treatment

Discomfort

There will be an element of soreness when moving teeth irrespective of what type of brace you have. This tends to dissappear quickly and for most of the time you completely forget that you have braces

Faster treatment

We are all different and teeth move at their own speed. Its impossible to guarantee faster treatment, just different outcomes. I’ve found no evidence that one system works any faster than another. Don’t be misled by clever marketing

Dentists and Orthodontists

Dentists can provide orthodontic treatment within the scope of their expertise. Orthodontists are dentists who have had specialist training in orthodontics and often concentrate just on providing orthodontic treatment

Marketing

There is some very clever marketing out there, be sure to check the claims made and make your decision based on available evidence and the recommendation of someone you trust

Treatment planning

Think carefully about DIY brace options, it takes time and skill to carefully plan safe orthodontic treatment and these planning and records taking appointments are essential

Oral health

With the exception of removable aligners, you will find keeping your teeth clean more of a challenge with braces. Excellent oral health is required throughout treatment and additional visits to your dentist or hygienist are a good idea

Getting started

Every adult patient I have spoken to has said that their decision to get braces was one of the best decisions they have made. Do your research and speak to other patients.

Orthodontists

Treatment provided by orthodontists is generally not more expensive and won’t take longer. Make sure you are comparing similar treatments and similar outcomes

Cost

Like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Orthodontics is not cheap but an investment in your future oral health

Dental teams

You will be frequently visiting a practice for the duration of your treatment and getting to know the whole team really well. Make sure you are completely comfortable with the practice

Short term orthodontics

Treatments marketed as being able to give you a perfect smile in just a few months may not address underlying issues and often just focus on straightening your front teeth. Think about the long term outcomes

Blog posts

ClearCorrect Aligners

ClearCorrect is a US-based manufacturer of aligners who provide aligners to UK based patients. In this really great video, the company explains how aligners work, what actually makes the teeth move and why it is important to wear your aligners for the required number...

Top ten ‘getting started’ braces tips

If you are thinking about getting braces, congratulations, it's something you won't regret. To get you started, here are my top ten 'getting started' braces tips. 1. Take some time to do your research. There are many different treatment options provided by a large...

A new braces blog from Ruth

I first discovered Ruth a month or so ago when we chatted via a Twitter weekly online meet-up for bloggers. She lives up in my part of the world (the far north of Scotland) although is still around 3 hours away out to the east in Aberdeen. Ruth only recently started...

How much do braces cost?

Probably one of the most commonly asked orthodontic questions on the internet is 'how much do braces cost?' so in this post, I'm taking a look at the direct and indirect cost of getting braces. Most dental and orthodontic practices with an up to date website, have a...

Do braces affect speech?

One of my readers posed the great question, 'do braces affect speech' and it's one I don't think I've covered in much detail before. I've written about speaking with retainers and have briefly mentioned speech in several other related posts but as I'm sure this is...

Self ligating vs conventional brackets

In this short video, you can see the difference between self-ligating and conventional brackets. There is much debate about whether self-ligating brackets offer faster or more comfortable treatment so this is something you will need to discuss with your orthodontist....

What are self-ligating brackets?

In this short video from 3M, you can see what a self-ligating bracket is. There is much debate about the merits of self-ligating brackets and whether they offer faster or more comfortable orthodontic treatment but from a patient perspective, the brackets can appear to...

Number of adults seeking treatment continues to rise

New figures released by The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) to coincide with National Smile Month, which starts on 14th May 2018, reveals the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK continues to rise. The survey, conducted in March 2018 among BOS...

Orthodontic special offers

In just about every other industry, you will find seasonal or product special offers and orthodontics is no exception. Every January, a time when we all like to make some New Year resolutions that we may or may not stick to, quite a few orthodontic practices promote...

Ugly metal braces?

A while ago, I saw a tweet from one orthodontic practice who used the words 'ugly metal braces'. As a former brace wearer who chose to have metal brackets rather than other options, I took exception to this and challenged the wording used. The tweet quickly...

An Invisalign blog from Lucie

Lucie has recently started getting her teeth straightened with Invisalign. She previously looked at DIY braces with Smile Direct and after reading some reviews, decided to not pursue this option and to visit a dentist to explore getting her teeth straightened with...

iTero Scanning

Whilst attending the recent BDIA dental show in Birmingham, Invisalign kindly invited to try the iTero intraoral scanner and I can assure you, it's not as easy as it looks! Once comfortably seated behind the 'phantom head' I was instructed to start scanning the...

Orthodontic technology is fascinating

I was recently invited by my orthodontist to have my teeth scanned to keep a digital record on file so that retainers can be manufactured in the future without the need to undergo more alginate impressions. This will also mean that if I lose my retainers and can't get...

Self ligating brackets

If you are thinking about getting braces and have been doing your research you may have seen that some braces systems are 'self-ligating'. This means that the arch wire is held on with a clever mechanism in the bracket negating the need for elastic 'O' rings. There...

Faster orthodontic treatment

I'm sure one of the most pressing questions adult patients have at the start of orthodontic treatment is 'how long will my treatment take?' This may very well be a deciding factor in assessing whether to undertake full orthodontic treatment or a short term orthodontic...

Orthodontic X-Rays – by Dr. Paroo Mistry – Part 2

In part two of her article, Dr Paroo Mistry looks at two other X-Rays that may be taken when planning orthodontic treatment. Part one can be viewed here Upper Standard Occlusal This X-ray is taken with the same X-ray machine used to take bitewings and periapicals,...

How lingual braces are fitted

In this informative video produced by 3M and Dr Steffen Decker, you can see all the steps involved in the indirect bonding of lower lingual Incognito braces. https://youtu.be/NcsVgWs0mlo

Orthodontic X-Rays – by Dr. Paroo Mistry – Part 1

Why do we take X-rays when planning orthodontic treatment? There are three main X-rays that I take when planning orthodontic treatment for my patients. These are the Dentopantomogram (DPT or OPG), Lateral Cephalogram (Lateral Ceph) and the Upper Standard Occlusal...

Finding an orthodontist

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) have a feature on their website to help you find an orthodontist. This can be useful when you are either looking for a specific orthodontist that you may have heard about or been recommended to you or to find out about practices...

Facial profiles following orthodontic extractions

In a post yesterday I commented that one issue that may influence a decision to get braces might be the need for extractions prior to starting treatment. This concern may be around the procedure, pain afterwards or that the loss of teeth may lead to profile changes....

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