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

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


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


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


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


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.


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


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

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.

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....

Social perceptions of adults wearing orthodontic appliances

I have come across some really interesting research into the social perceptions of adults wearing orthodontic appliances that I would like to share with you. Firstly apologies in advance for any inadvertent mishap through incorrect referencing to the authors or anyone...

Deciding on getting braces?

During a conversation with an orthodontist earlier today, we were discussing some factors that might influence a new patient to pursue treatment. It was suggested that new patients like to consider three main things; length of treatment, visibility of the brace and...

Will you be getting braces in 2017?

I wonder how many people across the country have woken up this morning and have been talking about their new year resolutions? Plans to eat healthier, visit the gym more frequently, spend quality time with family and friends and on activities they enjoy and maybe...

New IOTN app

The British Orthodontic Society held a press launch at their recent annual conference in Brighton for their new IOTN app called 'Easy IOTN'.  IOTN stands for the 'Index of Treatment Need' and the app is designed to provide a simple tool for dentists to use to...

London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic

I was delighted to receive an invitation to spend some time at the well respected London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic in Wimple Street last week. During my time there, I met the team, experienced some amazing scanning technology and spent time talking to Dr. Asif Chatoo...

Scanning vs Impressions

I think I can confidently say that having alginate impressions has been my least favourite part of undergoing adult orthodontics so I was extremely interested in taking up a kind offer from Dr. Asif Chatoo at the London Lingual Orthodontic Clinic to try their scanning...

More UK adults are seeking orthodontic treatment

In a survey conducted by the British Orthodontic Society in June 2016, 75% of dental practices who responded to the survey reported an increase in adults seeking orthodontic treatment.  A key driver for this increase was identified as a heightened awareness of adult...

Invisalign impressions

In my recent post on dental anxiety I spoke about being apprehensive about impression taking.  Getting accurate impressions is incredibly important for those undertaking Invisalign treatment and this video clip takes you through the whole...

Dental anxiety

Many people, myself included, do not look forward to visiting a dentist and the reasons for this are often complex and deeply rooted in past experiences.  To undertake orthodontic treatment will result in many visits to an orthodontist over several years and possibly...

The benefits of straight teeth

When thinking about undertaking orthodontic treatment it is easy to focus on the cosmetic benefits of having straight teeth but are there other benefits that we can get from having braces?  A quick search revealed quite a few. Healthier gums - gum disease can result...

BOS Advice Leaflets

The British Orthodontic Society (BOS) has a great website with a great deal of patient oriented information including some downloadable leaflets covering adult orthodontics, different types of braces, retainers, IPR, brace friendly food and drink and a lot more.  If...

6 Month Smiles

Professor Kevin O'Brien, a well known and respected figure in UK orthodontics writes a blog, mainly aimed at dental professionals, in which he discusses the results of orthodontic research.  A number of his posts are more general in nature and one published today...

Are braces expensive?

When deciding to get your teeth straightened, there are many things to think about including which practice to go to, what treatment option to take and whether you can justify the cost.  I think most people recognise the cost is not insignificant and figures of...

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