Deciding to have braces as an adult is a big decision for many people. Learn more about your options
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
Some things to think about
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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