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

Can you help with some orthodontic research?

Can you help with some orthodontic research?

I am Dr. Aoibheann Wall, an NHS trainee Orthodontist working at a dental hospital in London. As part of my training, I am doing some research into adults who get braces and would be grateful if you could complete my survey.

Safe Brace

Safe Brace

The British Orthodontic Society and the Oral Health Foundation have launched a new website ‘SafeBrace’

Orthodontic Hygiene

Orthodontic Hygiene

A common complication of orthodontics is tooth decay, although this can be prevented by appropriate cleaning and maintenance of the teeth and appliances. In this article, Dr. Bethany Rushworth offers advice on how to look after your teeth during orthodontic treatment.

A guest post from Ruth

A guest post from Ruth

Do you want to discover three instant benefits from getting braces? Check out this great guest blog post from Ruth.

How to search the GDC register

Do you want to find out whether a dentist offering orthodontic treatment is on the specialist register? The GDC has a public database you can access.

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

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...