A: 84 Rodney Street, Liverpool, L1 9AR
T: 0151 709 1980
F: 0151 709 2405
E: info@theorthodonticpractice.co.uk
W: www.theorthodonticpractice.co.uk

FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

1 - What is orthodontics?

2 - What are the main benefits of orthodontics

3 - How do I know I have an orthodontic problem

4 - At what age is it best to see an orthodontist

5 - Is there an age limit for braces

6 - Will I need to have teeth out

7 - How often are my appointments

8 - Does the brace hurt

9 - What can I do for pain relief

10 - Does a Fixed Brace damage my teeth

11 - How do I keep my brace clean

12 - Will my speech be affected

13 - What about playing musical instruments

14 - Can I still play contact sports

15 - What happens if my brace breaks or I lose it

16 - How long will treatment take?

17 - What are Retainers for?

18 - Can teeth move after orthodontic treatment?

19 - Will my parents need to come with me?

20 - Are parents allowed in the surgery?

21 - Should I still to see my dentist?

22 - Can my appointments be outside school hours?

23 - What happens if I am late for my appointment?

24 - Is there anything to pay?

25 - What should I do if there is a problem with my brace?




1 - What is orthodontics

Orthodontics is the speciality of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, management and treatment of irregularities and abnormalities of the teeth, face and jaws.

Treatment is by the use of braces to improve the position of teeth, and in a growing patient, the modification of growth of the jaws, helping to correct discrepancies in the jaw size and improve a patient's facial appearance.

2 - What are the main benefits of orthodontics

Improved function of the teeth

Prevention of trauma to prominent teeth

Improved dental health and increased resistance to dental disease.

Increased self-confidence

3 - How do I know I have an orthodontic problem

Some problems are obvious, but others can only be spotted by a dental professional. One reason to keep your regular dental checkups is so that your dentist can identify a developing problem and refer you for an orthodontic consultation. Approximately 1/3 of 12 year old children will need orthodontic treatment.

4 - At what age is it best to see an orthodontist

Everyone grows at different rates, but at around age 9 years, an assessment can be made as to the best time at which to start treatment and sometimes an early diagnosis leads to early treatment which helps reduce treatment times in the future. This is especially important if a discrepancy in jaw development requires correction.

The majority of orthodontic treatment with fixed braces is carried out during the teenage years.

5 - Is there an age limit for braces

No. More and more adults are requesting orthodontic treatment, either because they missed out as children, or have seen at first hand what can be done as they follow their own children’s orthodontic treatment!

6 - Will I need to have teeth out

Approximately 80% of patients need to have teeth removed because of overcrowding or to create space to reduce prominent teeth and your own dentist would normally do this.

7 - How often are my appointments

Usually a fixed brace is adjusted on average, every 8 weeks, with a range of 6 - 10 weeks depending on what is happening with your brace.

8 - Does the brace hurt

Having a brace fitted does not need any injections or drilling, and the main sensation is of occasional pressure as the parts of the brace are glued onto the teeth. It takes about a week to get used to the brace and occasionally some patients need to take a couple of painkillers after 24 hours when the brace starts to work.

9 - What can I do for pain relief

Paracetamol is probably the best, but make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Ibuprofen and other anti-inflammatory drugs can be taken by those with no contra-indications. If the brace is rubbing, use the wax that was demonstrated when you had the brace fitted.

10 - Does a Fixed Brace damage my teeth

All the materials used in braces have been chosen so that they do not interact with the teeth or gums. The glues used often release fluoride to help protect the enamel from the most common cause of damage to the teeth - POOR TOOTHBRUSHING.

11 - How do I keep my brace clean

Brush after each meal and before bedtime - that’s at least 4 times a day, and you should take your toothbrush to school. It takes about 5 minutes to clean your brace.

Various toothbrushes are shown to you when the brace is fitted, together with recommendations for fluoride mouthwash and fluoride toothpaste. We keep the recommended stock of products at reception.

12 - Will my speech be affected

Fixed braces don’t affect speech, but removable braces and retainers that have a plastic palate will cause slight speech problems for 1-2 days.

13 - What about playing musical instruments

Most wind instrument players can adapt to play with the brace, and the more accomplished you are, the easier it will be. Some brass instrument players may find that pressure from the mouthpiece can be uncomfortable the more the instrument is pushed against the lips.

14 - Can I still play contact sports

Yes. Removable braces should be taken out for contact sports and swimming and placed in a protective brace box. For fixed braces, gum shields will inevitably be a compromise because the teeth are moving, and any gum shield that fits over a brace will have to be slightly bigger than normal. Gum shields from sports shops that can be adapted in hot water are usually sufficient, alternatively, we stock a silicone based gum shield designed specifically for fixed braces.

15 - What happens if my brace breaks or I lose it

Fixed braces - Normal “wear and tear” may result in occasional breakages to the wires and brackets of the brace, and sometimes a wire may start to stick out at the back.

If this is causing you pain and discomfort, please Contact us as soon as possible for advice.

Constant breakages due to careless actions will always result in longer treatment times.

Removable braces - please bring the brace with you as we will try and repair it in our laboratory. There may be a charge to replace a broken brace that is beyond repair. If you lose your brace please let us know as soon as possible, and if a replacement is needed, there will be a charge.

16 - How long will treatment take

Most treatments with a fixed brace are completed in 18 months, plus a further 12 months with retainers.

17 - What are Retainers for

Retainers help to stabilize the teeth after they have been moved by an orthodontic brace. They can be removable or fixed, depending on what the orthodontist feels is appropriate. Removable retainers are usually worn full time for 6 months, then night time for 6 months. Fixed retainers are usually permanent for life.

18 - Can teeth move after orthodontic treatment

Yes. Relapse is when the teeth start to return to their original positions, especially if teeth were rotated, spaced or severely overcrowded. The commonest cause of relapse is failure to wear the retainers.

Some patients (about 3/4) continue to grow in their late teens, and this can affect the position of the teeth, especially the lower incisors. These patients may well need to continue wearing their retainers during their early 20‘s.

19 - Will my parents need to come with me

Yes. For the child’s first visit we need a parent (or legal guardian) to accompany a child under 16 in order to consent for examination/treatment. A parent may be needed on further occasions only if the child was not ready to start treatment, or if we are experiencing problems during treatment, such as poor cooperation with instructions or toothbrushing.

20 - Are parents allowed in the surgery

Parents are welcome in the surgery if they wish, although it is not necessary for children to be accompanied at every visit. Orthodontics is a “non-invasive” speciality, with no drilling or injections needed, and as such can be an ideal opportunity for children to get used to the idea of being in the dentists chair by themselves.

21 - Should I still to see my dentist

Yes. You should see your dentist for your normal dental checkups whilst you are having your orthodontic treatment.

22 - Can my appointments be outside school hours

90% of our patients are of school age, and in order to run an efficient and effective service, the majority of appointment times will fall inside school hours. Schools have a legal obligation to allow pupils time off for medical and dental appointments and we are more than happy to supply written confirmation of appointment times if requested. We can usually schedule appointments to coincide with a different lesson each time. We are sensitive to the needs of patients sitting their GCSE and A-level exams, and will try to be flexible in these situations.

23 - What happens if I am late for my appointment

The general rule is that if you are late for your appointment, then in fairness to other patients who are on time, we will give you the option of re-booking or waiting until a suitable time becomes available. Where longer appointments are concerned, for example, new patient consultations, fitting or removing fixed braces, then it is unlikely that a suitable time will be available that day, and rebooking will be necessary. Please take into account that road traffic in the city is very heavy, especially in the morning and journey times will be correspondingly longer.

24 - Is there anything to pay

NHS treatment is free, and our contract with the PCT allows us to treat patients on the NHS up to and including 17 years of age. We are allowed however to charge a fee for replacing a lost or irreparable brace.

25 - What should I do if there is a problem with my brace

We will always offer appointments to see patients who are in pain within 24 hours. True emergencies are very rare during orthodontic treatment, and most problems can be dealt with by using painkillers, or even cutting a wire with scissors. If in doubt, please contact us for advice during normal office hours, or NHS Direct outside normal hours.





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