We specialise in straightening teeth, making them bite together properly and creating a great smile. We make sure your teeth look right and your mouth functions as it should. We are the specialists in this work because we work exclusively with braces and other orthodontic procedures every day.
We have a degree in dentistry but all specialist orthodontists have also undertaken a further two to three years postgraduate training full-time at university to become orthodontists. This advanced training includes such diverse studies as physics, embryology, genetics, human growth and development, cephalometrics, biophysics and mechanical engineering.
Orthodontic treatment can change how you eat, talk, smile and how you look. We often fit braces not only to improve the attractiveness of your smile, but also because braces correct improper alignment of teeth that can lead to gum disease and early tooth loss. Properly aligned teeth also make it easier to chew all types of food and eliminate the headaches and pain caused by uneven chewing. Having straighter teeth also means that it is easier to maintain good oral health long term. A secondary but important effect of treatment is improved self-confidence.
No, we welcome self referrals. Our patients are also referred by the School Dental Service and family dentists.
You may have problems that are the result of an accident or as a result of your family history or simply it may be a matter of evolution. Over the past 1000 years, our diet has changed and it has changed the evolution of our jawbone. Our jaws are smaller but our teeth are the same size. For many people this creates problems with the alignment of their teeth - how their teeth sit in their jaws and mouth – as they fight for space in the mouth. Most orthodontic problems are inherited, such as crowding, spacing, extra or missing teeth, cleft palate and a wide variety of irregularities of the jaws and face. You can also develop teeth problems through thumb or finger sucking, breathing restrictions caused by your tonsils or adenoids, dental disease, and premature loss of primary or permanent teeth.
Your family dentist is the expert in maintaining the health of your teeth. We are the experts in maintaining the structure that supports your teeth – making sure that your teeth sit correctly and firmly in your jaw, but also making sure that they look ‘normal’ when they do. Because all we do is orthodontic work – using braces and teeth aligners to correct your teeth – we have a very detailed knowledge of what will achieve the best approach to fix your teeth problems. Every person will need a particular solution. We are also the experts in jawbone health and function so we have a thorough understanding of the pathology (medical cause) behind teeth issues. For example, not very often but sometimes teeth pain can be a medical issue unrelated to the teeth themselves and and we are able to identify that if that’s the case.
Your family dentist is like the family doctor and an orthodontist is like the heart specialist, except that an orthodontist specialises in how you bite and how your teeth, jaw and mouth best fit together. Only dentists with advanced postgraduate education can call themselves orthodontists and have the knowledge and training to advise on the full range of orthodontic options and treatment.
Age is no barrier to orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists use their extensive skills to manage orthodontic problems in children and adults of any age. However, the most cost-effective time for a child to start orthodontic treatment is after the child has lost all the baby teeth. We recommend an initial orthodontic examination, if required, around the age of seven or eight years old but treatment should not start at this time. The orthodontist, who ultimately is responsible for treatment, will follow a child through growth and determine when there is a need for treatment to commence. Adults should visit the orthodontist if they wish to improve the appearance of their smile and their overall dental health. Each patient is different, so the best time to seek advice is when you notice a problem or it starts to become troublesome.
The treatment time varies depending on the nature and complexity of each individual case. Treatment time with orthodontic appliances can range from six months to three years, depending on the severity of the problem, the cooperation of the patient, and the growth of the patient’s mouth and face. Some people respond faster to treatment than others, and minor problems may require less time. After the active orthodontic treatment is completed, in most cases retainers need to be worn to stop the teeth moving back to the original position. It is important to realise that teeth can still continue to move throughout life due to wear and the natural aging process. Treatment times are also dependent upon patient compliance in terms of keeping scheduled orthodontic appointments, maintaining proper hygiene, and taking care of your braces . The treatment time varies depending on the nature and complexity of each individual case. Treatment time with orthodontic appliances can range from six months to three years, depending on the severity of the problem, the cooperation of the patient, and the growth of the patient’s mouth and face. Some people respond faster to treatment than others, and minor problems may require less time. After the active orthodontic treatment is completed, in most cases retainers need to be worn to stop the teeth moving back to the original position. It is important to realise that teeth can still continue to move throughout life due to wear and the natural aging process.
Usually, teeth do not have to be removed when we fix someone’s bite or teeth alignment problems. But sometimes we do have to take out one or more teeth. When we do, it’s because that is the best solution. Sometimes, no amount of bracing will produce a result that looks good and ‘normal’. What we don’t want to do is brace your teeth and produce a result where the teeth have been pushed too far out. Sometimes, this makes for a weak foundation for the teeth in your jawbone and will cause problems for you later on. Sometimes, bracing without doing anything else can alter the shape of your face. We want to make sure we produce a result where you still look like ‘you’.
Your initial visit will give you an opportunity to meet the doctor and our knowledgeable and friendly team, who will answer any questions. The purpose of your first visit to our office is to gather information and to establish what we can achieve for you or your child. On your follow up visit we will provide you with our recommended treatment plan that outlines the orthodontic appliances we would use.
The appointment when you receive your appliances (braces, expanders, etc.) usually takes one to two hours. We then see you at regular intervals for adjustments. These appointments can vary between four and 12 weeks and usually take 15 to 20 minutes.
Early orthodontic treatment as young as seven or eight years old should be the exception as the adult teeth are yet to appear. However, sometimes early treatment is required. This may involve partial braces to make space for developing adult teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful habits. If you are concerned about your child’s teeth formation or bite, we recommend you contact us for a screening exam at age seven or eight. Or the school dental nurse or family dentist will alert you if early orthodontic treatment may be needed. Only certain bites require intervention at this early age.
Significant advances in modern technology allow us to offer patients a variety of brace systems to straighten their teeth. They include traditional stainless steel braces, self-ligating, lingual braces, clear ceramic braces and using clear plastic aligners using the Invisalign system. (See braces).
Some fantastic advances in orthodontics are making treatment more comfortable for our patients. These include smaller, smoother brackets and gentler wires that provide a continuous small force over a long period of time rather than a strong force for only a short period. Typically there is some discomfort two to three days after each adjustment that can be resolved with over the counter pain relief.
If you are wearing braces you need to be extremely dedicated when it comes to keeping your braces, teeth and gums clean. Plaque is your enemy. If plaque is left on your teeth, around the braces, you can develop swollen gums, bad breath, scarred & discolored teeth, even cavities. Our team will provide you with oral hygiene and dietary advice when you have your braces fitted. By following our instructions and avoiding certain foods, you can maintain healthy teeth and a beautiful smile that will last a lifetime.
You should avoid foods that are sticky, hard or chewy. Also avoid any food and drinks that are known to cause cavities. You should brush, floss and rinse your mouth regularly between meals.
You should be able to play just about any sport or activity. We strongly recommend though that you wear a mouth guard in contact sports or any sport where there is a chance you can get hit in the face.
Retainers help keep your teeth straight at the completion of treatment. If they are not worn as instructed, your teeth will move, or tend to relapse. Retainers are particularly important right after the braces are removed while the teeth stabilise. It is important to realise that teeth continue to move throughout life.
Orthodontic fees vary widely, depending on the severity of the problem, complexity of treatment and length of treatment time. The good news is that our services cost no more than going to your family dentist. Orthodontic treatment means you are investing in you or your child’s teeth long-term to avoid more costly, serious problems later in life. We work hard to make orthodontics affordable and we offer a number of flexible payment plans to accommodate all budgets, including payment by credit card and by direct debit. If full payment is made at the onset of treatment, we offer a courtesy fee discount.
Yes, you should continue to see your family dentist every six to 12 months for teeth cleaning and dental checkups.
Orthotropics is a new marketing term for ‘twin blocks or functional appliances’ – a type of brace that has been part of an orthodontist’s kitbag for decades. It is only one of a number of brace types that are available. Some people will benefit from them; for some people they are not the right solution. Every bite problem is different and that is why it is important that you consult an orthodontist to make sure the best solution is provided from the full range that is available.
Yes, but that does not include specialised orthodontic work. If your child has a bite or teeth alignment problem, you need to know all the treatment options available and you also need the best care. You need the services of an orthodontist.