Orthodontic Treatment: A Guide to Getting Braces

Getting braces can be a daunting prospect. It can raise many questions about how the process works. How much do braces cost overall? How long do braces last? What does their maintenance look like?

In this guide, we’ll go over all this information and more, in the hopes that we can put to rest any uncertainty and leave you feeling more confident about this orthodontic treatment.

Braces: Underbites, Overbites, Gaps, Or Crowded Teeth Treatment

You might even be wondering what braces are exactly. What’s an orthodontist for that matter? What are they used for and do you need them?

Braces and other orthodontic treatments are used to correct the alignment of your teeth. This is an orthodontist’s speciality.

Underbites, overbites, gaps, or crowding are all common issues with teeth that can cause discomfort generally or while eating. These alignment problems are more likely to get worse than better. Braces and other orthodontic treatments, such as clear retainers, are designed to be worn over the teeth and gently pull them into straighter, more comfortable alignment over time.

Braces do this using wires, pulled through individual brackets that are fastened to each tooth. The wires can be adjusted and tightened as the treatment progresses to pull teeth into the desired position.

How Much Do Braces Cost?

If you’re under 18 and your dentist feels that you need braces, you can get them for free under the NHS. Otherwise, private treatment is widely available.

If your braces are not covered under the NHS, they can cost anywhere from £1,500 to £6,000. There is a wide range in prices because treatment and materials differ. For example, standard metal braces are the cheapest but some people prefer ceramic or other materials for their braces, as they appear more discreet. These will cost more, however.

How Long Will I Need To Wear Braces?

Braces may need to be worn anywhere from 12 months to three years. This will depend on the condition of your teeth and care of your braces, so the length of time exactly is different from person to person.

The braces need enough time to slowly pull your teeth into the desired position to straighten them and correct your bite. The more the teeth need to move, the longer the treatment. It will also depend on proper care of your teeth and braces while you wear them, so for the fastest treatment proper care is a must.

Do Braces Work?

Braces are usually very effective in straightening and realigning teeth to correct bites or reach the desired look. You will need to take proper care of your teeth and braces, and after treatment wear a special retainer for a while, to ensure the teeth don’t move back out of position.

Step 1: Initial Consultation

Your first step to getting braces is arranging for a consultation. It may be that you have already been referred by your regular dentist. This is usually how people begin the process of getting braces. If in doubt, you can consult your regular dentist to see what they think.

Otherwise, you can seek out an orthodontist directly and arrange for a consultation. They will examine your teeth and ask you about your issues with them. They may judge braces to be unnecessary or make other suggestions, but many people do benefit from straighter teeth.

If they think braces are right for you, they might take a mould of your teeth so they can better design your treatment.

Step 2: Designing Your Braces

Using a mould, 3D imaging, or another method, your orthodontist will take some time to design a mock-up of your braces. Everyone’s braces will be different, as teeth alignment issues are different from one person to the next. Therefore they require individual brace structures to push and pull their teeth in specific ways.

Step 3: Placing Your Braces

It may take two to four weeks for your braces to be ready, at which point your orthodontist will call you in for placement. This appointment will be the longest one throughout your braces treatment.

The orthodontist needs to first clean and prepare your teeth before cementing each bracket to its individual tooth. Once the brackets are secure, the orthodontist can place the first wire, adjusting manually as necessary with kinks or bends to sustain better leverage over the teeth. The wire is fastened to the brackets by closing their doors over it, once the wire is in position.

Your brackets will then be secure and ready.

Step 4: Continuing Care

Your orthodontist may discuss with you in the initial consultation a bit about caring for your braces. After placement they will brief you in detail so that you’re ready to take proper care of them, brushing and cleaning your teeth appropriately.

This may include using a special brush, often a smaller spindle brush so that you can clean around all the nooks and crannies, removing any food particles or bacteria build up in harder-to-reach places. You may also be advised on particular kinds of toothpaste to use.

It’s important to continue seeing your dentist or hygienist regularly with braces, as they will be able to effectively and professionally clean your teeth. Dentists and hygienists have the expertise and equipment necessary to give your teeth and braces a proper clean, including areas difficult to reach on your own.

Step 5: Adjustments

A few weeks after placement you will have a follow-up adjustment appointment. Your orthodontist will inspect your teeth and braces, removing or altering the first wire, or placing a new one. This is so that the renewed wire continues to pull the teeth into their desired positions.

You will have a number of adjustment sessions before your braces treatment is completed.

Step 6: What You Can And Can’t Eat

You may be given a list of dietary requirements while you’re wearing your braces. Very hard, crunchy, or sticky foods should be avoided so that your teeth and braces don’t receive any undue pressure that could affect the treatment.

Too much strain could cause a bracket to pop off. This not only causes more hassle for you but can ultimately cause the treatment to last longer.

Sticky foods can get caught between braces and teeth, making them much harder to appropriately clean. It’s essential to follow all advice from your orthodontist if you want the most effective treatment.

Step 7: Removal

When your orthodontist deems it appropriate, they will schedule an appointment for the removal of your braces. You should never attempt to remove braces yourself - the orthodontist will use a special metal device to professionally loosen each bracket and remove the braces as one.

Once the braces are off, they will use a hard grinder to remove any residual adhesive and then give your teeth a thorough clean. This process is not usually painful, though it can be discomforting.

Finally, they will have your teeth X-rayed or photographed to check the braces have done their job effectively, before providing you with a specially designed post-treatment retainer. This will need to be worn for a while to prevent teeth from moving back out of place.

Alternatives: Invisalign and Suresmile Retainers

These days there are modern alternatives to braces. Clear aligners, such as Invisalign and Suresmile, straighten teeth and correct bites using other materials and systems than metal braces and wires. They will still be designed to adjust your individual arrangement of teeth, but these aligners are made with clear plastic and are removable.

Many people opt for these alternatives because they are much less visible and enable wearers to remove them for eating and brushing. This means you can brush your teeth as normal and eat what you want.

These benefits come with additional costs, however, and clear aligners are likely to cost significantly more. They may also not be available to everyone, being generally more suitable for minor orthodontic adjustments.

For expert orthodontic advice and treatment in Liverpool, contact Dr Rez today. We provide the best dental and orthodontic treatment plans Liverpool has to offer. Our clinic uses a wide range of orthodontic treatments to suit each individual, from fast-track braces to clear teeth aligners. Get in touch to find out more.

Been a Dr. Rez patient for around 4 years now. From initially needing a lot of work done to now just regular check ups and cleaning. I can confidently say it's been one of my best decisions. From being a very nervous patient to now quite enjoying my appointment (relatively anyway ha). Currently my therapist is Lilly, very ably assisted by Mel and they couldn't be more encouraging, thoughtful and nice. I get great advice and couldn't feel better looked after. Couldn't recommend more.