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29 April 2014

Orthodontist Manchester: What exactly does an orthodontist do?

An orthodontist is just a fancy title for a dentist, right? No! It is in fact a specialised area of dentistry and takes lots of learning, training and work as a dentist to become one. So let’s answer the first question to start with – what exactly does an orthodontist do?

The classic definition of an orthodontist is a dental specialist who straightens teeth, usually by applying braces. This procedure requires extensive knowledge of the structure of the mouth, jaw, skull and face. To reach this level of knowledge, orthodontists have to get good grades through school and college, study dentistry at degree level, then undertake further specialist training and work to become a fully qualified orthodontist.

To be clear, any qualified dentist can undertake orthodontic treatment in the UK. A specialist will have greater understanding and may be used or called upon in more difficult cases.

How do I know I need teeth straightening?

A lot of people have crowded or crooked teeth. In most cases it’s not a great problem, so long as care is taken to clean them well, and regularly. Sometimes, though, crowding can be painful and crooked teeth damaged as well as unsightly. It can even make biting difficult and put a strain on jaw muscles. Some people suffer headaches because of this. If any of these circumstances apply to you, see an orthodontist. Teeth straightening treatment will help you.

How is orthodontic treatment carried out?

There are several stages to orthodontic treatment. Before any decision is made, the dentist or orthodontist will examine your teeth. This can include X-rays and plaster casts. Armed with this information, the specialist can advise you on the best course of treatment. You may need teeth to be removed if overcrowding is a problem. It not, straightening will be all about wearing braces. You’ll have several choices – some brace treatments on the NHS and others private and paid for by you. Brace options may include:

  • Removable brace consisting of metal plate, wires and springs that can be removed for eating and cleaning
  • Functional device that is a special fit and uses your jaw muscles to correct the anomaly
  • Fixed brace that cannot be removed – where the treatment needs more accuracy

What are orthodontic braces made of?

NHS braces tend to be made from metal. This material works just as well as other materials but of course they can be easily seen. Ceramics and plastics are also used. At Church Road Dental we provide clear, plastic ‘aligners’ or moulds called Invisalign. These are virtually invisible to others. Several sets of specially moulded, slightly different aligners are made for each patient. Each set is worn for two weeks before being replaced with the next one. Teeth are straightened over the course of the treatment, the length of which can vary from patient to patient.

What else do I need to know?

Unless you’re using Invisalign, braces will usually require adjusting every four to six weeks. Even when the course is finished, the final braces will need to be left in for more time so the teeth are set in the correct position. The experts call this ‘retention’. Even so, teeth move throughout our lives so there is no guarantee that once treatment is complete, that’s the end of it. That said, for the vast majority of people orthodontic treatments are successful and do not need to be repeated.

  • If you have any questions about orthodontics and braces, including Invisalign, call us on 0161 820 2673 or call in for a free initial consultation.
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