Orthodontics: What are my Options?

Updated: Dec 18, 2018

There are many different types of Orthodontic appliances available these days, depending on the exact problem with your teeth or jaw.


The initial stage of the process is to have a consultation with an Orthodontist to assess the state of your teeth or your child’s teeth.  To book a consultation with a Private Orthodontist you do no need a referral from your own dentist, however you are likely to need a referral to see an NHS Orthodontist.


The consultation will usually involve taking x-rays of your teeth and jaw, and making plaster-cast study models of your teeth.  This will give the Orthodontist an idea of treatment required and its likely optimum results.


Depending on the treatment required your dentist will suggest one of four main types of appliance:

  • Fixed Braces.   This is a non-removable brace made up of small brackets glued to each tooth and linked together with wires.  These brackets can come in different colours or even clear, making them much more attractive than braces many years ago.  Your Orthodontist may use different systems, one the most advance systems available is called Damon.  Not all orthodontists use this system so you may need to enquire at your consultation.

  • Removable braces.  These are usually plastic plates that cover the roof of the mouth and clip onto a few of the teeth.  They can only produce very limited tooth movement.

  • Functional appliances.  These are a pair of plastic braces that can be taken on and off.  They are designed to work together and fit on both top and bottom teeth.  They are used when only minor adjustments are required or sometimes as a method of stopping a child from sucking their thumb.

  • Headgear.  This is not an orthodontic appliance in itself, but is sometimes used in conjunction with other appliances and is usually only work at night.  It is used to alter the position of the back teeth or to keep them in position while the front teeth are being treated.

Private dentistry also offers more discrete options such as ‘invisible’ braces like InvisalignR or lingual braces that fit to the back of the teeth rather than the front.   Not every case is suitable, and both these treatments are more expensive.


Once your treatment is finished, it is important to wear a retainer to keep your beautiful new smile in place!   These can be either removable retainers or fixed retainers (a small piece of metal bonded on to the back of the teeth to keep them in place).  Your Orthodontist will give you full advice and instructions.  Your teeth can continue to change and move throughout life as part of the normal ageing process.  The only way to have permanently straight teeth is to wear your retainer for the rest of your life!


For further information or advice contact College Street Dental Centre in Petersfield, Hampshire on 01730 263180

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