Orthodontic FAQs

We’ve answered some of the questions we regularly get asked about orthodontic care and braces. If you can’t find the answer to your question, try our Patient information downloads, or alternatively you can contact us and speak to one of our friendly team.

Orthodontic treatment uses appliances (or braces) that are fitted to the teeth to gently adjust alignment or position, slowly over time.

Braces are:

  • custom-made
  • prescribed and designed according to the patient’s particular needs
  • designed to apply gentle forces, using special wires, in a carefully controlled direction

In this way, braces precisely move the teeth, through the supporting bone, to a new more desirable position.

Every individual is different, but treatment usually lasts between 18 months – 2 years.

No.

If indicated, the replacement of any missing teeth will have to be done by your dentist.

During the initial consultations with your orthodontist, this will be highlighted to you if it’s something you’d need to plan for.

Removable Appliances

Removable appliances are used to undertake simple tooth movements. They’re safe to use in younger patients who may still have baby teeth present.

Functional Appliances

Functional appliances (braces) are usually removable and are also known as ‘growth modification appliances’.

They can be used to guide the growth and development of children’s jaws, where there may be a mismatch in the size of their upper to lower jaws.

Fixed Appliances / Braces

This is what people usually think of when they imagine braces.

Fixed braces are:

  • bonded / cemented to the teeth for the duration of treatment
  • made up of small attachments (brackets and bands) linked together using special orthodontic wires
  • usually made of stainless steel, but tooth coloured brackets are also available as a more aesthetic alternative
  • - normally fixed to the outside of teeth (labial appliances), but special fixed braces that are stuck to the inside of teeth (lingual appliances) are also available

Some patients may need to wear elastics to achieve the desired result. These can be applied and removed by the patient.

Yes.

If you want, you can get a new colour each time you have a scheduled check-up appointment.

No – not at all.

In general, having braces doesn’t ‘hurt’. It is possible however that after certain visits, such as when braces are first fitted, or when major adjustments are made, that some teeth become sensitive for a few days.

In those cases, we recommend taking some regular painkillers and sticking with soft food.

It takes about 45 minutes to fit your braces.

Yes – absolutely.

The initial discomfort after having the braces put on is minimal and shouldn’t prevent you from doing your regular activities.

Some foods could damage your brace, so it’s best to avoid them.

Watch out for foods that are:

  • Chewy like bagels or hard rolls
  • Crunchy like popcorn, ice, crisps
  • Sticky like toffees, chewy sweets, bon-bons, or chewing gum
  • Hard like crusty bread, crusts (including pizza crusts), boiled sweets or nuts

You should also avoid:

  • Foods you have to bite into, like corn on the cob, whole apples, carrots
  • Chewing on hard things, like pens, pencils or fingernails
  • Sugar – limit your amount of sugary foods and fizzy drinks. The sugar and acid will likely lead to damage of the enamel on your teeth, which could make marks or holes

Call us straight away on 0151 630 6345 and tell us what’s happened.

We’ll book you in as soon as possible to correct the damage to your brace.

When booking this appointment, make sure you tell us ahead of time that it’s to fix a break, so we can get everything prepared to repair it.

Yes. We recommend you wear a mouth guard.

Wearing braces (or most orthodontic appliances) will not prevent you from doing sports.

Yes.

Although this may require some getting used to at first because of changes with your embouchure (the way you put your mouth to your instrument’s mouthpiece).

Braces shouldn’t prevent you from playing your favourite wind instrument.

How often you come in depends upon the specific needs of your case. Most of our patients with braces will be seen every 6 to 10 weeks.

However, if a situation justifies closer monitoring, visits will be scheduled accordingly. Younger patients kept under observation (without corrective appliances in their mouth), are seen every 9 to 18+ months depending on their dental development.

Yes.

It’s very important you continue seeing your dentist regularly throughout your orthodontic treatment, and follow any recommendations they make.

Braces and most orthodontic appliances won’t prevent your dentist from doing dental examinations and cleanings. If necessary, we can remove parts of your brace if your dentist needs access to some teeth for specific interventions.