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Orthodontic FAQ’s

Orthodontic FAQ’s

You asked and we listened – at Portman we understand that having all the information to hand that you need about your appointment, treatment or even joining us as a new patient, can make all the difference. To help you, we have collated some of the frequently asked questions and provided you with the answers below:

How long does teeth straightening treatment take?

Depending on your orthodontic needs, treatments with braces may take between 6-30 months to complete, more complex cases could take longer, but this will all be explained when your treatment plan is put together.

Your treatment also can’t start until the correct number of adult teeth are present in your mouth and providing your mouth is healthy enough to receive your treatment.

What does IOTN mean?

Once most of a child’s adult teeth have emerged, their dentist will be looking for signs of whether they require orthodontic treatment at their next dental check-up. If they can see clear signs that the patient requires an assessment, they will make a referral to a trained orthodontist for a full assessment of their teeth alignment.

At this initial assessment, the orthodontist will use a two-part grading system called the ‘Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need’, commonly referred to as ‘IOTN’, to determine whether orthodontic treatment is necessary and whether this can be completed on the NHS for those under 18. In order to conduct an IOTN assessment, specialist training is required and all assessments need to be undertaken in a specialist orthodontic practice. Your dentist will refer you should you require and IOTN assessment.

Can braces close the gaps of my missing teeth?

One of the benefits of braces is that they are versatile and can help with anything from simple crowding, under or over bites (overjets), right up to significant spacing – including missing teeth – all with excellent precision.

What are the differences between metal and ceramic brackets?

Metal brackets are the more traditional solution for straightening your teeth and are more visible due to the material they are made from. They can be used to treat a wide range of orthodontic cases, from simple to complex and are those widely used on the NHS for those under 18. Due to their visibility, they also represent great value and if you desire, you can even personalise them to a degree with coloured bands.

Ceramic, or clear braces differ from metal fixed braces by replacing the visible bracket with a clear ceramic alternative, meaning that they will be less visible, but with all the precision.

How do I care for my braces?

When you orthodontist fits your braces, they will run through how best to care for them, paying particular attention to ensuring you maintain good oral hygiene. Ensuring that you are regularly and thoroughly brushing your teeth and avoiding certain food and drink. You will be shown how to spot signs of wear and tear and what you can do should anything happen to your braces whist wearing them.

–You may experience a little discomfort in the early stages and can take over the counter pain relief to ease the discomfort, ensuring you always read the information on the packet.

It may take you some time to get used to playing sport or your favourite musical instrument with your new braces. During your aftercare, you will need to ensure you wear a mouthguard for contact sports, which can be custom made to fit over your braces in practice. You can clean your mouthguard using water and a soft toothbrush, but do not use hot water as this could change the shape of the mouthguard.

Your braces may make it a bit harder to play wind or brass instruments, but in some special circumstances you may be able to get a removable brace which you can take out for performances.

With any uncertainty, it’s best to contact your orthodontist for more information.

Depending on your diet and lifestyle, or in an emergency, your braces may break off, and if this happens, you should contact your orthodontist straight away. Don’t wait for your next appointment as if your braces aren’t fully attached, it can slow down your treatment plan and potentially even damage your teeth.

If you are experiencing a lot of pain with your new braces you can call 111 if you can’t get hold of your practice.

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