Braces in Windsor

At Old Windsor Dental Practice we specialise in Orthodontic Braces in Windsor– straightening and improving the appearance of teeth using braces or similar appliances.

Our orthodontics team treats patients of all ages. The most common age for tooth realignment with braces is between 10 and 15 years old, although in some cases children as young as eight would benefit from treatment. Children are usually treated with standard metal bracket and wire braces.

Nowadays, many adults who did not have orthodontic treatment as children or whose teeth have moved since treatment are also opting for braces – and there are many options for practically invisible adult braces and adult orthodontics treatments available.

Some orthodontic problems run in families, suggesting a genetic cause, while habits such as thumb or dummy sucking can also cause problems with tooth alignment.

While some patients have orthodontic treatment for cosmetic reasons, to improve how their teeth look and to boost their self-confidence, there are clinical reasons for having such treatment too. If the teeth or jaw do not develop in the normal way, you can experience problems with biting and chewing food, and can also have difficulty cleaning your teeth properly, which can lead to further problems such as tooth decay and tooth loss.

Causes of orthodontic problems

  • Genetic disposition (runs in families)
  • Thumb sucking/other habits such as dummies that carries on after baby teeth are lost
  • Accidents
  • Many orthodontic problems arise for no obvious reason

Reasons for orthodontic treatment:

  • Crowded teeth
  • Crooked/asymmetrical teeth
  • Upper front teeth that protrude
  • Reverse bite (upper teeth bite inside lower teeth)
  • Deep bite (upper teeth cover lower teeth too much)
  • Open bite (upper and lower teeth don't meet)
  • Impacted teeth (teeth grow in the wrong position)

The exact treatment you need will depend on what problems you wish to correct – a few misaligned teeth or an overbite, for example. What treatment you need will also affect how long it lasts – typical treatment times are between 18 and 24 months. Your orthodontist will be able to discuss exactly what treatment you need and how long it is anticipated to take at your initial consultation.

At Old Windsor orthodontics treatments available fall under these categories:

  • Removable Appliances, including Invisalign (near invisible braces)
  • Fixed Appliances, including fixing braces inside of the teeth (invisible braces)
  • Functional Appliances

a) Removable Appliances

  • Removable orthodontics appliances are a common alternative to fixed braces. They work well for patients who have milder and simpler alignment problems with a few front teeth. Sometimes they are also used for younger patients who still have some baby teeth in place.
  • The huge benefit of removable appliances is that they can be taken out for daily cleaning, meaning that the problems some patients experience with keeping their teeth clean when wearing conventional braces evaporate.
  • With most removable braces, you should keep them in while eating unless your orthodontist tells you otherwise. Some foods, such as toffee and other hard sweets, should be avoided because they can damage your braces. You should still be able to enjoy hard foods such as crusty bread or apples, so long as you cut them up first.
  • Invisalign is a clear, removable system of aligners that are an alternative to braces. Instead of a conventional brace, Invisalign uses a series of clear aligners to gently adjust the position of your teeth.
  • Each course of Invisalign aligners is bespoke, so they fit your teeth perfectly. With the aid of a 3D animated computer program, you will also be able to see what results to expect at each stage of treatment.
  • Invisalign aligners should be removed for eating and drinking and for brushing and flossing your teeth, but should be worn at all other times. You will need to visit your orthodontist approximately every six weeks to check you aligners are working as planned, and will change aligners on average every fortnight. The overall course of treatment is usually between 18 and 24 months.

b) Functional Appliances

  • Functional appliances are a type of braces that are used to correct problems with the top set of teeth biting in front of the lower set of teeth. They are used for younger patients whose teeth are still developing. Functional appliances can be fixed or removable, although the removable option is usually favoured.
  • Common removable functional appliances comprise two parts, an upper and lower section, which are interlocked to move the lower jaw into a more advanced position. They are used to correct protruding upper teeth, also known as buck teeth.

Twin Block

  • One of the most common functional appliances is the Twin Block. With this system the lower jaw is gently moved forwards using a screw mechanism. There is also an expansion screw for the upper jaw, and sometimes the lower one too, that's used to widen the upper arch. Although this system can be used on patients of all ages, it's most commonly used for child patients, and is often the first phase of orthodontic treatment, to be followed later by braces and a retainer.

Common questions and answers about functional appliances

Q: How long do I need to wear the appliance for each day?
A: Your orthodontist will advise you how many hours per day you should wear your appliance. Following these instructions correctly can lead to a dramatic improvement in the position of your teeth.

Q: Should I take it out for eating?
A: Check with your orthodontist. Some foods, particularly chewy foods such as toffee and hard foods such as raw carrots, may be impossible to eat when wearing your device, and you should not try because you could damage it. If you are advised to remove the appliance to eat, make sure you keep it in a secure, hard case and put it back after you've finished your meal – once you've brushed your teeth, of course.

Q: Is treatment painful?
A: It is likely to be uncomfortable for 3-5 days after fitting and any adjustments. If you experience pain at this time, over-the-counter painkillers usually help, and the discomfort soon settles down as your mouth gets used to the brace.

Q: Will it have any other affects?
A: The appliance may affect your speech for the first couple of days, but practising reading aloud to yourself will soon have you speaking normally again. If you play a woodwind or brass musical instrument, you may have to adjust your playing technique slightly – your music teacher can help with this.

9 Fixed Appliances

Fixed braces are the most common way to treat a range of orthodontic problems. Both adults and children have been successfully treated with such braces for many years. These appliances work by using a system of brackets and wires to gently reposition the teeth, helping to alleviate problems such as overcrowding, misaligned and gappy teeth. It's important to address these issues because, as well as making patients unhappy with their appearance, misaligned, crowded and gappy teeth can cause difficulties with biting and chewing food and with cleaning the teeth properly, potentially leading to other problems such as tooth decay or gum disease.

Traditionally, fixed appliances are made out of metal, although there are also tooth-coloured alternatives available for patients who are self-conscious about wearing braces. Because these appliances are designed to be non-removable, nobody but your orthodontist should attempt to remove them. In the unlikely event that your brace breaks, please contact us immediately so that we can repair or replace it.

The length of treatment varies from patient to patient and depends on the nature of what needs correcting, but on average treatment with fixed braces lasts between 18 and 24 months. Once you have completed your treatment with fixed braces, you will be given a dental retainer to wear. This may be removable or may be fixed to the lingual (back) side of your teeth.

Eating, drinking and oral hygiene

You will be able to eat normally wearing a fixed brace, although you should avoid hard sweets and anything containing too much sugar, as teeth can be more prone to decay when wearing braces if you don't follow a diligent oral hygiene regime. Hard food such as crunchy fruit and vegetables should be cut up before eating. Sugary drinks should also be avoided.

You should clean your teeth at least three times a day, especially after meals. Carry a toothbrush and toothpaste with you or keep a spare set in the drawer at work so you can clean your teeth properly at lunchtime. Pay particular attention to where the gums meet the teeth and use a fluoride-based mouthwash once a day, just before you go to bed.