- Stage of Treatment – Completed case
- Duration: 6 MONTHS
- Result: Perfect Smile!
- Doctor: Dr S Abela @128 Harley Street Dental Suite
We’ve noticed that many people are concerned about tooth decay during and after orthodontic treatments. We thought we’d take the time to go through some of the most common questions in our latest blog post.
Before having braces your orthodontist will want to ensure that you have a healthy mouth, this is particularly true if you have fixed orthodontics. If you have fixed braces fitted while having cavities then it can be extremely difficult to treat those cavities as tooth structure may need to be removed.
Orthodontics is therefore usually only carried out on a healthy mouth, free of gum disease and for patients with good oral hygiene. A good dentist or orthodontist can help you achieve this.
The best way to do this is to ensure you have good oral hygiene prior to beginning your orthodontic treatment. Our top tips on preventing cavities whilst wearing braces are:
A variety of things can happen:
The good news is that all of this is largely preventable… Just clean your teeth whilst you have braces!
Braces put a reasonable amount of force on the tooth, however this is monitored carefully by your orthodontist so braces should not cause teeth to die.
No, braces cannot cause abscesses. Abscesses are caused by a deep infection underneath the gum of your tooth, typically this infection takes hold due to poor oral hygiene. Can you see a theme appearing here? Good oral hygiene is key to getting the best from your braces.
It’s not the wearing a retainer that could cause cavities, it’s not keeping a retainer clean that could cause cavities. You should clean your teeth at least twice per day with a fluoride toothpaste, making sure you clean in between your teeth with floss or a brush.
You should also clean your retainer. The same biofilm which you clean off of your teeth also sticks to a retainer. If it’s not removed at the same time as cleaning your teeth then the biofilm can simply be transferred back onto your teeth, effectively as though you haven’t cleaned your teeth in the first place!
This biofilm can then form into plaque which can harbour bacteria and causes the cavities.
There is no evidence to suggest that orthodontic teeth straightening makes teeth weak, so long as you follow the advice of your dentist and orthodontist by cleaning your teeth then your teeth will not be weakened.
The only thing that is slightly weaker after orthodontics is the position of your teeth, they have a natural tendency to want to return to their initial positions, this is why wearing a retainer is important.
The easiest way to determine this is to speak to your orthodontist. Most orthodontists uses tracking software on their practice computers to track progress, you should be able to see a percentage chart showing how far you are through treatment.
Teeth can look a little bit yellow after wearing braces for a couple of reasons:
If you have braces you should avoid foods which are particularly sticky chewy, these can pull off the brackets which can reduce the effectiveness of your braces.
Particularly sticky foods can also be very difficult to clean after eating, this can then leave them stuck in between your teeth enabling the bacteria to start the process of tooth decay.
As a specialist orthodontic practice we get to hear a wide range of questions asked by many of our patients, we thought we would collate some of the more interesting questions in a single blog post.
We’d also like to hear what you think, please do feel free to comment…
The simple answer to this is no. Before you have any type of orthodontic brace your orthodontist will want to ensure that you have good dental health without any tooth decay. This for a couple of reasons.
All orthodontists are dentists first. However only 5% of dentists are orthodontists. An orthodontist will be registered with the General Dental Council GDC in the UK as a specialist. An orthodontist has undertaken Masters level training after their initial dental degree. Most specialist orthodontists are also registered with the British Orthodontic Society.
Let’s be very precise here. Strictly speaking a retainer is used AFTER orthodontic treatment to retain your teeth in their new position, a retainer is not active and does not move the teeth anywhere. However many people use the word ‘retainer’ to talk about an active orthodontic appliance. Slight shifting can be corrected with an active orthodontic appliance.
Modern technology has seen the advent of a range of different orthodontic treatments without metal braces, these include tooth coloured braces (these working exactly the same way as traditional metal braces but are either ceramic or clear) and clear liners such as Invisalign. NHS orthodontic treatments we usually not include tooth coloured braces or clear orthodontics.
If you have an open bite and then get braces this would usually be with a fixed appliance. An open bite is usually defined by the back teeth meeting but there being a gap at the front. Treatments can be extremely successful but usually more complex and so are often not available at a general dentist, you may find you need to see a specialist orthodontist.
One of the best ways to know if your teeth straightening treatment is going well is to ask your orthodontist. During treatment you should have regular appointments, typically every six weeks although sometimes it may be more.
With some of the more modern orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign which use computer assisted design it possible to monitor progress based upon a 3-D computer animated modelling which was undertaken at the beginning of treatment.
Many orthodontists use a tracking system to be able to tell you how far through treatment you are, simply ask each time you go.
Not all braces are for cosmetic reasons. Sometimes patients find it difficult to eat and chew due to the position of their teeth, braces can help in this situation also.
Sometimes braces can also be used to move teeth to a more convenient location for other treatments such as a dental implant or a dental crown. Moving teeth like this is usually for health benefits making teeth easier to clean and maintain rather than for cosmetic options.
Your orthodontist may take impressions at the beginning of treatment, these can then be used to plan treatments in advance. Teeth can be moved on these orthodontic models and final positions calculated.
Modern treatments such as Invisalign also use computer assisted design to plan treatments. Invisalign uses a patented system called a Clincheck, this produces a visualisation of your tooth movement from beginning to end of treatment. It allows you to see what you will look like after your orthodontics and is an excellent adjunct to the orthodontic planning process.
Unfortunately Invisalign is not available as an NHS treatment.
Orthodontists will also use their extensive knowledge and case history to be able to plan treatments. Ask to see previous cases which are similar to yours, a good orthodontist will have a book of before and after photographs which would show patients and how they treatment was planned and executed.
If you are concerned about having orthodontic treatments don’t speak to your orthodontist and talk about discrete options. Tooth coloured braces or clear braces may often be available.
An alternative is to go completely the other way, many patients are nowadays asking for brightly coloured orthodontics and making them a fashion statement in themselves, very much like brightly coloured glasses!
The choice really is yours, only by having a full discussion with your orthodontist and being completely honest and open about what you want to achieve will ensure you get the best result you.
After all, having orthodontic treatments is often all about confidence in a new smile, so it’s equally important to feel confident throughout the process either by showing off your new braces or by having discreet or invisible options to keep things hidden.
Orthodontic braces typically cost from £1495 for either the top or bottom. Simply considerations and questions to ask are:
A quick thought about free consultations. Many practices say they offer these but are really just a quick free chat without any detailed clinical investigation. After a consultation you should ensure there is:
This patient of 30 years of age attended our practice disliking the crooked teeth affecting both the upper and lower teeth, however she was really unhappy about the bottom teeth
She had been looking at having treatment for a while but couldn’t quite get her head of where best to go until she was referred to us by a friend of hers who also had a similar type of treatment. She always felt embarrassed at showing her teeth and also told us that food used to get stuck between her teeth
She opted to have Invisalign treatment as she had a busy schedule and could not commit to regular follow-up appointments.
She was extremely over joyed with the result and also opted to have teeth whitening for the “cherry on the cake” effect!
She told us that she regretted the fact that she did not to do them before however we reassured her that she can still enjoy her smile for a very long time to come!
It is very normal that we are continuously rushing from one place to another and shifting from one task to the next, especially if you live in a busy city or work as a dentist in Harley Street, London – yes, stress affects us too!
Stresses in life could be a daily experience and could be due to work, life at home, difficult relationships or of financial nature.
Smiling could be the solution you have been looking for. Smiling and laughter can relieve these stresses and instil a positive mood throughout the day.
A great smile can provide you with the physical and mental support you need to overcome these stresses.
The following features define your smile:
Smiling releases “good chemicals” called endorphins giving you a sense of “feel-good factor”.
Smiling helps to relax body muscles, reduces stress and stimulates function of the facial muscles.
When we smile, it influences those around us. Smiles and laughter are contagious because when we see someone else happy, we become happy too.
“At 128 Harley Street Dental Suite, we believe that a nice smile should define you and we take great care at ensuring the nicest of results possible” – Dr Stefan Abela
Some people present with missing teeth, a condition known medically as, Hypodontia.
Hypodontia condition affects 2-6% of the population, people with this condition usually self-refer themselves as they are aware that some teeth are missing or the dentist usually refers them for specialised orthodontic toot movements. Orthodontic tooth movements is usually needed to make space or decrease the space available. The main reason for missing teeth is commonly due to failure of formation of the teeth during their formation stages.
This condition can present itself as 1 missing tooth in the whole mouth to many missing teeth which can be more obvious even to the untrained eye.
Most times this condition is hereditary, however it can occur in children without a family history. Siblings are usually affected in a similar manner however it can also affect one of the siblings, for parents with more than one child.
It most commonly affects the adult teeth, but in rare cases the ‘baby’ or ‘milk’ teeth are also missing.
The best advice is that you ask your general dentist about the condition as it might be part of other medical conditions.
Hypodontia is often associated with other dental anomalies such as small-sized teeth, delayed eruption of teeth, ectopic teeth (teeth developing in the wrong place) and lack of jaw bone which is very relevant in case the patient needs dental implant placement during adulthood.
It is recommended that you look for specialists that can manage this condition. As mentioned above, a very important team member, is the specialist in orthodontics, which is the initial step in achieving a great smile.
We would like to congratulate Dr Milisha on being awarded a Masters of Science degree with distinction in Implant Dentistry from the University of Bristol. This represents three years of dedicated studies with enhanced clinical skills and knowledge in the practice of dental implantology. She has continuously demonstrated advanced skills and kept up to date with the latest technological advancements in this field. Her research focused on minimally invasive dental implants, and was examined by some of the leading implant surgeons in the UK
Scientific research has shown that tooth removal is perceived as more painful than dental implant treatment.
Dental implants are cost-effective in the long term. Removable dentures do not contribute to efficient chewing. The risk of breaking your remaining teeth increases significantly as a result of denture wear. Fixed dental bridges are difficult to clean and destructive on teeth. Bridged teeth are at higher risk of being lost.
Dental implants are made of strong titanium. It cannot catch dental decay.
Dental implants require the highest level of home-care.
Losing teeth will subsequently result in the loss of stimulation to the jaw bone. This in turn causes shrinkage of the bone. Bone loss is rapid in the first 6 months following tooth loss. Dental implants are therefore best placed shortly after tooth removal. Delaying implant placement will most likely result in further jaw bone loss and the need for bone- building procedures.