We all know that in order to be exceptionally good at a particular job or task we need to focus exclusively on one thing. Inevitably, trying to be an expert in all things is just not possible. This blog post is dedicated to people looking for total satisfaction, total orthodontics from a total specialist and seeks to explain why this is often the preferred option.
What is a specialist orthodontist?
Did you know that all orthodontists are also dentists but not all dentists or orthodontists?
An orthodontist is a dentist that has undertaken postgraduate Masters level education focusing totally on orthodontic treatments. They understand the biological processes involved in moving teeth, they understand the impact of moving teeth on biting and chewing. An orthodontist has total understanding of the potential problems and pitfalls that can occur when we try to move teeth and bone. A specialist orthodontist is a total expert in moving teeth!
Are braces worth it?
The question here is always to ask, what is it that you want to achieve with your teeth braces? Wherever possible the dental profession like to maintain the integrity of natural teeth, other ways to straighten teeth including veneers, bonding or dental crowns involve either covering your natural teeth or partial removal of natural tooth structure in order to accept a new dental crown or veneer.
Inevitably, there is then a junction between the restoration and the natural tooth and it’s this junction which can become the weak point, if it lets in even the tiniest amount of bacteria then it is possible for decay to take hold.
If you rely on total orthodontics rather than other restorative procedures then you maintain this tooth integrity and therefore have a higher chance of avoiding decay in years to come.
What determines the cost of dental braces?
The cost of braces is made up of a multitude of factors:
- The premises in which you are seen – many practices have convenient locations in the heart of London, such as Harley Street, these premises have exceptionally high rental values which add to the cost of orthodontic treatment.
- This skill and experience of your orthodontist – with any professional service, particularly a private orthodontic practice, you are paying for the knowledge and experience that has led your professional service provider to be able to deliver the highest quality treatment. Going to see a specialist that focuses totally on orthodontics means that:
- Treatment is right first time.
- You get a wider range of orthodontic treatments.
- Treatment is tailored to your individual requirements around outcomes, treatment time, lifestyle and budget.
- You get the assurance that if things don’t go quite as planned your provider is able to work out the best remedial course of action, there is no need to refer you to a specialist to resolve the problem as they are a specialist themselves!
- Adults and children can both be seen saving you time if you wish to visit with your children.
- The direct costs of running a practice, this typically includes:
- Support team, including reception, management and nurses
- Cross infection control – many practices have dedicated cross infection control areas behind the scenes.
- Consumables – many treatments involve the use of many consumables, including impressions etc
- Utilities of keeping the practice warm, let and powered
- Compulsory insurance/indemnity – this can very often run to many thousands of pounds per year.
- Registration with the General Dental Council.
- Maintaining Continual Professional Development and additional training courses – this ensures you only ever receive the very best treatment.
- The cost of the braces themselves – the raw materials for brackets, wires and purchasing of removable appliances such as Invisalign.
How long does orthodontics treatment take?
People often want to know how long it will take for braces to straighten their teeth, having a total orthodontic treatment can run from anywhere between 7 weeks and 2 years, this is sometimes why patients opt for more rapid teeth straightening treatments such as dental bonding or veneers, however we urge you to take caution with these treatments for the reasons mentioned above.
A good specialist in orthodontics will give you an idea of how long treatment will take and then plot your progress at each visit, this can then be tracked in software which allows you to see how far a long your treatment you have come at any given point.
It also allows your orthodontist to modify treatment if the teeth are not moving as initially planned.
Can I wear a removeable braces without consulting dentist?
There are a variety of online clubs which offer removable braces direct to the patient without seeing a dentist.
Here’s what to think about if you are considering purchasing orthodontics direct:
- A specialist orthodontist offers other treatments, not just a single type of orthodontic appliance. We don’t force you to have a simple appliance like you see on the Internet, you get a choice depending on your budget, ideal treatment time, lifestyle and clinical situation.
- A dentist can also repair fractured teeth improving the look of your overall smile.
- A dentist will offer follow-up reviews to ensure that your money hasn’t been wasted and to ensure relapse doesn’t occur.
- You will have a dentist’s personal contact details to ensure you have no issues during treatment.
- An orthodontist will never send braces out in the post as they want to make sure that you have an accurate fit and that your tooth movement is predictable and measured.
- An orthodontist will ensure that both themselves and you, as the patient, are happy for signing off any treatment.
What happens if I’m not regular in my braces appointments?
One of the advantages of going to someone that specialises in total orthodontics is that you get the highest level of one-to-one care, so not coming to orthodontic appointments firstly means that you may be wasting your valuable money and not receiving the level of care that you would expect.
If your orthodontist doesn’t see you as often as they would like they are also not able to modify treatment accordingly. This can then impact both your results and the treatment time, meaning you may have to wear braces for much longer then you would ideally like.
Regular appointments will also have checks which you are not able to do at home, example brackets may have worked loose without you noticing. Loose bracket, if left could potentially harbour harmful bacteria underneath and lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. At your regular braces appointment your orthodontist will be able to spot the loose bracket and bond it back into place. Another problem with an unnoticed loose bracket is that it won’t be doing the job it is there to do and could therefore extend treatment times.
A total orthodontic treatment is a total investment in yourself and your smile. Visiting a specialist orthodontist gives you the assurance that you’ve got the most appropriate type of braces, offered with the highest level of skill and delivered to give you the ultimate smile.
Dr. Stefan Abela
BChD, MFDS, RCS Eng, MSc, MORTH RCS Ed, AHEA, FDS Orth RCS Ed
Stefan is a Consultant in Orthodontics at one of the most prestigious London teaching hospitals; Guy’s and St Thomas NHS Foundation Trust.
Stefan is also a specialist in Orthodontics and is registered on the General Dental Council (GDC) specialist list. Stefan qualified as a dental surgeon in 2003 and underwent further training in various specialties including restorative dentistry, paediatric dentistry, oral medicine and complex oral and maxillofacial surgery including the management of facial trauma.