Children who qualify for NHS treatment are treated initially with fixed metal braces and then with removable retainers, which together deliver excellent clinical outcomes.
Fixed braces are usually worn for 18 to 24 months, depending on the complexity of your child’s case. In most cases braces will need to be adjusted every six to 12 weeks.
Metal braces are the most well-known orthodontic treatment and they deliver reliable, long term results. These are never off-the-shelf solutions; they require a careful study of your child’s mouth before a detailed treatment plan can be devised by the specialist orthodontist. The key measure of success is not simply where teeth end up, but whether they stay there.
Metal braces consist of brackets, which are small squares that are bonded directly to the front of each tooth to act like handles, and archwire that exerts pressure on the brackets to slowly move the teeth.
Brackets have elastic or metal ties holding the archwire and springs may be placed on the archwire to push, pull, open, or close the spaces between teeth.
As the teeth move, the jawbone accommodates the new position of the tooth roots. The patient must continue seeing their orthodontist after treatment has finished to ensure the teeth remain in a sustainable position.
Your child will be able to eat normally while wearing a fixed appliance. However, they should avoid certain foods and drinks such as toffee, hard sweets and fizzy drinks, because they can damage the appliance and their teeth.
If your child plays a contact sport such as rugby, they should wear a gum shield to protect both their mouth and the appliance.
In most cases it is far easier to straighten teeth in under-18s than it is in older people. Before treatment our patients nearly always have their second teeth through, unless there is another reason for early intervention such as an impacted tooth that needs urgent attention.
Orthodontic treatment is a complex balancing act that exerts pressure on teeth while taking into account all the other forces at play in the mouth. If your child has qualified for treatment, all these complications will be carefully considered by our specialist orthodontist.