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FAQs

The world of orthodontics can be overwhelming at first glance, but don't worry. We're here to answer all your questions - and help you feel confident about treatment. For starters, we've compiled answers to the questions we are most commonly asked by our patients.

Common Questions About Fixed Braces

Treatment can take anywhere between six and 36 months, depending on how major or minor your orthodontic needs are. We'll assess your need for orthodontic treatment at your initial consultation, and advise you then how long it will take to achieve your stunning smile.

Yes, and make sure you do it several times a day! Having braces can give plaque more places to hide, so we advise brushing after every meal and using a fluoride mouthwash every evening. Once you've had your braces fitted, we'll show you some techniques for brushing your teeth.

Whether you are wearing fixed, ceramic or lingual braces, we recommend you avoid foods and drinks that are high in sugar content, as well as fizzy drinks and sticky, chewy or particularly hard foods.

To help prevent staining, especially in the early stages of treatment, we also advise against eating and drinking certain foods that are high in colour, such as curries and red wine.

We also recommend you eat a softer diet for the first few days following treatment to help your mouth settle. Although orthodontic treatment doesn't hurt, the first few days after fitting or adjustments can cause your teeth to be a little tender. Our team will give you dietary advice

As well as regular check-up here at Dorset Orthodontics, it is important to maintain routine appointments with your usual dentist and hygienist. We will work with your dentist throughout your treatment and keep them up to date with how your treatment is progressing.

Common Questions About Invisalign® and Spark Aligners

Treatment can take anywhere between six and 24 months, depending on how major or minor your orthodontic needs are. We'll assess your smile concerns at your initial consultation, assess your teeth and smile and advise you then how long it will take to achieve your stunning smile.

Anything! Because you remove your aligners before you eat and drink anything, your diet does not need to change for aligner treatment. Food and drink can stain or warp the aligners, meaning that your teeth may not move to the planned and desired position, which is why they need to be removed first. We also recommend a softer diet for the first few days after changing aligners as the your teeth may be a little tender and need a few days to settle down

No, but for the first few weeks following the fitting of your aligners, you may find your teeth ache a little and your cheeks or tongue are sore as they become accustomed to your new aligner.

No, although it is still very important to clean your teeth, please remove the aligners first. We advise brushing after every meal and flossing and using a fluoride mouthwash every evening.

No, we recommend that you remove your aligners before eating and drinking, with the exception of drinking cold water. Any food and drink can stain or warp the aligners, meaning that your teeth may not move to the planned and desired position. We also recommend a softer diet for the first few days after changing aligners as the your teeth may be a little tendered need a few days to settle down.

As well as regular check-up here at No1 The Orthodontic Specialists, it is important to maintain routine appointments with your usual dentist and hygienist. We will work with your dentist throughout your treatment and keep them up to date with how your treatment is progressing.

Common Questions About Retainers

People often use the word retainer for any removable appliances. However, orthodontists do not call active removable braces (braces that move teeth) retainers. Retainers are appliances that are provided or fitted after completion of orthodontic treatment. Their job is to retain or to keep the teeth fixed in their new corrected positions, and they are passive not active. Here are some common questions about retainers, and our specialist orthodontists' answers to those questions.

Retainers are appliances that maintain and hold the alignment of your teeth and the improvement of your bite after the completion of active orthodontic treatment. They are usually passive and are not designed to move teeth. Even after orthodontic treatment, your teeth can lose their alignment throughout growth and even in adulthood. For example, most people notice increasing irregularity of their lower front teeth with age. Retainers are designed to prevent such undesirable changes.

Orthodontic treatment involves stretching elastic ligaments in the gum to move the teeth into chosen positions. Once these appliances are removed, the elastic ligaments try to pull the teeth back to their starting positions.

It takes time for these fibres to remodel and stop pulling on the teeth. Continued growth of the jaws can also encourage the teeth to move once treatment has been completed. To help avoid this orthodontic relapse, we provide our patients with retainers.

Your orthodontist will recommend retainers lifetime to reduce the chances of your teeth reverting to their original position. However, as teeth move as a part of the natural ageing process, wearing a retainer indefinitely will preserve your new smile for longer.

You may notice some initial discomfort in the first week of wearing a retainer, but this isn't painful and should only last for a week at most. Bonded or fixed retainers may feel a little off or abrasive to the tongue for the first 2-3 days, but you soon get used to them. Please don't explore your bonded retainers with your tongue.

Do not leave your removable retainers lying around outside their container. Do not carry the retainers loose in your pockets or your bag. Do not wrap up your retainers in tissue paper or a napkin and then leave them lying around. To avoid damage to, or loss of your retainers, always store them in their container/box when they are not being worn.

To keep your retainers clean, brush them with your regular toothbrush and toothpaste whenever you brush your own teeth. You may wish to purchase retainer cleaning tablets from a chemists as an extra measure.

Do not wash your retainers in very warm or boiling water; do not expose them to heat (such as hot drinks, or the dishwasher!); and do not use bleach or household disinfectants or chemicals to clean your retainers.

Always insert or remove your retainers according to your orthodontist's instructions. Do not get into the habit of clicking them in and out. This can be damaging to your teeth and your retainers, and be very annoying to those around you!

If you don't wear retainers the irregularity of your teeth is likely to relapse to some degree, and it will be very hard to correct again. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed is the best guarantee of keeping your teeth straight for a lifetime.

Yes, you should brush your teeth as normal twice a day, and floss once a day. With night-time removable retainers you will need to take them out for snacks and clean them and your teeth afterwards.

Do not use ordinary between teeth connected together with a fixed retainer. Your hygienist will advise you about how to clean your teeth interdentally where you have a fixed/bonded retainer.

You can also get additional help in keeping your mouth clean by using a fluoride mouthwash once a day.

Yes! Regardless of the type of orthodontic treatment you are having, you should always continue to arrange six-monthly check-ups with your usual dentist, and continue to see your hygienist.

CONTACT DORSET ORTHODONTICS as soon as possible for an emergency appointment and/or advice. Do not wait for your next scheduled appointment as this may result in unwanted tooth movement. Very occasionally we may be able to remake your retainer in your absence. A charge is made for replacing damaged or lost retainers. Repeated damage to, or loss of your retainers will result in partial relapse of the original condition of your bite.

Without your fixed retainer, the irregularity of your teeth is likely to relapse to some degree, and it will be very hard to correct again. Wearing retainers exactly as instructed is the best guarantee of keeping your teeth straight for a very long time.

You should expect to keep a fixed/bonded retainer on for as long as possible. That is to say for as long as you want your teeth to stay straight.

Yes, you should brush around your fixed retainer and all your teeth as normal twice a day. However when you have fixed retainers, you cannot use ordinary floss between the teeth connected together by the fixed retainer. You will need to use other dental aids to help you clean in between those teeth, such as small interdental brushes or Super-Floss.

Your hygienists will help you to establish a good home regime that you can follow easily and which will help you take care of both your teeth and the retainer. You can also get additional help in keeping your mouth clean by using a fluoride mouthwash once a day.

CONTACT DORSET ORTHODONTICS as soon as possible for an emergency appointment and/or advice. Do not wait for your next scheduled appointment as this may result in unwanted tooth movement. Maintenance of your fixed retainer will be carried out free of charge for up to 6 months following the completion of your active treatment. After this, a fee may be charged for repair or replacement of your fixed retainers.

Common Questions About Teeth whitening

To allow you to undertake teeth whitening at your convenience, we provide a mouthguard that has been created especially for you based on an impression of your teeth. You will use this mouthguard to regularly apply the whitening gel over a period of 2-4 weeks.

Only a registered dentist or dental therapist/hygienist is legally able to carry out teeth whitening. Treatments undertaken by beauticians or kiosks are illegal. Commercial kits are not always assessed for safety and could seriously damage your teeth.

We can guarantee that whitening treatment at Dorset Orthodontics is top quality and carried out by trained professionals.

While it varies for each person, treatment typically lasts up to two years if staining foods, drinks and smoking are avoided. Once you have your mouthguards, you can simply purchase additional top-ups from us to ensure your teeth maintain their lustre.

Common Questions About Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are small, quick and easy to get used to – with most children adapting to them within a few days. Your dentist at Happy Kids Dental will provide you with special instructions regarding oral hygiene, cleaning and diet, to keep the space maintainer in top condition and prevent food and decay-causing plaque from building up around it.

There are a few simple rules to follow once space a maintainer has been fitted.

It is best to be careful when eating sticky or crunchy foods as these can break the seal that holds the appliance in place

Don't tug or push on the space maintainer with your fingers or tongue

Keep in mind that a space maintainer will create a space in which food can become easily trapped. So, making sure your child brushes their teeth properly is very important, as food can cause gum irritation or decay

If the appliance becomes loose and comes off, we recommend you store it in a safe place and come back to Dorset Orthodontics to re-cement it within 48 hours. If more time passes, you child's teeth may begin to shift, making it difficult (or impossible) to re-fit the existing appliance

Every child is unique, so we recommend you visit a paediatric dentist in the first instance, as they will be able to use their extensive knowledge of child development to assess your child's specific needs. At Dorset Orthodontics, we are able to assess the position of the permanent tooth within the bone by studying digital X-rays and then measuring the depth of bone through which the adult tooth will have to pierce before it is visible in the mouth.

Not all lost baby teeth create a need for the placement of a space maintainer. It simply depends on how long it will take the permanent tooth to erupt. If the dentist feels that the permanent tooth will come into place before any detrimental tooth shifting has had the chance to take place, then one won't be required.

Another clinical scenario in which there is no need to fit an appliance is with the loss of front teeth. While we appreciate that this can be unsettling for the parent and child involved, due to the anatomy of the bone in the frontal region, no space will be lost when this occurs.

Finally, if the X-ray confirms that half (or more) of the adult tooth is already formed and that the tooth is positioned close to the gum, space maintenance is not advisable.

A rule of thumb for this is that if your child's baby molars have come out before the age of 8 ½, in most instances it is too early. During a timely development process, these teeth would not be expected to come out before the age of 9 or 10.

There are multiple studies that suggest that almost all cases of baby molar loss (1st or 2nd), result in some degree of space loss. Most of the space lost is sacrificed during the first 6 months following the loss of the baby tooth.

A space maintainer is a custom fit appliance made of metal.

Space maintainers are fixed to the surrounding teeth. The most common type of space maintainer is the band and loop. This method sees a band cemented around the tooth behind the vacant space. From there, the maintainer is looped around the gum, resting on the tooth in front of the space.

This procedure will keep that space and allow the new permanent tooth to grow into its proper place.

The best space maintainer is the natural tooth itself. Despite all of the benefits that placing a space maintainer offers, preserving the original natural tooth is still the optimal course.



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