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Teeth Straightening Braces

Orthodontic dentistry treatment to straighten crooked teeth


Procedure Summary

Surgery Type:


Procedure Duration:

Up to 2 years

Expected Results:

Using braces to align crooked teeth

Recovery Duration:


First used:

Ancient Egypt

Results Duration:

Several years



Average UK Cost:


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Beautifully aligned teeth not only improve your appearance and boost your self-confidence, they are easier to clean and less susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. The branch of cosmetic dentistry that deals with straightening teeth is called Orthodontics, and it usually involves wearing an appliance called a brace. A brace applies gentle pressure to the teeth, gradually moving them into their ideal position.

“After a childhood fall, all the teeth on the left side of my mouth were pushed inwards,” said one man in his 30s. “And, they continued to grow that way until I was an adult. After a suggestion from my dentist that an orthodontic brace might be worthwhile I decided to give it a go. I wore the brace for 12 months, and by the end I had perfectly aligned teeth that enhanced the appearance of my whole face.”

People have always wanted straight teeth. In fact, basic metal bands used to align teeth have been discovered on ancient mummified remains. The first documented use of ligature wire used to bind teeth was discovered in a Roman tomb in Egypt. In the early 1900s, orthodontists used a range of materials to form loops, hooks, spurs and ligatures to manoeuvre teeth into shape. Braces continued to wrap around the front of teeth until the mid-1970s, when the formulation of a suitable adhesive made direct-bonding a possibility. At the same time, systems to place braces on the inside surfaces of the teeth were developed. These braces were the first to fit out-of-sight (or invisible) braces on the inside of the teeth.

Would you benefit from teeth straightening?

As mouths and jaws are developing, the teenage years are an ideal time to opt for orthodontic teeth straightening. Many adults too are having orthodontic dental treatments to straighten their teeth, though the process can take longer (and, therefore, cost more) in the well-established mouths of adults. Typically, adults initially investigate teeth whitening and discover that overlapping or crooked teeth cannot be whitened until they have been straightened. This is one reason why the popularity of orthodontic procedures has rocketed in recent years. The other is that, thanks to technical advances, modern orthodontic braces are relatively pain-free and less noticeable than they once were.

Having your teeth straightened with a brace

Firstly, you will receive a thorough dental examination and have any minor dental issues, such as tooth decay, dealt with. Teeth Straightening BracesThe orthodontist will then decide which type of brace is most suitable for your needs. There are a variety of designs available:

Fixed braces
Small metal brackets are glued to the teeth and linked together with a wire. In some cases, the wires will need to come out of your mouth and attach to a headband that is typically only worn at night.

Removable braces
Plastic braces usually with wire clips and springs to apply pressure to individual teeth. These braces must be removed for cleaning (with a toothbrush and toothpaste) but worn at all other times.

Invisalign braces
A series of almost unnoticeable plastic aligners are applied to the teeth. Invisalign braces are more comfortable than traditional techniques and are easy to remove and keep clean.

When you wear your brace for the first time you may experience some rubbing on the inside of your mouth. If so, ask your dentist for some special wax which will alleviate the problem. You will also have some difficulty speaking normally and produce more saliva than you usually do. There will inevitably be a period while the braces adjust in your mouth and after a few days they will settle into place and you will be able to speak and eat as normal. As one woman put it, “When I first wore my braces I thought I had made a big mistake. They felt so un-natural and restricted my speech. However, just 2 or 3 days later they had settled in and I was barely even aware they were there.”

Orthodontic braces may trap food so extra care needs to be taken when brushing your teeth and your brace. It is best to avoid sweets, fruit juice, fizzy drinks, chewing gum and other foods that could get stuck in the brace. Similarly, hard foods should be cut into small pieces before you eat them.

Who should carry out your teeth straightening?

Choose a dentist that specialises in orthodontic dental work to fit your brace. Often, your local dentist will be able to refer you to a known specialist in your area. Children can have orthodontic treatment free on the NHS. Adults paying for private treatment can expect to pay a minimum of £2,500 for a brace. If an orthodontic brace is something that you are considering, you can discuss all of the issues mentioned here in greater depth during a consultation with a cosmetic dentist.

The content of this article has been verified
by Dr. Harmeet Kaur, BDS. of Apollonia Dental Care.

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