If you or your child has crooked, protruding, crowded, or gapped teeth, an orthodontist can help realign and reposition them for improved oral health and an attractive smile. But what exactly is an orthodontist and how are they different from your general dentist?
This guide from 1A Orthodontics Wandsworth covers:
- Orthodontist definition and specialty
- The importance of correct teeth alignment
- Common orthodontic treatments
- Finding a qualified orthodontist in London
- Costs of orthodontic treatment in the UK
Read on to learn all about the role orthodontics plays in achieving properly positioned, functional teeth and jaws for patients of all ages.
What is an Orthodontist Exactly?
An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed an additional 3 years of advanced education focused exclusively on the diagnosis, prevention and correction of improper bite patterns, misaligned teeth and jaw abnormalities.
After dental school, prospective orthodontists are rigorously trained to master a variety of corrective appliances and surgical techniques aimed at guiding teeth, jaw growth and shifting bite relationships for optimal function and facial aesthetics.
Only dentists who complete orthodontic specialty training can call themselves orthodontists. General dentists can provide some limited orthodontic treatments whereas orthodontists tackle more complex alignment challenges.
Why Proper Teeth Positioning Matters
When teeth develop out of position or bite irregularities exist, a variety of oral health and self-confidence issues can result over time, such as:
- Periodontal disease from crowded, hard to clean teeth
- Tooth decay and chewing difficulties
- Increased teeth chipping/fracturing risks
- Abnormal wear of tooth surfaces
- Jaw joint disorders and chewing muscle pain
- Speech impediment development
- Low smile confidence and self-esteem
The risks associated with orthodontic problems increase with the severity of the misalignment. By guiding erupting teeth into a optimal position early on, orthodontists can prevent a lifetime of dental deterioration that becomes harder to correct in adulthood.
Common Orthodontic Treatments
State-of-the-art tools and techniques modern orthodontists use to align teeth today include:
- Removable plastic aligners like Invisalign®
- Fixed metal or ceramic braces
- Clear ceramic braces for subtle straightening
- Powerful headgear appliances
- Palatal expanders for widening arches
- Retainers to prevent post-treatment shift
- Oral surgery for facilitated tooth movement
The best treatment approach depends greatly on the type of orthodontic problem present and other factors like your age, health status and expected level of patient compliance.
Experienced orthodontists also focus heavily on preventive guidance for those at risk of developing bite issues through interventions like spacing appliances for erupting teeth and myofunctional therapy to curb harmful oral habits.
How to Choose an Orthodontist in London With so many general dentists also providing braces and aligners today, how can you identify a true qualified orthodontics specialist? Here are a few tips:
- Verify specialty certificates in orthodontics which generally display in the dentist’s office
- Ensure the practice focuses exclusively on orthodontic care, not general dentistry
- Ask about their orthodontic case experience – at least 100+ cases is ideal
- Seek an orthodontist actively involved in continuing education to stay current
- Check reviews for doctor communication style, availability and staff friendliness
Taking time to vet orthodontic providers leads to better treatment experiences and successful teeth straightening results.
Orthodontic Treatment Costs in the UK As a specialized domain requiring advanced expertise and precision work over extended periods of time, orthodontic treatment falls on the more expensive side of dentistry, ranging roughly between:
- £2,500 – £5,500 for common treatments
- Premium braces or aligners could reach £8,000+
However most practices break costs down into affordable monthly payments. Many insurers cover a portion of braces and orthodontic treatment for under 18s or based on clear dental necessity.
Post-Treatment Aftercare & Retention
Once your prescribed orthodontic tooth alignment process concludes, retention protocols commence to sustain newly corrected tooth positions long-term. Without permanent retention methods, your teeth will drift back toward their original undesirable positions. Our orthodontists individualize aftercare plans, which commonly include:
These clear plastic appliance trays are custom-fabricated to fit your ideal teeth alignment upon completion of active orthodontic treatment. They must be worn as directed for the first 6-12 months full-time, then overnight while sleeping. They can last 5+ years with proper care and adjustment at periodic retention check visits. Replacement costs range from £150-350.
Fixed Wire Lingual Retainers:
Fixed wire retainers are sometimes permanently bonded behind the front 6 teeth as supplemental retention insurance once braces come off. The thin wire keeps front teeth stabilized in position to prevent gradual relapse of alignment issues but is less noticeable than removable clear plastic trays. Porcelain or clear adhesive makes them discreet. Repairs average £95-150 if loosening or breakage occurs.
Lifelong Checkups & Monitoring
Most orthodontic patients require monitored retention for many years after conclusion of care to ensure teeth alignment stability. Annual or biannual retention checks coupled with routine hygiene visits to your general dentist helps sustain results by catching any orthodontic movement regressions early for minor touch-up measures as needed. Be sure to wear retainers exactly as directed forever!
Payment & Cost Considerations
Orthodontic treatment represents a significant, long-term investment toward an improved smile for life. At 1A Orthodontics Wandsworth, we offer flexible dental financing plans to help offset costs, which commonly fall into these general ranges*:
- Consultations & Records: £200 – 500
- Comprehensive Care w/Braces: £3,000 – 7,500+
- Clear Aligners: £2,800 – 6,500+
- Retention Appliances & Monitoring: £700 – 2,000+ over lifetime
Check our website payment section for current orthodontic specials and affordable monthly payment plan options that work with your budget! Protecting your smile investment is a top priority.
Achieve Healthier Teeth Positioning with an Orthodontist
Abnormal dental development can happen despite thorough oral hygiene efforts. Seeking skilled orthodontic assessment and corrections while still young provides the most lasting benefits with minimal invasive treatments. Contact our best orthodontic in London staff at 1A Orthodontics Wandsworth today to learn more about achieving proper dental alignment and enhanced smile aesthetics!