First of all, you need to be referred to your orthodontist at the right time:
Attend your regular check-ups at your dentist
Your dentist will know the right time to refer you (which is usually in your early teens) but will need to be seeing you regularly before then to monitor how you teeth are developing. But referring too early will not necessarily mean that your treatment is started sooner.
Keep your mouth clean, eat and drink the right things
Orthodontic treatment requires a healthy clean mouth so if your mouth is in anything less than tip-top condition, your dentist may not refer you. Fizzy drinks and sweets are also a no-no so try to develop good habits as soon as possible.
It’s a good thing for teenagers and parents to have a bit of background knowledge about orthodontic treatment. Then you can ask your dentist the right questions about if and when an orthodontic referral is appropriate.
Mums and dads…inspire your teens by talking about the benefits of braces so that they understand why they are being referred.
And teenagers…read up on what is involved! Our website has plenty of content for you to get your teeth stuck into (ahem!)…including testimonials form patients of ours that have already been through and come out the other end smiling!
Check on NHS waiting times in your area
Your dentist will be aware on the NHS waiting times for your local specialist orthodontic practices.
If you are prepared to travel, you may be able to be referred to an orthodontic practice with a shorter waiting list. However you will have to have all your treatment done there…so be sure that you can continue making the trips during the course of the treatment (which can be up to 2 years long).
Secondly, once your braces are on you need to keep your treatment time as short as possible:
Keep your braces in one piece
Continual breakages really slow things down, as well as needing more trips to your orthodontist for repairs. Be sure to follow the advice given to you by your orthodontic team (stay off the sweets!).
Don’t miss your appointments
Failed appointments mean that your brace treatment will become less effective. It means that at some stages your teeth may not be moving at all and that your braces will be on for longer.
Wear your elastics!
Often towards the end of treatment we ask our patients to wear elastic bands on the braces. This is usually so that we can get the teeth into as perfect a position as we can.
If the elastic are not worn as advised, your treatment can drag on! So try as hard as you can…the end is probably in sight!
And if it doesn’t work out?
We can’t always get braces off for proms.
Maybe because we had to start treatment a little later for you, maybe your treatment is complex and has taken a bit longer, maybe their have been breakages or missed appointments along the way.
If we can, we will. But it is probably not worth sacrificing your perfect smile for just one night of glitz and glam! So we might advise you to stick with it and keep them on.
Why not accessorise with your jazziest brace colours instead…and remember that your Hollywood smile is probably waiting for you just around the corner!
About Cleveland Orthodontics
Our specialist-led practice has been established since 1996 and provides brace treatment to people of all ages from across the North East, including Middlesbrough, Yarm, Stockton-on-Tees, Billingham and Redcar.
We offer NHS orthodontic treatment for children and a range of modern white and “invisible” braces for adults of all ages such as Invisalign. FREE consultations are available… you can either telephone for an appointment on 01642 243 020 or book through our website.