The facts, fiction and myths on all things toothy, so you're in the know about how to get your best grin yet
The way our teeth look is pretty important to us, with a whopping 81 per cent of us worrying how our teeth look in photos and one in four people hiding them when they smile. It comes as no surprise, then, to hear that adult braces are on the up. Whether you missed the boat on getting them as a teen or went through a treatment but forgot to wear your retainer (yes, those things were given to you for reason), you might now be feeling your teeth aren’t quite in the state you’d like them to be.
But don’t panic! Perfecting those pearly whites doesn’t mean a fast-track ticket to train tracks. There are lots of more discreet options on offer.
Dr Raman Aulakh, a specialist orthodontist at Bow Lane Dental practice, tells us: ‘The main three options for straightening your teeth are lingual braces, clear fixed braces and Invisalign.’
Here, Dr Raman talks us through the treatments…
Are: Fixed metal braces that are placed behind your teeth instead of in front. Pros: They’re completely invisible and work as quickly as fixed braces.
Cons: They can be uncomfortable and irritate your tongue. You might also have a lisp for a while, but this should go once you get used to the braces. Food gets stuck in them easily and you have to make sure you clean them carefully.
Cost: From £4,000
Clear Fixed Braces
Are: Braces with translucent brackets and white wires.
Pros: They’re less visible than metal braces and cheaper than other invisible alternatives.
Cons: They’re not completely invisible and come with all the issues of normal braces. They need to be cleaned carefully after meals to prevent tooth staining and decay. The wires and brackets can be stained by smoking and if you eat certain foods, like curry, and drink lots of red wine or coffee. cost: From £2,800
Are: A set of clear plastic retainers called aligners, which slowly shift your teeth into place.
Pros: They’re virtually invisible, you can take them out and they’re cheaper than lingual braces.
Cons: You have to take them out to eat or drink and then put them back in straight afterwards. Don’t lose them, though, as they’re costly to replace. Oh, and be sure to carry a toothbrush at all times as your teeth need to be clean after eating to put them back on.
Cost: From £2,995
How long do you have to wear them for?
This depends on the severity of the individual case, but anywhere between six months and two years.
Will they hurt?
No, they don’t hurt – it’s more of a pressure that’s felt on the teeth.
How should I choose my orthodontist?
This is a personal choice, but I’d say go on recommendations, testimonials and past case examples. It’s also really important to have a good relationship with your orthodontist, so I’d suggest booking a consultation with them and seeing if you get along first.
Are the results permanent?
Yes, but only when a retention method is used. This can be in the form of a removable retainer that’s worn every night or with a fixed wire behind the teeth. At Bow Lane, we use both methods and they’re included in your treatment plan. what if I can’t afford it right away?
Many practices offer interest-free payment plans for treatments £1,500 and over.
Before & After
Personally, I can’t rave enough about how fantastic my treatment was with Raman. I wore lingual braces for about a year and while they did take a bit of time getting used to, getting them was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Looking at the photos of my teeth before and after my braces, it might seem like a small change but I was insecure about my bottom teeth and had wanted to do something about it for years. Now I feel 100% confident with my teeth and it really has made a massive difference to how I feel.
All I can say is if you’re thinking about getting them, go for it. You will not regret it and it’s worth every penny.