The number of adults choosing to have orthodontic treatment in the UK is growing. When carried out correctly, orthodontics can transform the appearance of a smile. This can have benefits for both a person’s physical health and mental wellbeing.     

Orthodontic treatment is complicated and needs a comprehensive understanding of where teeth can be moved to, and how. In the wrong hands, orthodontic treatment can cause serious and permanent damage to the teeth and jaw, so it’s important to do your research and choose the safest option for you and your smile.

Orthodontics aims to move the teeth into a stable position. It works by putting pressure on the teeth, to slowly move them in the right direction. As the pressure takes effect, the bone in the jaw changes to allow the teeth and their roots to move.

The health benefits

There are many health benefits that come with orthodontic treatment. These include:

Straighter teeth

Orthodontics will straighten your teeth or move them into a better position. This will improve their appearance and make them easier to clean.


Some people have teeth that stick outside the mouth/lips. These teeth can be moved back into line to protect them and help keep them clean.


Crooked and crowded teeth can be hard to keep clean. Making them straighter can mean they are easier to clean.

Fixing over/underbite

Teeth that do not meet properly can wear down over time. This can change their appearance. Awkward bites can cause TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) problems – a problem with the jaw joint just in front of the ear.

If you feel you have jaw ache, please ask a dental professional for advice.  

The different types of orthodontic appliances

These are the main types of braces you may be offered.

Fixed braces

Fixed braces are ones you can’t remove yourself. They are made up of brackets, wires and bands which are stuck to your teeth during your treatment. The wire joins all the brackets and allows the teeth to be moved. Treatment usually takes between 12 and 24 months but could take longer if the problem is severe.

Removable braces

These have delicate wires and springs attached to a plastic mould which covers the palate. These move the teeth using gentle pressure. Removable braces are usually only worn for a short time.

Clear aligners

Clear aligner treatment involves a series of specially moulded, clear plastic braces. The small changes in the aligners will gradually move the teeth into position.

Orthodontic treatment may be the best way to improve the appearance your teeth, but it is important that it is carried out safely. Before starting any treatment, discuss all aspects of your treatment with a dentist – this will put you in the safest hands. They will also be able to advise you about the best treatment for your individual needs and help you set realistic outcomes.

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