How to Find an Orthodontist in Essex

How to find an orthodontist

The most important questions to ask when looking for an orthodontist

If you have crooked teeth and live in the Essex, Hornchurch area then you may well be looking for an orthodontist to help you straighten crooked teeth with braces.

But how do you know which dentist/orthodontist is best?

How do you know if you will get the treatment and service you are looking for?

In this blog post we go through some of the questions that we recommend you ask a dentist in order to help you decide if this is the right person for you.

How many years experience do you have?

The more cases your dentist or orthodontist have seen then the more likely it is they will be able to recognise the best course of treatment for you. There will also be more aware of potential problems which can arise from each of the different types of treatment, this means an experienced dentist or orthodontist may help you to avoid unforeseen problems in the future.

Which orthodontic systems do you offer?

There are a wide variety of orthodontic brace systems on the market, some systems are able to move teeth great distances, including back teeth. Some braces are more focused around the cosmetic anterior teeth.

Some systems offer rapid orthodontics whilst others offer low-cost and cheaper braces.

Whilst even more systems offer imperceptible orthodontics using clear aligners, clear brackets with tooth coloured wires or brackets on the tongue side of your teeth.

Ideally, visiting an Essex dentist which offers the widest range of orthodontic systems means you get the biggest choice and a system perfectly tailored to your requirements, clinical situation and budget.

Can you show me before and after photographs of previous cases you have treated.

Being able to see before and after photographs of cases similar to your own is a great way to understand the kind of results you can expect to achieve.

Be clear about what it is you want to correct, do you feel your top teeth stick out too much (overbite)? Is it that your top teeth are rotated and look crowded? Or something else? When you go to visit your orthodontist or dentist be very specific about what it is you don’t like and ask to see similar cases that they have treated before.

Can you show me reviews that patients have written about your orthodontic treatment?

Any good dental practice will gather together reviews and testimonials by happy patients. The key thing here is to see the reviews that have been left by patients that have specifically had orthodontics. That way you know that your dentist or orthodontist comes specifically recommended for the braces they offer.

How long will each treatment take?

Treatment times vary incredibly between different types of braces, anything from 9 weeks up to a couple of years! It really depends on the type of system and your clinical situation coupled with what you want to achieve.

Being very clear about how long you want the treatment to take, or even if you want it to be finished by a specific date or event can be really helpful when looking for an orthodontist to ensure you find one that offers braces which fitting with your timescale requirements.

What are the payment options for treatment?

As with many things in life orthodontic treatments can often be quite expensive. Asking about payment plans such as monthly or staged amounts or even 0% finance can make treatments much more affordable. Many orthodontic systems can be made available from as little as £42* per month.

How frequent will my follow-up visits the throughout the treatment?

Different dentists, orthodontists and braces systems have different follow-up protocols. Understanding how many times you may need to visit the dentist and how often can have a big impact on which dentist or orthodontist you choose.

In order to find this out you may find you need to have an initial consultation so that your clinician can take a look at the clinical situation and you can have a discussion about which brace system is right for you.

You will however typically need to visit the orthodontist or dentist once every 4-6 weeks for most orthodontic systems.

What levels of service and care will I receive?

We all know that service really matters, so what’s important to you about the service you receive? Would you like to communicate with the practice by phone, text or e-mail? Does the dentist or orthodontist offer the communication preferences you prefer?

Many practices offer online booking of appointments, is this important for you?

When you visit the practice, are you looking for a practice that is modern and new with the most up-to-date equipment?

Be clear about what it is you want to receive and what’s important to you, you can then look for clues as to whether the practice can offer this as well as asking them directly.

What hours do you open?

Many people work long and unsocial hours. If you need an orthodontist in Essex, local to you,  then it’s important to find one that fits around your schedule.

Ask about early mornings and late evening appointments, you may also find that some practices offer Saturday appointments which can be useful if you live locally.

The last thing you want is a dentist where you are required to visit once every four weeks at appointment times that don’t fit in with your schedule, that can mean that your orthodontic appointments come delay and treatment times can then extend beyond what you initially expect.

*Subject to status. Conditions apply. Representative example. Cash price of braces £2000; 60 monthly payments of £42; total amount repayable £2520.22; representative 9.9% APR variable

Invisible Braces & Orthodontics – An Overview

Conventional dental braces have been a very effective and popular orthodontic device for correcting a wide range of orthodontic problems like misaligned teeth, crooked teeth, teeth with excessive or uneven gaps etc. One of the problems associated with braces was poor aesthetics due to their metallic appearance. Naturally, people who were conscious of their smile and appearance did not like wearing braces, except where absolutely clinically necessary.

These metal fixed braces were a rather un-aesthetic way of improving your smile. Orthodontists and technologists realized this problem and have come up with some alternative orthodontic solutions which are invisible to various degrees. If you are not happy with wearing conventional steel braces but need orthodontic correction, you can look at the alternatives below.

1.      Lingual Orthodontics

Lingual invisible braces

To move the archwire and the brackets out of sight of people, dentists can give you braces with the archwire and the brackets on the tongue-side (or lingual side) of the teeth. Teeth straightening with this type of brace is called lingual braces. Lingual braces are aesthetically far superior to the conventional braces and are particularly popular with adults because they are more conscious of their looks.

The downside of Lingual Braces

·        Inconvenience – despite being less conspicuous, lingual braces do pose some problems as the brackets come in between the tongue and the teeth. As a result, the tongue movement is hampered because of the reduced space available, and you will also feel a little odd for some time.

·        Difficulty in Playing instruments – Also, if you play wind instruments, you may have some difficulty operating them with lingual braces.

·        Special Training Required – Not all dentists are trained in providing treatment with lingual braces. Special training is required in addition to the basic dentistry degree to be able to apply lingual orthodontics.

You will need to have a full smile assessment prior to having this type of virtually invisible braces in order to determine your suitability.

2.       Clear Brackets with Tooth Coloured Wires

Clear brackets with tooth coloured wiresThis is yet another cosmetic alternative to the standard braces. The archwire is made tooth coloured to reduce its visibility against the background formed by your teeth. And the brackets are made of transparent plastic or tooth coloured ceramic so that they are not noticed. In addition, clear or transparent ligatures are used to enhance aesthetics.

Generally, the ceramic brackets are designed in such a way that they do not stain easily. However, the ligatures tend to stain easily, but this is not a big issue as they will be replaced on each visit.

The Price of Improved Aesthetics with Ceramic Braces

Ceramic clear braces are weaker than the conventional metallic braces. Therefore, they require a longer treatment time as orthodontists apply milder forces to make sure that the brackets are not overloaded. In addition, treatment with ceramic braces is costlier as compared to the conventional metallic braces.

Having a confident smile is extremely important during treatment as well is after, so straight teeth with this type of orthodontic brace can be really beneficial. No one need know you have braces fitted.

3.      Invisalign Clear Aligners

Invisible bracesIn the category of orthodontic teeth alignment appliances, the Invisalign™ aligners sit at the top of the lot. A product created by engineering and dental technology the Invisalign treatment is very popular. It has really taken the orthodontic field by a storm.

How Invisalign Works

The treatment consists of wearing a custom-made plastic aligner looking like a teeth guard for two (or one week, in some cases) which moves your teeth through a pre-planned shift. Then the next numbered aligner is put on for a similar period. Successively numbered aligners move your teeth through pre-determined stages, and by the time you remove your last aligner your teeth have moved as planned to give you an excellent smile.

Some patients may be suitable for Invisalign Lite which is a reduced time system suitable for moving cosmetic front teeth only.

Invisalign Teen may also help with younger patients, these have a series of indicators letting the clinician and parents know whether the braces are being worn for the required amount of time

How You Get the Invisible Aligners

At the start, the dentist takes impressions, photos, and x-rays of your teeth as they are. The impressions are digitized into a computer software which can display these in 3-D. Another specialized software helps the dentist plan a gradual movement plan for your teeth again showing the teeth in their intermediate stages, and the final stage (which you can see). This plan is fed to a computer-aided machining system which makes two to three dozen of numbered aligners which when worn continuously, and in turn, move through the planned stages.

Many practices offer a free no obligation consultation for Invisalign, so it’s worth asking if this is possible from your dental practice.

Wearing retainers

A retainer, another appliance like the last aligner, is worn for about six months to consolidate the tooth movement already achieved. This retainer practice is common with the braces correction.

Invisible braces – The Bottom Line

All orthodontic treatments have their own merits and problems. If you have an orthodontic problem, consult a good orthodontist. In case of mild to moderate orthodontic problems, and if there are no technical limitations, Invisalign often gives the best value for your money. However, for more complex cases, conventional or lingual braces may prove to be the treatment of choice.

Please also see our other blog posts talking about Invisalign and straightening crooked teeth