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In the UK, orthodontic treatment is provided to around a third of children, highlighting the need to understand the process of getting braces and orthodontics. Often, the first step is finding out whether there is a need for braces. Understanding why you, a loved one or a child needs braces varies with every case and is a process best handled by a dental professional such as an orthodontist. Jonathan Alexander Abt is one such professional at a National Health Services practice in the Isle of Man.

For many individuals who undergo orthodontic treatment, the purpose is often to make the best of a person’s teeth, especially where it concerns issues such as crooked teeth, bite issues, crowded or protruding teeth, and gaps between teeth. Correcting these issues helps keep the teeth and gums healthy and strong, and a person’s smile will benefit as well. The use of braces is common in these cases, and the individual must get them fitted and keep them well-maintained for the duration of the treatment. Typically, treatment can take up to two years, with regular visits to the orthodontist during this period.

Is It the Right Time?

Orthodontic treatment can be applied at nearly any age, but often the ideal time to fit braces is when the patient is young, between 10 and 14 years of age. That’s because the teeth and jaw bones are still developing and can respond much better to straightening. However, since the treatment can bring some trauma to a child who is already in a very self-conscious age bracket, it’s important for parents and guardians to discuss the matter with their children before orthodontic treatment commences.

There are adult braces as well, with adult orthodontic treatment quite popular as a cosmetic dentistry option for those who wish to keep their natural enamel rather than opt for crowns or veneers.

An orthodontist is best placed to recommend the type of brace to get. They are available in three types: plastic (or ceramic), metal, and brackets that are glued to the teeth. The ceramic type tends to be clear or tooth-coloured. Concealed braces are hidden from view since they are attached to the back of teeth. Removable aligners are also an option for those who wish to have some flexibility in their treatment.

For braces to have the required effect, individuals are encouraged to stick with them as prescribed by a dental professional.