Invisalign® & Fixed Braces FAQ’s

General Orthodontics

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

You might assume that there isn’t much difference between a dentist and an orthodontist. However, not only do they provide different treatments, but they also have different qualifications.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a qualified specialist who has first trained to become a dentist, and then undertaken a further three year full-time postgraduate course at Masters or Doctorate level. Orthodontic training posts are highly sought after and before a dentist can begin his/her orthodontic training they need to gain experience working in maxillofacial surgery, restorative dentistry and paediatric dentistry.

Specialist training takes place in hospitals linked to university dental schools and it is a full time commitment. Trainees learn the theory of orthodontics and also gain experience treating patients with a wide range of malocclusions.

At the end of their studies, trainee orthodontists sit the Membership in Orthodontics examination of the Royal College of Surgeons. This qualification, along with a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training allows them to register as a specialist orthodontist with the General Dental Council.

Can my general dentist provide orthodontic treatment?

Yes, general dentists can provide orthodontic treatment and some do so to a very high standard. However, in most cases they are unlikely to have the same level of experience and training as a specialist orthodontist.

Once qualified, an orthodontist will usually only provide orthodontic treatment, so they quickly develop their skills and treat a wide range of cases, from the mild to the highly complex.

Will I still need to see my regular dentist?

Yes. It will be important for you to continue to have check-ups with your regular dentist throughout orthodontic treatment so that your teeth can be checked for decay.


How long does treatment take?

Every case is different. If your teeth have a lot of movement to achieve, it will take longer than if they are only moving a small amount. Treatment can span from between 6 months to 20 months.

Can I eat or drink while wearing the aligners?

You should avoid eating and drinking with the aligners in. Water is fine, but for everything else, simply remove you aligners, then you can eat and drink whatever you like!

Will the aligners make me speak differently?

As is the case with all orthodontic appliances, your speech may be affected when you first start wearing the aligners. Your tongue just has to get used to having the aligners in your mouth. It usually takes no more than a couple days for the lisp to go. Do lots of talking and singing out loud and you will adapt to it really quickly!

Does Invisalign® hurt?

It’s normal to feel a slight ache when first wearing the aligners as the teeth move. You can easily manage the discomfort with over-the-counter painkillers such as paracetamol.

How long do I have to wear the retainer?

It’s necessary to wear a removable retainer or fixed wire after your orthodontic treatment to prevent your straight smile from moving out of position. After a period of time, your teeth will stabilise in their new position, however it is recommended that you keep wearing your retainer (maybe once a week, forever) as teeth have a habit of shifting around as we get older.

Fixed Braces

What do I do if my brace breaks?

Get in touch and we will arrange an appointment for you. It’s important to fix any damage as it can slow down your treatment or cause problems if a wire is sticking out or a bracket rubbing.

Will the brace affect what I can eat?

In order to prevent damage to both your teeth and brace, you will need to:

  • Avoid sugary snacks/drinks between meals and at bedtime.
  • Avoid sticky, chewy sweets, such as toffee, Haribo sweets and chewing gum
  • Avoid fizzy and acidic drinks such as cola, diet cola and fizzy water. Fruit juices are ok, but only in small quantities and try to keep to meal time only.
  • Avoid hard or chewy foods – such as apples, carrots and crusty bread because these can damage your brace
What do I do if there is rubbing?

We will provide orthodontic wax and show how you can use it to eliminate any rubbing, however that is a short-term fix. If you experience any discomfort, please get in touch and we can help rectify the issue.

Do braces hurt?

It is normal to feel a bit of discomfort as your teeth begin to move. The discomfort is usually at its worst on the day after the brace has been fitted or adjusted. Within a week, things will have returned to normal. We recommend taking some pain relief to address any discomfort.

How often should I see my orthodontist?

Usually, we like to arrange appointments every 6 – 8 weeks, however we will let you know during your treatment if we need to see you a bit sooner, or whether you can be left a bit longer between appointments. It is really important to attend all of your appointments to ensure your treatment progresses in the most efficient way.

Will orthodontic treatment damage my teeth?

Provided you listen to our advice about what to eat and brush your teeth as advised, the braces will not damage your teeth at all.

It is important that you brush your teeth well for at least 3 minutes, twice a day, using a Fluoride toothpaste. Use Interdental brushes to clean under your wires too. Use alcohol-free Fluoride mouthrinse daily at a different time to when you brush your teeth. Avoid eating or rinsing for 20 minutes after using it.

Will I still be able to play contact sports?

Yes, but we recommend that you wear a mouthguard. This will also be the case if you take part in activities requiring a protective helmet e.g. roller-blading, skateboarding and horse riding. Sports mouthguards are available in the practice and we are able to make custom-fitted mouthguards at the end of your treatment, when we remove your braces

What if I play a musical instrument?

A fixed brace may make it more difficult for you to play your wind or brass instrument. You will need to discuss this with your music teacher and orthodontist. Invisalign® orthodontic treatment is a really good option for musical patients because you can take it out when you are playing or singing!

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