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Get Your Perfect Smile: A Complete Guide for NHS & Private Orthodontic Patients

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Get Your Perfect Smile

Everyone desires a beautiful smile that lights up the room when they walk through the door.

You’ve probably been thinking about improving your smile for a long time, whether it’s a crooked tooth, gaps, or your bite that causes you discomfort.

If you want to find out everything you need to know about orthodontic treatment, read on!

Why Do You Need This Ultimate Guide to Orthodontic Treatment?

orthodontic treatment

When it comes to having a beautiful smile, most people get it for the obvious reason: to look better.

However, there are numerous other advantages to having straight teeth, many of which you probably haven’t even thought of. Here’s a rundown of the most important ones:

#1 To look better: According to studies, one of the first things that catches our eye when meeting someone is their smile. Did you know that it only takes milliseconds to form an impression of someone?

Talking to someone at work, having lunch with an old friend, or going on a date: in all these situations, the first thing you’ll notice is their smile. The truth is that people with aesthetically pleasing smiles are usually perceived as more approachable, trustworthy, knowledgeable, sincere, smart, happier, and successful.

#2 To feel better: Simply put, when we’re happy, we smile. Things work the other way around too. Did you know that a simple smile can lift our spirits? When we smile, our brains release little molecules called neurotransmitters, including dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins.

When we’re happy, they serve as signals from our body to the brain that we are enjoying ourselves. These neurotransmitters promote relaxation, reduce blood pressure, and ease physical stress. Therefore, on a biochemical level, not smiling can have an impact on your overall well-being.

#3 For health reasons: Keeping your teeth free of plaque is one of the easiest ways to avoid long-term health conditions like cavities, gum disease, and bone disease.

Having crooked teeth makes cleaning certain areas difficult. Consequently, your chances of getting each of these diseases increases without near-perfect oral hygiene practice.

Straightening your teeth can reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum inflammation by making the spaces between your teeth easier to access, clean, and floss.

Having straight teeth can reduce the possibility of food getting stuck between them – as this frequently results in bad breath, irritation, and even infections that can spread to other parts of the body.

Additionally, your bite will be much healthier after having your teeth aligned, because it will also enhance how well they fit together.

To make sure that the chewing force is dispersed equally throughout your mouth, you have to make sure that all of your teeth are biting down properly. This lessens the chance that you’ll accidentally break any teeth by using excessive force.

A tooth can shatter if enough force is applied to it, requiring time-consuming and expensive restoration procedures.

Loss of bone around your teeth is also less likely with an equal bite. This becomes more crucial as you get older and the natural support for your teeth starts to erode.

#4 To increase your confidence: Many children are teased at school about their teeth, and this can have long-term effects on a child’s emotional development.

Adults can struggle with confidence as well, especially given that avoiding smiling at all costs can have a negative impact on your social life and how others perceive you.

People with nice smiles have higher self-esteem, according to studies. It has also been demonstrated that they are likely to be more outgoing and popular among their peers. Not only that, but they also tend to do better at job interviews. Talk about a confidence boost!

And these are just some of the advantages that you’ll enjoy once you get started on your orthodontic treatment.

Are You Eligible for Orthodontic Treatment?

Usually, children can get braces once they have all of their adult teeth, at around 10-12 years old. Some children can even benefit from early interceptive treatment even before that age. That can shorten the amount of time your child needs to wear braces, saving you both time and money in the long run.

However, there is a common misconception that only children are eligible candidates for orthodontic treatments. False!

Nearly any adult can benefit from orthodontic treatment today. In fact, wearing braces as an adult is extremely common. It’s perfectly normal for teeth to change their position over the years, and this might prompt you to look into getting orthodontic treatment later in life.

A lot of adults were led to believe that they are too old to have their teeth corrected. Despite these concerns, many adults in the UK seek orthodontic treatment and wear braces. An orthodontist can reposition your teeth at any age, as long as they are in good shape.

The primary distinction between treating children and adults is that younger patients’ jawbones are still developing. Adults may experience issues with tooth decay, gum or bone loss, worn or missing teeth, or both.

Whether you didn’t finish your orthodontic treatment plan earlier in life, i.e., failed to wear your retainers, or did not have access to orthodontic care, it’s never too late to look into starting a treatment or just getting a tidy up.

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What Are Your Options When It Comes to Orthodontic Treatment?

You probably grew up thinking that old-school metal braces are the only available option when it comes to getting your teeth straightened. Nothing further from the truth! There are many types of orthodontic treatment options available now, and your orthodontist will recommend the one that fits your needs best. Here’s a rundown of the most popular options:

Traditional Braces

Traditional braces or fixed braces are still a popular method of orthodontic treatment across the United Kingdom for people of all ages. Here are the main elements of fixed braces:

Brackets: These are small hardware pieces that are bonded to the teeth. A bracket is typically a square that is attached to the front of a tooth. Brackets are available in stainless steel (for NHS patients) and ceramic. The visual impact of your braces can be minimised by using inconspicuous tooth-coloured, ceramic brackets.

Bands: These act as anchors for the fixed appliances and are wrapped around the back molar teeth.

Arch wires: These connect to brackets and bands. Depending on your situation, your orthodontist will tighten or loosen the wires, usually once a month, to guide and move teeth into the desired position. They are available in metal or tooth-coloured varieties.

Lingual Braces

Similar to standard braces, lingual braces – or invisible braces – are attached to your teeth to realign them. Your orthodontist will place the brackets on the back of your teeth, out of sight, in order to attach a lingual brace.

The benefit of this approach is that you still get a pleasant smile without having to worry about looking silly while wearing braces.

Lingual Braces

Clear Aligners/ Invisalign

Clear Aligners are also an effective orthodontic appliance meant to straighten your teeth and improve your smile. In short, you wear a clear plastic aligner tray over your teeth (similar to a retainer) instead of brackets and wires. These trays, which may be taken out for eating and practising hygiene during the day, are changed every week to adapt to the way the alignment of your teeth changes.

Although it is a private orthodontic treatment, the main benefit of using clear aligners is that no one will be able to tell that you are wearing one, because they are virtually invisible. This implies that you will not be dealing with confidence concerns during your orthodontic treatment. You’ll look exactly the same, except that as time goes on, your teeth will become straighter.

From a convenience standpoint, clear aligners are a great idea, especially if you can’t skip work or school to go to your appointments. Because this option works well with Dental Monitoring and Invisalign Virtual Care, your orthodontist will be able to track the progress remotely.


A retainer is an orthodontic device that keeps your teeth from moving after you’ve had your braces removed. Your new tooth position may take 6-12 months to become permanent.

During this time, your teeth will try to return to their original position, a process known as relapse. When used as directed, a retainer prevents this from happening.

Retainers can be either removable or fixed. If you’re an NHS patient, your doctor will give you a removable retainer you need to wear during the night. If you’re a private patient, your orthodontist will most likely give you a removable retainer for your upper teeth, as well as place a fixed one on the back of your lower teeth. However, in some cases, because of some conditions you may have, it is possible for your orthodontist to only give you a removable retainer.

Orthodontic Elastics

A special kind of rubber band called an orthodontic elastic is used in conjunction with braces to assist in correcting additional jaw issues or aligning your teeth. These bands can move your jaw forward or backwards to correct your bite and speed up the process of realigning your teeth.


Adults who have severe issues with the placements of their teeth and jaws that orthodontic treatment alone cannot address are typically advised to undergo surgical orthodontics. In some cases, surgical orthodontics may be required to treat a birth defect or treat those whose jaws have been harmed in an accident.

What To Expect When Starting Orthodontic Treatment

Whether you’re looking into a private orthodontic treatment or an NHS treatment for yourself or a loved one, the process can seem daunting, especially with so much information floating around the internet.

Every mouth is unique, as are every bite and smile. Some issues are mild and require a simple treatment plan to fix. In some cases, additional oral health conditions may require a more extensive treatment plan or even surgery.

While the extent, cost, and duration of orthodontic treatments vary from case to case, there are some general things you can expect as you begin the process.

Step 1: Book Your Initial Consultation

Speaking with your general dentist or your child’s paediatric dentist is an important part of orthodontic treatment. They will refer you to a specialist orthodontist who can create and customise the best orthodontic treatment plan for you. Your family dental clinic’s staff can provide you with a list of orthodontists to whom they routinely refer patients for braces.

Specialist orthodontists are well-trained to detect early issues with tooth development and jaw growth. A skilled orthodontist can also assist adults in identifying problem areas with cleaning, gum disease, or TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) that could be improved by getting braces.

When choosing your orthodontist, here are the most important things you should consider:

  • Doctor’s experience, knowledge, and qualifications. Ideally, they should appear on the General Dental Council’s specialist list
  • Online practice reviews
  • Testimonials from former patients
  • The doctor’s approach when it comes to treating patients
  • Practice location, operating hours, and availability
  • Payment plans for treatment fees.

Once you have booked an initial consultation with your orthodontist of choice, your orthodontist will begin by establishing a precise diagnosis. These are some of the most frequent evaluations patients need when getting started on their journey:

  • Medical & Dental Evaluations

Physical and dental issues frequently coexist. Medical issues can result from oral health issues. Before starting treatment, this evaluation aims to make sure that any previous dental and medical conditions are fully under control.

  • 3D Dental Scan

Your orthodontist will create a digital impression of your teeth to carefully analyse each tooth’s position and how it relates to your other teeth, as well as your bite. To do so, your doctor’s assistant will scan your teeth with a 3D scanner to create a digital cast that you can see immediately.

3D Dental Scan

  • X-Rays

X-rays are excellent instruments when it comes to spotting future issues or existing jaw joint damage. Additionally, using X-rays will allow your orthodontist to determine the precise placement of each tooth and its root.

Dental X-Ray of teeth

  • Computer-Generated Simulations

These images help your orthodontist map out a treatment strategy and assess the potential effects of various procedures on the symmetry and shape of your jaw and the contour of your face. They will discuss the different treatment options with you to make sure you will be happy with the outcome before agreeing to any treatment!

  • Photographs

To evaluate how the treatment is going on and the effects it has on your face shape, many orthodontists take “before, during, and after” pictures of the patient’s face and teeth. New technology allows your orthodontist to show you a picture of how your smile will look after orthodontic treatment.

Step 2: Start Your Treatment

Once your specialist orthodontist establishes a diagnosis and an orthodontic treatment plan, they will then present you with the best orthodontic device for you.

The decision to begin your treatment may not be a difficult one if your treatment is simple. You might be in a position where you can decide on this matter quickly, especially if you trust your orthodontist. However, if your treatment plan is a challenging one – one that requires extractions, further appliances, substantial general dental work, or jaw surgery – take your time. This will prevent you from interrupting treatment and making matters worse for yourself further down the line.

Orthodontists are aware of how serious this decision is, so they won’t pressure you to start right away. Once you decide to proceed with your orthodontic treatment plan, your orthodontist will do the rest.

If your doctor has recommended fixed braces, the assistant will apply them to your teeth in a session that usually takes about one hour. The entire procedure is essentially painless, so don’t worry! Your orthodontist will initially install a device to keep your mouth dry and your tongue in the right position. They will use an etchant to prepare the tooth surface for bonding afterwards.

Your braces will be attached to your teeth using a special adhesive, keeping them in place for the entire duration of your treatment. Your doctor will apply a curing light to solidify the bond and harden the adhesive. Next, they will run the archwire through the brackets and secure it with ligature bands.

Check out this video to get a comprehensive overview of the brace fitting process!

If your orthodontist decides that clear aligners would work better for you, they will provide you with your first set after bonding small tooth-coloured ‘attachments’. Afterwards, at each visit, you will be given multiple aligners to wear until your next appointment. Your doctor will tell you how long you should wear each aligner – usually one to two weeks – before re-bagging it and replacing it with the next aligner.

Typically, every 2-3 months, you’ll return to the clinic to get your teeth checked in order to get your new set of aligners.

Step 3: Maintaining Your Braces

During your orthodontic treatment, to maintain your braces, as well as your overall dental health, you have to pay close attention to a few aspects:

Be Consistent With Your Check-Ups

Keeping up with your orthodontic appointments and your dental cleanings is essential while receiving treatment. These appointments allow for close monitoring of your dental health, ensuring that you will have a perfect smile once your orthodontic treatment is completed.

Cleaning Your Braces

Maintaining good oral hygiene is a crucial part of getting optimal results from your orthodontic treatment. While the process is rather straightforward when it comes to clear aligners, fixed braces are a different story.

With traditional braces, you should brush your teeth more frequently – ideally after each meal, as well as every morning and evening. You will need to use interdental brushes to ensure optimal results. Additionally, you should never skip flossing and rinsing, especially before going to bed.

cleaning braces

Foods To Avoid

When wearing braces, you need to pay close attention to what you’re eating, as certain foods can damage your braces. Avoid biting into crunchy fruits and vegetables, as well as steaks, chicken, pork chops, or other meats with bones. While you can still enjoy all of these foods, make sure you cut them into bite-sized pieces beforehand.

Girl with braces eating apple

However, there are foods you should avoid altogether: toffees, caramels, chews, and popcorn, to name a few.

Step 4: Getting Your Braces Off

The day you’ve been waiting for is finally here: you’re finally getting your braces removed!

You will feel some new sensations during your removal procedure. Your orthodontist will remove the brackets with some special pliers, carefully squeezing each bracket. This allows each bracket to be separated from your teeth.

You may hear unusual sounds – such as cracking or popping – during this procedure. You may also feel some pressure, which is completely normal. All of this is essentially painless, so don’t be concerned about it hurting. After removing the brackets, your orthodontist will use a special tool to remove the remaining dental adhesive.

Do you want to see how braces are removed? Check out this video!

Once this part is over, you will be fitted for a retainer. Wearing a retainer after getting braces is extremely important. Wearing your retainer is the only way to maintain your new smile forever, as your teeth require time to adjust to their new positions.

That’s it! Braces are off, a retainer is in the making, and your brand-new smile is beaming! All of your hard work has finally paid off, and you should be satisfied, confident, and proud (at the very least)!

Vivera ® retainers

Get Your Perfect Smile Today

We hope that we answered your most burning questions when it comes to getting orthodontic treatment and that you’re one step closer to getting your perfect smile!

At Park Orthodontics, we make it our mission to tailor what is best for our patients in terms of orthodontic treatment plans, speed of treatment, outcome, brace cosmetics, and overall customer experience.

If you’re a resident in the Glasgow area and want to get started on this journey with us, book a complimentary consultation with one of our specialist orthodontists.

Dr Andrew McGregor is among the top specialist orthodontists in Scotland when it comes to clinical outcomes and the complexity of the treatments undertaken, having been nominated the Scottish Dentist of the Year for two consecutive years (2017-2018).

Dr Andrew McGregor

With more than 20 years of experience as a dentist and 15 years of experience as an orthodontist, his portfolio includes treating thousands of patients, from children who needed simple bite corrections to adults who required extensive smile and bite makeovers.

He is a member of the British Orthodontic Society, the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Scottish Orthodontic Specialists Group and the British Lingual Orthodontic Society.

Dr McGregor is a Diamond Invisalign Provider, an Elite Damon Braces Provider and one of the few orthodontists in Scotland to have treated over one hundred patients with lingual braces. By partnering up with Identiti UK, he uses his skills and extensive knowledge to teach orthodontics to dentists across the country. Dr Andrew McGregor is also a mentor to the associate orthodontists at Park Orthodontics.

Request Your Complimentary Smile Evaluation

Take the first step to a better more confident smile
Dr Andrew McGregor

Dr Andrew McGregor

Andrew completed his three years of orthodontic specialist training in 2010 gaining his Masters degree and Membership in Orthodontics and has worked at Park Orthodontics since then. As an orthodontic specialist he has treated thousands of patients ranging from simple bite correction in children to complex smile and bite makeovers in adults. Andrew is a member of the British Orthodontic Society, Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, Scottish Orthodontic Specialists Group and the British Lingual Orthodontic Society.

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