Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the specialised branch of dentistry that deals with the diagnosis & treatment of problems caused by poor alignment of the teeth & jaws, and is carried out using different types of braces. An orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has completed a further 3 years full time training on a specialist training programme that is recognised by the Dental Council.

Where can I get Specialist Orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment is available from any member of the Orthodontic Society of Ireland (OSI). Some members of the OSI are in private practice and some are employed by the HSE. The HSE provides orthodontic treatment to those children who meet the HSE guidelines. Check our “Find an Orthodontist” section on this website to locate a specialist near you.

Is your orthodontist a Registered Specialist?

Find out by checking the latest specialist register . (Click here to search the UK specialist register)

What problems can be corrected through Orthodontic treatment?

Overcrowded teeth are the most common reason that people seek orthodontic treatment, followed by prominent or “buck” teeth. Specialist orthodontists are trained to address a broad spectrum of dental and facial concerns

What is the best age to have treatment?

It is recommended that you bring your child for an orthodontic assessment at around 7 or 8 years of age. Occasionally some short intervention is beneficial at this young age to minimise or even sometimes eliminate the need for later treatment. Even if early treatment is not needed, seeing a child at a young age allows your orthodontist to monitor your childʼs development and then intervene at the optimal time to provide the nicest smile.

It is never too late to have treatment. As long as your teeth and gums are healthy there is no age limit to treatment. An increasing number of adults are availing of the benefits of orthodontic treatment

How long will treatment take?

Your orthodontist is the best person to tell you this. Some minor treatment can be completed in six months or less but may not treat the more complicated yet important aspect, such as the bite. Usually, orthodontic treatment involves wearing appliances (braces) for between 18 and 24 months, although some treatments may be shorter or longer. In more complex cases you may be required to wear more than one appliance.

How does it work?

A qualified orthodontist evaluates the growth of a patientʼs face and jaws, as well as the alignment of his or her teeth. Then, using very gentle, controlled forces, the Orthodontist guides teeth into the correct position. During the final stage of treatment, the patient wears retention devices (retainers) to ensure that teeth remain in the proper place.

What causes orthodontic problems?

Orthodontic problems are frequently inherited but can be exacerbated by factors such as early loss of baby teeth or sucking habits.

What is the difference between braces and retainers?

Braces can be removable or fixed in the mouth. Removable braces are sometimes mistakenly called retainers, but strictly speaking retainers are only used to keep the teeth straight after the braces have finished their work.

What are invisible braces?

Fixed braces can be made less visible by using materials such as porcelain that match the tooth colour better or by placing them inside the teeth. A more recent development is the use of clear plastic materials that fit over the teeth but these are removable braces and, correspondingly, generally suffer from the lack of control that a fixed brace provides.

Can my dentist do my braces?

Your orthodontist is the best person to determine if a case is straightforward or not. Some dentists have an interest in orthodontics and would do some orthodontic cases, while an orthodontist is specially trained and works exclusively with braces.

It is a misconception that treatment provided by an orthodontist is always more expensive than treatment provided by a family dentist. Treatment provided by an orthodontist is generally more comprehensive, bearing in mind that a fully qualified specialist is trained to a high standard.

What does Orthodontic treatment cost?

There are many factors which influence the cost of treatment, including the severity of the problem and the type of braces used. Your orthodontist can explain the cost of treatment in advance and it is usually possible to pay fees in instalments.

It is a misconception that treatment provided by an orthodontist is always more expensive than treatment provided by a family dentist. Treatment provided by an orthodontist is generally more comprehensive, bearing in mind that a fully qualified specialist is trained to a high standard.

Is Orthodontic treatment painful?

The process of fitting braces is not painful. Some discomfort is to be expected for a period after appliances are fitted for the first time or after they have been tightened. However, this usually settles after a few days.

Who are the Orthodontic Society of Ireland?

The Orthodontic Society of Ireland is the body that represents the majority of the orthodontists in Ireland. Only dentists who are recognised as orthodontists by the Dental Council can become full members of the Orthodontic Society of Ireland.

Find an Orthodontist in your area.