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Patients in treatment

Congratulations! You have chosen to wear orthodontic braces to improve your smile! You will have received lots of information about your treatment but we know that there are always questions you forget to ask or things you would like to know more about.

Click on 'Braces' to find out more about the type of brace you are wearing. The 'Surgical/Orthodontic Treatment' and 'Temporary Anchorage Devices' links might be useful for our patients undergoing more complex treatments. Clicking 'Retainers​' will help you understand more about what you can do to keep your teeth straight and keep you smiling! Of course, all our patient information leaflets are also available to view online. 

Here you will find information that will help you while you are having your treatment. ​

Rem​ovable Appliances

Removable braces are made of plastic and are attached to your teeth with metal clips. There are also small wires attached to the plastic, which gently move the teeth. Removable braces can be taken in and out for cleaning but you will have to wear them all the time if the treatment is to be effective.

Functional​​ Appliances

Functional braces are a special type of removable brace used for teeth that stick out a lot. We use various designs of functional appliance and your orthodontist will choose the right one for you. The most common type of functional brace we use is called a Twin Block. This consists of two removable braces - one for the top teeth and one for the bottom teeth - which are worn at the same time. If worn properly, these work very quickly - usually their job is done in about nine months. Most people then go on to fixed braces to complete the alignment of their teeth.

Fixed Ap​pliances

Fixed braces (train track braces) are the most commonly used braces, as they are the best at controlling the positions of all the teeth at once. They consist of metal blocks (or squares) that are glued on to the teeth. Each block is glued onto the tooth individually, and the glue is set with a blue light.

The wires are held on to the metal blocks with little coloured elastic bands or by tiny metal clips. You cannot take fixed braces in and out.

Retainers are plastic removable braces that hold your teeth in their new position. They are used following fixed brace treatment and reduce the risk of teeth going crooked again after treatment.

They need to be worn for a minimum of one year. Your orthodontist will prescribe how often you should wear them, as each individual is different. However, we advise that retainers are worn on a long term basis, as teeth can move throughout life.

Information on retainer appliances

Orthognathic surgery is concerned with the correction of dento-facial deformity. It involves fixed orthodontic braces and surgery to one or both of the top/bottom jaws. In order to correct the position of the teeth and provide a functioning bite, the supporting bones of the jaws must be in the correct position. If this is not the case, orthodontics alone will not correct the bite. Surgery will be required to move the jaws into the proper position so the teeth will then meet correctly.

This is a highly complex treatment, lasting between 3 to 3.5 years. The fixed orthodontic braces remain in place for the duration of this time, with the surgery taking place two thirds of the way through the treatment.

Although at UHNM we h​ave many patients each year undergoing this type of treatment, it is not something to be undertaken without a great deal of thought. This is why we spend a number of appointments, including a JOINT CLINIC appointment, to ensure that each individual case is properly assessed and planned.

Help for smokers wishing to stop smoking

Local Stop Smoking Service's offer a range of services to help people to quit smoking to find your nearest stop smoking clinic call 0800 085 0928 or text 'stokequit' 60777 if you live in Stoke-on-Trent or 0300111 8010 if you live in North Staffordshire. Information is also available via the NHS Smokefree website, click here.

Joint c​linic 

Consultant Maxillofacial Surgeon(s), Consultant Orthodontist(s),Specialist Registrars in Orthodontics and an Orthognathic Nurse will be in attendance at the joint clinic. There may be as many as five or six clinicians in the room. This is important to formulate a treatment plan which will give you, the patient, the best possible functional and aesthetic result.

Because of the complex nature of the planning of surgical orthodontic treatments, joint clinics often run a little late. We will always inform you of any delay to the clinic, but please be patient if we are unable to see you on time.​

Orthodontic M​​ini Screws

An orthodontic mini screw is a small metal screw which is inserted through the gum into the jaw bone to act as an anchor to help move poorly positioned teeth. Some people also call them micro-screws, mini-implants or temporary anchorage devices (TADs).

In order to move poorly positioned teeth, the other surrounding teeth usually provide a stable support for the force applied by the brace. It is not always possible to use adjacent teeth and sometimes the force may cause the wrong teeth to move. In such cases, a mini-screw can be used to act as an anchor to help with straightening your teeth and closing up gaps. The TADs are placed using local anaesthetic and this is done at your routine orthodontic appointment. Putting the TADs in is a relatively straightforward procedure which takes little more than 10 minutes.

In addition, clinicians in the department are pioneering the use of TADs in certain cases that would previously have required orthognathic treatment.

Click here for more information about about TADs.

Orthodontics leaflets