What Adults Need To Know Before Undergoing Orthodontic Treatement
Once you have decided that, for one or more reasons (the commonest ones listed in the “Orthodontic” section) you feel that it might be advantageous for you to undergo some Orthodontic Therapy, then here is a list (not necessarily an exhaustive one, but certainly covering the majority) of things you might want to know or take into consideration:
WHO SHOULD CARRY OUT YOUR ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT:
In the UK, the only people legally allowed to call themselves “Orthodontists” are those admitted to a “Specialist Register”. This does not, however necessarily mean that these professionals are all of the same clinical standard, nor “better” at Orthodontics than Dentists not on the list.
In general however it is safe to say that the majority of the most talented clinicians, especially as far as Fixed Appliance Therapy is concerned are usually registered as “Specialist Orthodontists”. There are however many exceptionally experienced and talented clinicians preferring to remain “more generalist”, frequently offering more advanced aesthetic dental services themselves, in addition to carrying out the majority of their own Orthodontic treatments.
Many Hospitals in the UK also have their own Orthodontic Departments, and the Consultant Orthodontists employed there are frequently the most capable with regard to treating the most advanced and challenging problems.
Many Dentists and Orthodontists also now employ the services of “Orthodontic Therapists”, who are suitably trained assistant clinicians but must work specifically under the prescription and supervision of a Dentist.
As in all walks of life, and all professions, there are naturally variations in the level of experience, knowledge and clinical capability within all of these aforementioned groups, so choosing the “best” person to carry out your specific treatment should entail some basic research, asking around and information-seeking.
Remember, just as Football produces it’s “Messi’s and Ronaldo’s”, the world of Orthodontics produces it’s “mega stars” too: the clinicians we all hold in reverence at the beauty and perfection of results achievable in their hands. They are however few and far between, and it may require some not inconsiderable travelling and expense in tracking these individuals down.
As I have quoted elsewhere, whilst in general “Children should be treated idealistically”,
“ADULTS SHOULD BE TREATED REALISTICALLY”.
Like all medical procedures, Orthodontics has its limitations, and especially as far as Adults are concerned, it is simply not possible to “guarantee” that a certain outcome will be achieved with 100% certainty.
For that reason, all possible options should be discussed and understood, before deciding which is best for you.
In general, the more complex, difficult or challenging your particular tooth movements the less likely you are to achieve “an Orthodontically Perfect” outcome.
Our “How to Choose” Chart is designed to help you understand the variations in outcome and the associated costs of the treatment options available to you.
We will normally talk about either “super-perfect” or “picture-perfect” outcomes or on rare occasions “simply an improvement” as our goals. It is important that we convey to you these differences, in order that we achieve your desired outcome, by way of your chosen type of treatment.
Option 1. Do Nothing!
As obvious as it may sound, you really do need to make sure that you are convinced that the benefit of carrying out some Dental work outweighs the expense, risks and inconveniences of actually doing something.
Option 2. “Non-Orthodontic” Dental work.
In some cases, other Dental procedures such as Caps, Veneers or white fillings might be more suited to your needs.
Option 3. See a Consultant/Top-ranking Specialist for an opinion.
Usually, patients requiring solutions for the most difficult and challenging Orthodontic problems might want to seek out the most capable and talented professionals, and at least consider such radical interventions as “Orthognathic Orthodontics”, if more than “Simple Orthodontics” might be required.
Option 4. “Full Fixed Orthodontics”.
Much in the same vein as “Children’s Orthodontics”, if you really want the most perfect outcome possible in the most controllable and predictable manner, then this option certainly needs due consideration.
Option 4. “Fully Removable Orthodontics”, for example “INVISALIGN”.
The recent advances in Aligner technology means that certain experienced and skilled Clinicians believe that they are now capable of attaining outcomes frequently as good as for Fixed Appliances, especially for cases in the lower to middling range of difficulties.
Option 5. “Short Term Orthodontics”( or “Patient-Centred Orthodontics”).
This kind of solution is very much “in fashion” at present, and usually dressed up as something “new”, or “alternative”! In reality however, there have always been “Short term solutions” within whatever system was prevalent at the time, and what it really means is that by reducing the degree of perfection of the “goal” (desired outcome), the complexity of the treatment itself can be significantly lowered. This may result in shorter treatment times, lower costs, or make more acceptable appliances an option. There is absolutely no reason why Adults should not consider these options, provided the Aims of Treatment and any consequences of not pursuing “a more dentally perfect outcome” have been fully taken in to consideration.
We hope that this assists you in gaining an insight as to the likely treatment options before you, but the only real way of knowing what YOUR options might be will require seeking out the services of a professional skilled and experienced in Adult Orthodontics.
That might be your current Dentist, someone they recommend, or may require you to search around yourself in order to find a suitable clinician for your needs.
One thing I will say however is that in general, “the Clinician you choose is more important than the System (type of brace) you choose”.
There are less capable and more capable professionals with all types of title, qualification and fees, so choose carefully. Lots of “letters after the name”, or “a prestigious address”, or even simply high fees is no guarantee of capability.
Seek out an experienced, knowledgeable and sympathetic Orthodontic provider, who will listen to your needs, your requirements, and help you obtain the solution that is right for you!
Dr John Serrano- Davey