How to handle orthodontic emergencies

How to handle orthodontic emergencies

orthodontic emergencies

Thank you for bearing with us while the practice is closed. We will reopen as soon as possible, but in the meantime, we’re here to support you however we can.

Unfortunately, we’re unable to see patients at the practice right now, even if you experience a problem with your braces. However, to help you cope at home, we’ve outlined some of the more likely brace predicaments and their solutions.

You can also find video instructions for dealing with common complaints on the British Orthodontic Society’s website.

If you need our help, or you’re experiencing a high level of discomfort, please contact our practice manager

Your braces are ready to remove

If your braces are due to come off, we’ll contact you to rearrange your debond appointment as soon as we get the go ahead to reopen. In the meantime, wearing your braces for a bit longer won’t harm your teeth in any way. Just make sure you keep them clean and avoid sugary snacks and drinks.

You’ve reached your last Invisalign aligner

When you reach your final Invisalign aligner, keep wearing it at night. Otherwise, your teeth could move, and your next aligner won’t fit properly. If anything happens to your last aligner, wear the previous aligner for two weeks, then continue to wear it at night until we can see you again.

Your archwire is poking your cheeks

If you have a thin archwire in place, it may have shifted to one side, leaving one end poking out. Using tweezers, you may be able to gently move the wire back into position. If this doesn’t work, you can use nail clippers or scissors to trim the very end of the wire.

If your archwire is thicker, it will be more challenging to move or trim. Instead, try covering the protruding end with a small piece of dental wax. Roll it into a ball and push it over the end of the wire.

We can send you some wax in the post, but in an emergency, you can also use cheese wax (the kind you find on Babybel) or even sugar-free chewing gum.

You’ve lost your removable retainers

If you lose your removable retainers, we might advise you to purchase a custom-mouldable mouthguard online. You can wear this at night to minimise the risk of your teeth moving. Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee that this will stop your teeth from shifting, but it may be better than nothing.

Your fixed retainer has broken

If your fixed retainer breaks, use your fingers or tweezers to flatten the wire. If the broken ends of the retainer are still poking out and irritating your tongue, you can try trimming them with some nail clippers or scissors. Alternatively, you can use dental wax, or your wax substitute, to cover any sharp areas.

If you experience any problems with your fixed retainers, wear your removable retainers more frequently to avoid any unwanted movement.

A bracket has fallen off your tooth

A loose bracket isn’t an emergency unless it’s damaging your gums or the inside of your mouth. In this instance, we may need to guide you on how to remove the bracket safely at home.

If you’re not in any pain, you can use dental wax to stop the bracket moving around. Roll a piece of wax into a ball (roughly the size of a pea) and place it over the escaped bracket.

Your power chain has detached

Your power chain is designed to stop working after 4–6 weeks, so if it’s not causing you any problems, it doesn’t need to be removed.

If it starts to detach from your brackets, you can carefully trim the loose section using nail clippers or scissors.

An elastic ligature has snapped

The small coloured ligatures/bands that hold your archwire in place may start to wear out and break. This could cause your archwire to come away from your brackets. If this happens, you can use tweezers to gently place the archwire back in position.

Without an elastic ligature, your bracket may start to rub the inside of your mouth. You can use dental wax to smooth the bracket and secure the archwire in place.

You may be able to replace the elastic ligature yourself. The BOS have put together this very handy guide. If you need more elastic bands, please contact

A metal tie has unravelled

If your brackets are secured by metal ties instead of elastic ligatures, these can occasionally unravel and become uncomfortable.

You may be able to persuade the tie back around the tooth using the end of your tweezers or similar. Or, failing this, you can use dental wax to stop it rubbing.

You’ve run out of elastic bands

If you’re wearing elastic bands to improve the position of your jaws, contact us when you start running low. We can pop some more in the post to you, or we may advise you to stop wearing your elastic bands until your next appointment.

How to avoid an emergency

Most orthodontic emergencies are minor, and many can be avoided. To keep your teeth and braces healthy during the COVID-19 lockdown:

  • Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly at least twice a day
  • Make sure you clean carefully around your brackets and between your wires
  • Avoid sugary foods and drinks, especially between meals
  • Don’t bite into anything hard, chewy or sticky – this could break a bracket or bend your archwire
  • Store your retainers and aligners safely in their cases when you’re not wearing them
  • Keep your previous set of Invisalign aligners, just in case you need to step back

We’re looking forward to seeing you again soon and getting you back on track for a fantastic result. Rest assured, when we reopen, we’ll do everything we can to see you as quickly as possible.

Can you wear braces on your top teeth only?

Can you wear braces on your top teeth only?

Braces on top teeth

If you’re just looking to straighten your top teeth, you may be wondering if you need to wear braces on your bottom teeth too. Why involve them if you’re happy with their appearance?

Occasionally it’s possible to carry out single-arch treatment, and just fit braces to your upper or lower teeth. Usually, though, we need to straighten both arches to achieve a good outcome.

Teeth straightening with bite

We want to give you a smile that looks incredible and lasts a lifetime.

During your free consultation, our specialist orthodontist won’t just be looking at your teeth. We’re also interested in the relationship between your jaws and how your teeth bite together.

Orthodontic treatment can align both your teeth and arches to give you a beautiful smile and a healthy bite. Ideally, when you bite together, your upper top teeth should slightly overlap your bottom teeth, and your back teeth should interlink.

Achieving a sound bite is an essential part of orthodontic treatment. If your teeth don’t bite together correctly, it can cause pain, speech problems, difficulty chewing and uneven wear.

The challenges of single-arch treatment

When we fit braces or aligners to both the top and bottom teeth, we can control the position of your jaws (within certain limits). If we only attach braces to your top teeth, your bite may improve, or it could get worse.

Crowded teeth tend to move forward as they’re aligned while teeth that are widely spaced move back. If you have crowded top teeth and straight bottom teeth, orthodontic treatment will bring your top teeth forwards. Depending on the position of your jaws to begin with, this could improve your bite, or it could create an overjet, where the top teeth protrude.

Meanwhile, if you have spaces between your top teeth, straightening them will bring them back, which could create an underbite. This is where the bottom front teeth sit in front of your top teeth.

When it’s possible to wear top or bottom teeth braces

Specialist orthodontist Dr Iain Hoeltschi will be able to tell you whether you’re suitable for single-arch treatment during your free consultation. Some patients are fortunate and moving just the top or bottom teeth improves their bite.

If you’ve had orthodontic treatment before, and your top or bottom teeth have shifted slightly, you may be suitable for upper or lower teeth braces. Moving your teeth back should realign your arches and restore your bite.

We also have techniques to minimise bite discrepancies. Interproximal reduction (IPR), for example, can be carried out during orthodontic treatment to create space and improve your bite.

IPR involves the careful removal of enamel from between your teeth. Done properly, it won’t impact the health of your teeth. It can also help to reduce the likelihood of ‘black triangles’ between your teeth and gumline.

Choose from our invisible, removable braces

If you only want to straighten your top or bottom teeth because you’re apprehensive about wearing braces, we have some discreet solutions.

Invisalign straightens teeth using a series of custom-made removable aligners. It’s very inconspicuous, and there isn’t a metal bracket or wire in sight.

We also offer clear fixed braces, which are very unobtrusive compared to metal braces. We can even fit lingual braces behind your teeth if you really want to hide your treatment.

To find out more about your options, and whether single-arch treatment is right for you, contact us to arrange a free consultation with a specialist.

Choosing between braces and veneers

Choosing between braces and veneers

Braces or veneers

If you’d like a straighter smile, you have a few different options. Two of the most popular include braces and veneers. They can both transform your smile, but they work in very different ways.

How braces and veneers straighten teeth

Braces straighten your natural teeth using fixed or removable appliances. They used to be fairly prominent (earning them associations with train tracks!), but now they can be virtually invisible.

You can choose from fixed metal braces, clear ceramic braces, clear removable aligners and fixed braces that fit behind your teeth. They all use gentle forces to gradually align your teeth.

invisalign lewes
Invisalign clear aligners (they’re removable too!)

Veneers sit in front of your natural teeth, almost instantly disguising crowding, gaps, chips and discolouration. Your veneers will be custom-made to complement your teeth and smile and attached using a durable composite resin.

How long do they take to work?

Braces aren’t a quick fix; your orthodontic treatment could take 12–18 months to complete. Maybe less time if your case is straightforward, for example, your front teeth are slightly misaligned. Throughout your treatment, you’ll see your orthodontist for regular adjustments every 6–8 weeks.

Veneers are usually fitted over a few appointments, so the results can be quick. It’s not impossible to have straight teeth within a few weeks of your first appointment.

Which option is the least damaging?

Braces work with what you have and shouldn’t cause any damage to your teeth. Very occasionally, there can be complications such as root shortening, but these are rare and can usually be managed.

To fit your veneers, your dentist will probably need to remove some of your tooth enamel. This can’t be reversed, and you’ll always need to wear veneers. Each time they’re replaced, more enamel will be removed.

How good are the results?

Braces can align even the most crowded smiles, and the results can be amazing. However, while they’re fantastic at straightening teeth, they won’t change the colour or appearance of individual teeth. Many adult patients whiten their teeth after braces to complete their smile makeover.

Veneers, on the other hand, can tackle several complaints at the same time. You’ll be able to choose (within reason) the shade, size and shape of your new grin.

Can they both help severe crowding?

If you have moderate to severe crowding or spaces or teeth that don’t bite together correctly, braces will be your best option. If you try to fit veneers to very misaligned teeth, you could lose a lot of tooth enamel and end up with some very thick, unnatural looking veneers.

Some patients who are set on veneers have orthodontic treatment first, to move their teeth into the best position.

Are they a permanent solution?

If you follow your orthodontist’s advice and wear your retainers unfailingly, the results of braces should last forever. You’ll need to replace your retainers periodically, but otherwise, you can reap the rewards of your initial investment.

Veneers will need replacing approximately every 10–15 years. They can chip, crack and wear down. Over time, your gums will naturally recede, resulting in a gap between your veneers and gumline. Every time your veneers are replaced, you’ll need to pay for a new set.

Who provides these treatments?

Orthodontists and dentists both provide orthodontic treatment. Specialist orthodontists are the experts at straightening teeth. They’ve undergone years of full-time training in orthodontics, and their knowledge is unparalleled.

Veneers are typically provided by dentists and prosthodontists. Prosthodontists specialise in restoring and replacing missing or damaged teeth through treatments including veneers, bonding, crowns, bridges and implants.

How much do they cost?

The price of both treatments will vary with the experience of your provider and the quality of materials/service. Typically, braces cost between £2,000 and £5,000. While porcelain veneers can cost between £500 and £1,000 per tooth.

To find out exactly how much your treatment will cost, most specialists and dentists offer free consultations. At Splash Orthodontics, we offer monthly payment plans, including interest-free options.

Are there any alternatives?

If your teeth are only slightly misaligned, you may be suitable for teeth contouring or bonding. Teeth contouring involves removing minimal amounts of enamel to even out your smile.

Bonding uses small amounts of tooth-coloured composite to reshape your teeth. It’s not permanent, which means it’s also reversible. If you’re not happy with the position or shape of your teeth, bonding and braces can provide an excellent solution that won’t damage your enamel.

To find out more about your teeth straightening options, visit our specialist orthodontist Iain Hoeltschi for a free no-obligation consultation.

Are orthodontists different to dentists?

Are orthodontists different to dentists?

Mail-order braces

Orthodontists are dentists, but dentists aren’t orthodontists. Confused? You’re not alone. In the UK, both dentists and orthodontists can provide teeth straightening treatments, so it’s not surprising that some patients believe they’re equally qualified.

Specialists in teeth straightening

Specialist orthodontists are teeth straightening experts. After qualifying as dentists, they’ve chosen to focus on orthodontics full time.

Most orthodontists gain experience in different areas of dentistry, before deciding to specialise. Other dental specialities include periodontics (gums), endodontics (root canals) and paediatric dentistry (children).

Specialist orthodontic training involves three years of full-time study, including theory and hands-on experience. It’s a competitive course, with several dentists applying for each spot.

Trainee orthodontists encounter a wide range of patients and conditions, including some of the most complex and challenging cases. They also gain valuable experience using a variety of appliances, including fixed and removable braces.

At the end of their training, budding orthodontists go through a rigorous exam process to gain Membership in Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons and a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training. These qualifications allow them to register as specialist orthodontists with the General Dental Council.

Meet our orthodontist

Our specialist orthodontist Iain Hoeltschi graduated as a dentist from King’s College Hospital in 1991. He went on to gain experience in maxillofacial surgery, restorative dentistry, periodontics and child dental health, before starting his specialist training.

Iain studied orthodontics at the Eastman Dental Hospital in London, where he was awarded a Master of Science degree and Membership in Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Before establishing Splash Orthodontics in 2012, Iain worked in Sydney as a registrar and more recently for a specialist orthodontic group in Sussex and Kent.

To retain his specialist status, Iain attends regular training events to sharpen his skills and keep on top of the latest research and developments.

Can dentists straighten teeth?

Some dentists choose not to specialise and continue to provide a range of general dental treatments such as check-ups and fillings. They can also offer specialist treatments within their abilities, including orthodontic treatment.

Specialist training is the holy grail for orthodontists, but there are other courses available. Some of these are very comprehensive. While others show dentists how to treat straightforward cases using clear aligners within just a few days.

Dentists who offer orthodontic treatments can’t call themselves specialist orthodontists. Instead, they can be recognised as dentists with a special interest in orthodontics (DwSI). Dentists with a special interest must demonstrate a minimum level of competency in orthodontics.

Most dentists who provide orthodontic treatment do so to an excellent standard. They assess cases carefully, and if something is too complicated, they refer the patient to a specialist colleague.

Teeth straightening without supervision

Mail-order braces are a significant cause for concern among orthodontists and dentists. They’re convenient and cost-effective, but your treatment will be almost entirely unsupervised.

Read our recent blog to learn more about the pitfalls of mail-order braces.

What are the benefits of seeing a specialist?

  • Our experience and expertise is unrivalled
  • We’re up to date with the latest braces and techniques
  • Our practice is dedicated to providing orthodontic treatment
  • We treat a wide range of conditions, including highly complex cases
  • We invest in cutting edge technology and equipment
  • We include aftercare as standard for long-lasting results

To check if your orthodontist is a specialist, visit To arrange a free consultation with our specialist orthodontist Iain Hoeltschi, call 01273 203514 or fill out our contact form.

Crooked teeth, their causes and how to fix them

Crooked teeth, their causes and how to fix them

crooked teeth

Many people share a common, everyday problem that they often feel the need to hide behind their hands when they speak, consumed by the idea that people will stare, or that can sometimes prevent them from smiling fully in photographs, as they are afraid of having it as a permanent reminder that others can also see. These are just two of the actions people take when they are deeply embarrassed by their crooked teeth, and wish for nothing more than to be able to hide them all the time. 

This issue can be caused in a number of ways and can occur in people of any age, so there is no shame in having crooked teeth as a child, or even in suddenly developing them when you are an adult. However, having crooked teeth can also be something to keep an eye on, to make sure that you do not develop any oral health problems from it.

Fortunately, both for people who are self-conscious of the way their teeth look and those whose misaligned teeth might affect their dental health, fixing crooked teeth has never been easier. To get started, all you have to do is book an appointment with a professional orthodontist, who will be able to discuss your available options.

If you are worried about your crooked teeth, how they look or how they might affect your oral health, get in touch with us and book a consultation today. Here at Splash Orthodontics, we have years of experience in helping our patients to get the immaculate, straight smile they have always wanted, and improving their oral health so they will be happier and healthier overall.

When do teeth start to become crooked?

crooked teeth

Crooked teeth, otherwise known as “malocclusions”, can be a problem for both baby teeth and adult teeth. A child’s baby teeth can come in crooked, or become crooked because they are too small for the amount of gum space available.

Even if your child has crooked teeth from a young age, this does not mean they will have permanently crooked teeth. It is possible for their adult teeth to grow in straight, even if they have misaligned baby teeth, and teeth that grow in straight from the beginning may become crooked due to other factors when they are older.

What causes crooked teeth?

There are a number of reasons teeth can become crooked, with many of the causes of crooked teeth in adults differing from causes in children. We have listed some of these reasons in more detail below:


Genetics can play a large role in determining whether or not you will have crooked teeth. If one or both of your parents have them, it is possible that you will either have or develop them as well. Having a small jaw can also cause your teeth to become misaligned, because of the lack of space.


Growing older can also have an impact on your teeth, as they have a tendency to move forward with time, making your mouth more crowded. This is not, however, due to your wisdom teeth coming in, and is actually due to your jawbone losing density and changing shape.


Prolonged habits, such as thumb sucking or wearing a dummy, can also cause teeth to become crooked because these things both exert pressure on the teeth.

Missing teeth

Losing either adult teeth, or losing baby teeth early, can cause your remaining teeth to drift into the gaps which remain. Baby teeth can also be replaced by overlapping adult teeth, which may become crowded in the limited space.

Injury or disease

If you are hit in the face, it is possible that the force could move your teeth and cause them to misalign. Such an injury may also cause your jaw to shift or damage your gums, which may also result in your teeth moving. Gum disease also has the potential to loosen your teeth and cause them to shift.

How to straighten crooked teeth

crooked teeth

The first step in straightening your misaligned teeth is to book a consultation with your local orthodontist. A qualified professional will be able to discuss the best way to fix your crooked teeth, as some treatments may work better on some people than others. 

At Splash Orthodontics, there are three forms of treatment which we would most recommend for fixing crooked teeth:


crooked teeth

When attempting to correct misalignments, you will find that getting braces for crooked teeth remains the most common and popular choice. These offer a high degree of control over the final position of your teeth and consistently produce excellent results. They stay in place 24 hours a day, fitted to the surface of your teeth to keep them in the desired end location, and can come in either metal or ceramic varieties if you wish for them to be less noticeable.

It is also possible to have lingual braces fitted in order to fix your crooked teeth, with the only difference being that these braces are placed on the back of your teeth. To learn more about both of these treatments, either see our pages or call us today. One of our friendly members of staff will be happy to answer your questions.


Retainers fix your crooked teeth in so much as they help to keep the problem from recurring after you have worn braces. There is always a chance that your teeth will shift again after your braces have been removed, so retainers will be a vital part of maintaining the results of the treatment. 

If you would like to know more about retainers and how they can help to keep your teeth from becoming crooked again, get in touch with us and we can discuss them with you.


crooked teeth

Many adults with crooked teeth come to us embarrassed at the notion of having to wear braces. As such, a lot of them prefer to use these nearly completely invisible braces, and Invisalign remains one of the most efficient and popular treatments for straightening teeth. This is because their clear design makes them more discreet than other forms of brace and can be easily removed so a patient can eat or brush their teeth.

Whether you need Invisalign for slightly crooked teeth or even if you need Invisalign for very crooked teeth, we highly recommend that you consult an orthodontist to see if this treatment is for you. Contact us today and we can book you in to discuss Invisalign as an option. Consultation is free and we can even offer you 0% finance, with monthly installments arranged to pay for your treatment. Alternatively, see our page on this alternative to traditional braces for more information.

If Invisalign is the perfect treatment for your case, we can also offer a free teeth whitening treatment at the end of the process, helping you to feel even more confident about your new, brilliant smile.

Book a consultation

crooked teeth

No matter the cause of your misaligned teeth, whether they are crooked front teeth, crooked bottom teeth or a combination of the two, at Splash Orthodontics, we will be able to find the right treatment for you. Book a free consultation with us today and one of our fully qualified and trained orthodontists will be able to discuss your concerns, as well as find out which of our treatments will suit you the most.

We have been perfecting smiles for a long time and we want you to be happy to show off yours. So, get in touch and we can get you started with a plan that will straighten your teeth and help you to feel like grinning again.

How to clean Invisalign

How to clean your Invisalign aligners

how to clean invisalign

From the moment you receive your aligners and start the treatment that will give you the smile you’ve always wanted, you will need to know how to look after your purchased treatment. However, this does not stop at knowing how long they should be worn each day. You will also need to know how to clean your Invisalign retainers, in order to keep them in good working order and to promote good levels of oral health.

If you have any questions or concerns about your Invisalign trays, please call us or come into our clinic as soon as you possibly can.

We want our customers to be happy with the treatment plan they have, so we will do everything we can to see you comfortable.

how to clean invisalign

Different cleaning methods

There are a number of ways to clean Invisalign, but each method must start with you removing them from your mouth. You cannot clean them properly while you are still wearing them!

Cleaning crystals

The first method is to put your aligners in a bath, along with specialist cleaning crystals that will create a solution to clean them. To use these Invisalign cleaning crystals, fill a container with warm water (use the amount suggested in the product instructions) and pour in the right amount of crystals (sometimes they come in packets, or tablet form). Add your aligners and wait for 15 minutes. 

After this time has passed, remove the aligners and rinse them thoroughly under warm water. This will help to remove bacteria, but it will also help to wash away any remaining cleaning solution that could cause an allergic reaction. Because of this, you should also wash your hands and the container used as a bath, while your retainers dry on a clean towel.

Once your retainers are dry, you can put them back in your mouth.

Homemade soaks

It is possible to clean stained Invisalign trays using homemade chemical solutions, too. The first is a hydrogen-peroxide solution diluted with warm tap water in a ratio of 1:1. Soak your Invisalign in this for at least 30 minutes, before rinsing them with more warm water. 

It must be noted that while this does clean your retainer of any bacteria present, it does not remove built-up plaque.

You can both remove tartar and kill bacteria with distilled vinegar and warm water, by mixing the two liquids in equal parts and cleaning your trays in them for between 15 and 30 minutes. Once this is done, brush them very gently with a soft toothbrush and wash them with warm water.

Again, you should place your Invisalign on a dry, clean towel until they are ready to be put back in. Whichever method you use as an Invisalign cleaner, you must not put the retainers under hot water, as this can permanently warp and damage the plastic.

Can you use toothpaste on Invisalign?

how to clean invisalign

Many people believe that it is a good idea to clean your Invisalign retainers with toothpaste. It’s good for your teeth, so it must be equally good for your braces, right?

Unfortunately, this reasoning is not entirely correct. As many types of toothpaste are abrasive (especially those that whiten teeth), they can eventually dull your retainers and form micro-scratches that create traps for bacteria. Because of this, we recommend that you do not use toothpaste on Invisalign, if possible. Soaking the aligners in mouthwash can also discolour them, so we would suggest that you do not do this, either. 

If you have no alternative but to use toothpaste on your Invisalign, gently brush the retainer with toothpaste and a soft toothbrush, to reduce the chance of damage occurring. After clearing the aligner of any food particles present, use a steady stream of lukewarm water to rinse it off and allow it to dry on a clean towel before placing it back in your mouth.

How often should you clean Invisalign retainers?

Your retainers should typically be cleaned twice a day, usually when you are brushing and flossing your teeth. Because your Invisalign is only as clean as your mouth, this will give it the best chance of remaining good for your teeth. This will also mean that you can then put your retainer back in, once it has dried off.

For more information

how to clean invisalign

If you would like to know more about Invisalign, how to care for it and what not to do if you have it already, get in touch with Splash Orthodontics today. We are specialist orthodontists and we can provide expert advice on how to look after and clean your aligners.

We can also help you book a free consultation if you need braces and feel as though you might like to try Invisalign to get the smile you have always wanted. So, contact us today and one of our friendly staff members will be able to help with whatever you need.

Are there alternatives to braces for adult patients?

Alternatives to braces

are there alternatives to braces

Many adults come to us for consultation after having seen their dentist and worry when it is discovered that they need braces. A lot of them are embarrassed by the notion, or get anxious about how they will look and what people will think of them, all because braces are stereotypically associated with being younger, or with being unattractive. 

At Splash Orthodontics, we aim to teach everyone we can that there is no age limit for getting braces, and that there is no shame in having them. However, there are options that adults of any age can have fitted if they would still like to make their braces less noticeable. Below, we will discuss some of the options available to those who would like an orthodontic alternative to braces.

Alternatives to braces for adults

We offer a number of alternative options to braces for our adult patients who would like to straighten their teeth, but feel that traditional metal braces are not for them.


Perhaps the most well-known clear alternative to braces, Invisalign remains one of the most popular products on the market, as well as one of the most popular treatments we provide. This is because, along with their discreet design, they are easy to remove so that you can eat, as well as brush and floss your teeth.

are there alternatives to braces

These nearly completely invisible braces are made up of two clear, removable plastic aligners that push your teeth into a new position. In doing this, they can correct anything from a mild case of crooked teeth to serious malocclusions, such as overbites or underbites. Patients with gaps in their teeth will also find them beneficial, as they need minimal force for correction.

When you come to us to receive this treatment, we will use 3D computer technology to design and create a series of aligners that you will swap out every two weeks, in order to receive a new pair that you will wear every day for approximately 22 hours. Over a course of as little as six months, your teeth will move into a new place in your mouth. This completes the treatment and results in straighter teeth, along with the smile you have been dreaming about.

If you are interested in using Invisalign, see our page or get in touch with us today. After a free consultation to see if the treatment is right for you, we will be able to help get you the brace alternatives that will work best for your teeth.

Lingual braces

Similar to traditional braces, lingual braces offer a high degree of control and prevent your teeth from moving where they are not supposed to. The difference is that lingual braces are much more difficult to notice than their counterparts, as well as other orthodontic treatments. 

are there alternatives to braces

This difficulty in noticing them comes because lingual braces are fixed to the back of your teeth, rather than the front. Their unobtrusive design also helps to make them one of the more popular treatments, particularly if you play a sport or wind instrument, as they are easier to adapt to. This means that you can carry on with the hobbies that make you happy, all while creating the smile you want to match.

For more information about lingual braces, please go to our page, or call us today. We can book you in for a consultation to see if this kind of brace is right for you.

Discreet braces

Sometimes, the best option for our patients will be to have ordinary braces fitted. This can often leave them worrying about how much their treatment will stand out. However, because of improvements in aligner technology and design, the “train track” look that many people imagine is actually a thing of the past.

Fixed braces

The most popular type of brace fitted by orthodontists in the UK, fixed braces offer a great deal of control over the final positioning of your teeth. Because they are the type that has been around the longest, these braces have been updated over the course of the years, which has allowed for them to be practically perfected in terms of design. This has led to consistently excellent results, particularly in our clinic.

This type works by fitting metal or ceramic braces to the surface of your teeth. When you have them fitted, there is no need for any plastic to be placed in the roof of your mouth, meaning you will still be able to enjoy things such as the flavour of your food. They stay in place 24 hours a day, too, so you will not have to worry about having to put them back in after brushing your teeth.

are there alternatives to braces

Ceramic fixed braces are especially popular among our patients, owing to the fact that they blend in with the natural colour of your teeth. This means that they are harder to spot and will not “compromise” your smile, in the same way that stereotypical braces might be thought to.

If you wish to know more about our fixed braces, please take a look at our page, or contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions, or help you to arrange a consultation.

For more information

Get in touch with Splash Orthodontics today in order to learn more about oral hygiene, getting and wearing braces or to see what else we can offer to help you get straight teeth. We cater to clients of all ages, so there is no need to be embarrassed about getting braces!

Our payment plans are flexible and we have financing options open to those who require them, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you need treatment. Consultations are free and we will be able to find out exactly what you need done.

Why is Nitinol used in braces?

Why is Nitinol used in braces?

What is Nitinol?

Commonly known as nickel titanium, Nitinol is a type of metal alloy that is associated with superelasticity, also known as ‘“shape memory”. What this means is that the metal is able to remember and return to its original shape when heated. It is also able to withstand extreme stress without changing its shape due to its elastic properties.

What is Nitinol used for?

Nitinol has several uses, but is widely renowned for its use in orthodontic and endodontic practices. Nitinol is used for the wiring and brackets that connect teeth. It’s the perfect choice for braces because the alloy is able to bend and shape itself to the requirements of the patient’s tooth formation. 

In endodontics, Nitinol is used during root canals, specifically for cleaning and helping to shape the root canal.

Why is Nitinol used in braces?

why is nitinol used in braces

A braces’ main function is to gently shift and position teeth into their new positions. This is done using wires and brackets that exert just enough force to slowly and gently push and pull the teeth into their new formations. Nitinol wire is perfect for performing this task as it has a high recoverable strain modulus – meaning the wire will continuously attempt to return to its original form and in turn, moving the teeth into position. Once the force is too low to move the teeth, the braces are removed and that part of the treatment is complete.

The advantages of Nitinol for braces over traditional wiring

As the Nitinol is able to remember its former shape, it becomes the perfect material for braces.

Traditional stainless steel wires are likely to lose tension as time passes, meaning you will have to return to your orthodontist to get the wire adjusted. With nitinol wire, your orthodontist will mold the wire to fit the current formation of your teeth. The heat from your mouth will begin to affect the nitinol wire and eventually return to its original shape. This means that as the nitinol wire “straightens out”, it is in turn, shifting your teeth into their new positions.

The biggest advantage of nitinol is less frequent trips to your orthodontist thanks to the alloy being able to “remember” and eventually return to its original form.

What is shape memory?

Shape memory is a term often applied to materials that are able to “remember” and return to their original form. In the context of braces, nitinol is the preferred material to perform such a task.

why is nitinol used in braces

How does shape memory work?

The easiest way to describe memory shape is to liken it to an elastic band. When you stretch an elastic band, the molecules inside it tear apart but do not break. When you stop stretching it, the molecules return to their original form (pulling back together again). 

Shape memory works differently to elasticity, it relies on heat to return to its original form. For example, let’s say you bend an object made from a shape memory alloy (nitinol) it will remain that way because you have deformed its crystalline structure. It will not return to its original form unless heat is applied. When this happens, the crystalline structure reactivates and works to transition itself back to its original form. 

Why is stainless steel used for braces?

Stainless steel has long remained the most trusted material for creating archwires since the early 1900s. Steel was preferred over noble metals because it was cheaper and offered better formability – essentially meaning it is easier to shape and mould to the patient’s mouths.

Stainless steel archwires main advantages are that they are corrosion-resistant and offer fantastic formability.

For more information on braces care and wax

why is nitinol used in braces

Arrange your free consultation with our friendly team today to learn more about your braces options. We cater for all ages and offer a range of braces types, including lingual and metal braces, as well as Invisalign. 

We also offer flexible payment plans and financing options to all patients. For more information on our services, please do not hesitate to get in touch with our friendly team today by calling or emailing.

How to use wax for your braces | Advice from Splash Orthodontics

How to use wax for your braces

How to use wax for braces

Once your braces are applied, there are a number of ways to make wearing them easier. Should your braces experience damage, such as a loose bracket or wire, wax can act as a temporary solution. 

Patients are given a box of wax to help alleviate any discomfort experienced when wearing braces. Simply take a small piece of wax (no bigger than a pea) and press the wax into the painful areas. The wax acts as a guard to the affected area and will help stop and contact between the braces and gums. 

For more information, please watch the video below:

However, wax is not a permanent solution to this problem. In the event of your braces experiencing damage or if they are causing you discomfort, please call or visit our clinic as soon as possible. Leaving your braces damaged could result in improper straightening and added discomfort.

What is wax for braces?

Dental wax is used to help calm and nullify parts of the brace that are rubbing or have become damaged and are therefore causing discomfort. Wax is often applied to protruding brackets, wires and other areas where rubbing with the gumline occurs. Wax is commonly used during the beginning stages of braces, as your mouth and teeth adjust to their new housing. The wax helps to calm and numb any pain experienced until you visit your orthodontist.

What is the wax made from?

To help with the taste and texture, wax is usually made from beeswax or paraffin. There is absolutely no harm in accidentally eating the wax. Some waxes are flavoured but standard wax is not.

how to use wax for your braces

Can you eat and drink with wax on?

While there is no harm ingesting the wax, we do not advise eating while the wax is applied. Eating is likely to remove the presence of the wax, meaning you will have to reapply it. You can try drinking but be sure to avoid contact with the wax when consuming.

Can you go to sleep with wax on your braces?

Yes, in fact, it is advised that if you are experiencing any discomfort associated with your braces, applying wax can help numb the pain. Additionally, you have no control over what you do in your sleep, so if you were to roll onto your face without wax protection, you may wake up with a sore mouth. Again, you do not have to worry about digesting the wax during your sleep.

Waxing for different braces

Wax can be used for all braces, including Invisalign. However, because Invisalign are a set of plastic aligners, the wax will not be used for the same reason as metal braces (loose wires and brackets etc). Instead, the wax can be used to nullify any pain caused by the aligners coming into contact with your gum line; specifically the tops of the aligners.

how to use wax for your braces

What is the best wax for braces?

Waxes come in varying textures and flavours, but all serve to help alleviate discomfort and pain. Choosing a wax is subjective to the patient, there are a number of reputable brands to choose from, all of which can be bought over the counter.

Caring for braces and dental wax

Brushing and flossing as normal can be performed even when the wax is present. You do not need to remove the wax before brushing or flossing, it will simply clean away during the brushing and flossing process. 

If you want to brush and floss without removing the wax, this can also be done, just take care to not remove the wax during the process.

For more information on braces care and wax

Braces for many people can be a little unnerving, especially during the first stages. However, with our expert treatment plans and aftercare advice, any doubts or worries you have will be easily managed. Wax is a fantastic solution to any minor discomforts you are experiencing during any stage of your braces journey and is readily available at almost every pharmacy.

We will also supply you with wax after your braces have been applied and if you require more, simply visit our clinic.

The perils of mail-order braces

The perils of mail-order braces

Mail-order braces

Orthodontic treatment has traditionally been delivered by highly trained specialists and dentists. Now, though, it’s possible to straighten your teeth from the comfort of home. What’s the worst that could happen?

What are mail-order braces?

The growing demand for affordable braces has been answered by the internet. Mail-order orthodontic companies cut out the middleman and deliver clear aligners direct to your door.

Your treatment will start with impressions or a digital scan of your teeth to see if you’re suitable. A few companies have clinics you can visit for a scan. Otherwise, they’ll send you a DIY kit to take your own impressions at home.

Once you’ve sent back imprints of your upper and lower teeth, they’ll tell you if you’re suitable for treatment. You might also receive a preview of your new smile or a simulation of your treatment to approve.

If you’re happy to proceed, your custom-made aligners will be manufactured and popped in the post. During your treatment, you’ll work your way through a sequence of aligners to gradually shift your teeth into position.

At the end of your treatment, you’ll have the opportunity to purchase a set of removable retainers to secure your new smile.

The advantages of at-home teeth straightening

Straightening your teeth at home is undoubtedly convenient. It can also be cheaper than seeing a specialist. Unfortunately, the benefits end here. In our opinion, any advantages are greatly outweighed by the potential pitfalls of online orthodontic treatment.

What could go wrong if you order your braces online?

How hard can it be to straighten teeth?

Cutting out the middleman isn’t a great idea when that middleman or women is the expert. Specialist orthodontists have trained as dentists, studied orthodontics full time for three years and usually have tons of hands-on experience from straightening teeth all day every day.

To determine whether you’re suitable for braces we carry out a thorough examination, which can include photos, scans, impressions and X-rays. If you’re only sending off impressions, no one’s looking at the condition of your teeth and gums or checking that your roots are healthy.

During orthodontic treatment, we see our patients approximately every 6–8 weeks. During these appointments, we check your progress, answer questions and make any necessary adjustments to your teeth and/or braces.

Orthodontics isn’t an exact science, so sometimes we need to adapt our treatment plan to get you the best result.

At the end of your treatment, we’ll check your teeth carefully before we remove your braces. Sometimes we’ll do some fine-tuning, again, to get you the best outcome.

Do you want a good result or a great result?

Throughout your journey there are a few stages where the quality of your treatment could fall short by doing things remotely:

• Taking impressions isn’t easy. We’ve had training and lots of practice. Most impressions are now taken using a digital scanner for greater accuracy (which means better fitting braces).

Invisalign ClinCheck• If there’s no one to motivate you, you might find your willpower slipping a few months in. If you don’t wear your aligners as instructed it could affect the length and results of your treatment.

• We sometimes carry out interproximal reduction (IPR) before or during orthodontic treatment to avoid small black triangles appearing between your teeth and gumline. These are more likely if you’re an adult where your gums have receded (a normal part of the ageing process).

• Orthodontics isn’t just about straightening teeth. The way your teeth function is incredibly important. We can use attachments and elastic bands during treatment to improve the way your teeth bite together. Mail-order aligners can sometimes make your bite worse.

• Not all clear aligner systems are created equal. Invisalign (pictured below) uses small tooth-coloured buttons to achieve more complex movements. These allow us to take on complex cases using clear aligners – and achieve precise results.

Invisalign Express

• Clear aligners are the only type of brace available online, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best option for you. We offer a wide range of braces for you to choose from, including clear fixed braces and lingual braces (fixed braces that go behind your teeth).

• Some orthodontists offer complementary treatments such as teeth whitening and shaping at the end of orthodontic treatment. These non-invasive cosmetic treatments can look fantastic – but they must be provided by a professional.

Maintaining your new smile

Once your braces are taken off, there’s always a risk that your teeth will move back to where they started. That’s why we give our patients fixed and removable retainers. Together they provide maximum protection against orthodontic relapse.

Most mail-order braces give you the option to buy a set of removable retainers, then it’s up to you. Eventually, your removable retainers will wear out (or go missing) and you’ll need to organise replacements. It’s important to have someone who can help in these instances.

Fixed retainers involve fitting a thin metal wire behind your front teeth. They provide extra peace of mind in case anything does happen to your removable retainers. Our aftercare also includes 12 months of supervision, so we can keep an expert eye on your teeth.

Thank you, next!

We enjoy getting to know our patients over the course of their treatment. It’s important to us that you have a good experience and leave us smiling. If you have any concerns or questions, we’re at the end of the phone – or you can pop in and see us.

Unfortunately, the same can’t always be said for mail-order companies. According to a recent article, other complaints include “broken and loose teeth and misaligned bites”. If the worst does happen to put things right can prove costly and take time.

Not everyone has a bad experience, but if you’re thinking about at-home teeth straightening, our advice would be to visit a specialist orthodontist for a second opinion. Your treatment might cost a bit more, but your smile will be in the best possible hands.