Your Questions Answered

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment usually involves the wearing of fixed or removable appliances (braces) to straighten the teeth, correct the bite and improve the facial profile. Information about orthodontics can be found at – the website of the British Orthodontic Society.

Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?

It is never too late to take the initiative and gain the positive benefits of a beautiful, healthy, natural smile. It may be that you missed out on orthodontic treatment as a child – and are conscious of gaps, crowding or other irregularities of your teeth. The good news is that orthodontics can be carried out at any age. Over 85% of adults who seek an orthodontic opinion decide to proceed with treatment. A new smile is for life, and can prove to be a worthwhile investment!

Will I have to wear ‘train-track’ metal braces?

Patients have access to a wide range of treatment options, including aesthetic (tooth-coloured) brackets, Invisalign®s (clear, removable aligners) and lingual orthodontics (braces placed behind the teeth, so no-one else knows you are wearing them).

How long will treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment usually takes 18-24 months to complete active treatment, followed by an ongoing period of retention.

Why have I been referred to the orthodontist?

Your dentist has referred you for specialist advice about the position of your teeth. The orthodontist will advise whether you would benefit from orthodontic treatment.

Why might I need orthodontic treatment?

There are three main reasons for having orthodontic treatment:

  • To improve the appearance of the teeth
  • To improve function (e.g. make it easier to eat)
  • To improve the health of the teeth and gums
Do I have to be referred by my dentist?

Patients under 18 are usually referred by their general dental practitioner – but adults (over 18) may self-refer for a private assessment.

What happens at my first appointment?

Dr Millen examines your mouth and teeth, and will usually take X-rays, photographs and impressions of your teeth. This examination will enable her to decide the most appropriate treatment for you.