Orthodontics – Frequently Asked Questions

Orthodontics can be a baffling world… So we thought we would address some common questions that we’re asked here at Cliftonville…


Q. What are the most common treatments?

A. Conditions such as overbites, misaligned teeth, crowding, crossbite, protruding upper front teeth.


Q. Where does the term ‘orthodontics’ originate? A. 

Like a lot of our terminology, the term orthodontics emanates from Ancient Greece. The word is a splice of ‘ortho’ which refers to straight and ‘odontos’ meaning teeth’.


Q. What is the difference between orthodontists and dentists?

A. Both professions are based around improving a patient’s oral health however, whilst dentists have a broad knowledge of dentalcare, orthodontists spend an additional 2 years training to acquire specialist knowledge and training to treat problems with bites, misalignment of teeth and occlusion.


Q. Are there different kinds of braces?

A. Yes. There are several types of braces (or apparatus) that serve slightly different purposes, though fundamentally, their main purpose is to straighten teeth. Some of the different types of braces include:

  • Traditional braces – these are the most conspicuous type of braces but have an extremely high success rate and do what they say on the tin. This type of brace also gives kids the option of choosing snazzy coloured bands.
  • Invisible’ braces – these actually encompass several types of braces treatment that are designed to go unnoticed by others. The world of orthodontics is constantly developing with the social and cultural needs of the world, in terms of appearances in the workplace and in school. Some of the braces encompassed by this term include Invisalign, Incognito, White braces and Damon braces.
  • Aligner-based braces treatment – this refers to treatments such as Invisalign whereby the patient has to wear several clear alingers over the course of 13-18 months. This treatment is favoured by adults as it is non-invasive and inconspicuous in the workplace.
  • ICE braces – these are arguably the best quality braces available. They function more effectively than traditional metal braces and are designed to blend with your teeth


See the table below for a comparison between orthodontic and dentistry services.

Orthodontist Dentist
5 years training at Dental school. Yes Yes
3 years training as specialist in orthodontics. Yes No
Specialist in straitening teeth and jaw treatment Yes No
Offer patients general check-ups and scale & polish (cleaning). No Yes
Offers patients cosmetic fillings and cavity treatments. No Yes
Offers patients tooth extractions. No Yes


Q. What are the differences between fixed and removable braces?

A. Removable appliances put more responsibility into the patient’s hands, as there are set times to remove the brace at the right time, clean it and maintain consistency with dental hygiene habits. Removable braces do not prevent you eating the foods you enjoy, as you can take them out to do this. On the other hand, fixed appliances make it more difficult to clean your appliance and limit the types of food you can eat. Fixed appliances have been known to yield a higher quality results, though removable braces place a lot more emphasis on convenience and treatment takes less time.



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