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Six Month Smiles – What You Need to Know

posted October 3, 2016

We’re going to be slightly provocative and ask: if you were considering having major surgery such as a heart bypass, a skin graft, or eye laser treatment, would you rather that surgery was performed by a general doctor, or a consultant in the appropriate field?

It’s a bit of a no-brainer really, because we all know that people in many professions undertake specific training so that they can perform specialist tasks to the required depth. Dentistry and orthodontics is no different.

In fact, dentistry and orthodontics has its origins with early human beings. Remains with crooked teeth have been discovered dating back as far as 50,000 years. The ancient Egyptians preserved mummies with make-shift metal bands around their teeth, possibly tied with catgut.

Even the term orthodontics has its roots in ancient Greek. Hippocrates and Pliny the Elder both wrote about solutions for realigning teeth by various crude measures.

Teeth straightening and corrections of bite have been needed throughout the evolution of our species. Luckily for us the solutions have become more and more sophisticated and effective over the centuries!

The orthodontists of today train specifically in the art of solving spacing problems (either overcrowding or gaps), tooth realignment and other jaw/bite issues for three years or more, using the latest modern technology and methods.

The higher study/qualification path of an orthodontist would be something like this:

  • 3 A-levels, which include chemistry and biology ranging from AAA to ABB depending on the individual university’s requirements.
  • A bachelor of dental surgery degree (known as BDS or BChD), which takes 5 years to complete (if students already have a degree in biology, chemistry or another biomedical related subject – class 2:1 or higher), they may apply for the accelerated 4 year degree course.
  • Once qualified as a dentist the next step is registration with the General Dental Council (GDC), followed by experience in all fields of dentistry.
  • After gaining experience, dentists must undertake an orthodontic training scheme that takes a further 3 years of study, culminating in an exam called the Membership in Orthodontics examination (MOrth).
  • Some qualified orthodontists choose to then study for a higher degree, such as a Master of Science (MSc), master of clinical dentistry in orthodontics (MClinDent) or doctorate of dental surgery (DDS).

Six Month Smiles

Obviously there are some downsides to wearing traditional braces for 18 months to two years, including discomfort, cost and care. However, these are worthwhile sacrifices that many have made so they can flash a smile they love for the rest of their life.

A quicker, slightly cheaper system has recently taken the market by storm, known as ‘Six Month Smiles’. These clear braces which are designed to work on the quick alignment of the front teeth, have expanded into the UK from the USA, where they are very popular. Six Month Smiles can be provided by some dentists after only 10 hours of training on its implementation.

Six Month Smiles undoubtedly offers many benefits, however, don’t be tempted to commit to treatment before seeing a fully trained orthodontist. After consultation, an orthodontist will be able to tell you either: yes, it’s a viable solution for you, or no, it’s not appropriate for your circumstances.

You wouldn’t want to find yourself in a scenario where you had chosen the Six Month Smiles solution only to find that the results weren’t quite as you hoped, resulting in further orthodontic treatment anyway.

Want to know more about how we can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted?

Either call on 02380 220008, or pop in and see us at the Southampton Orthodontic Centre for friendly, expert advice. We’ll be happy to help.


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