Searching for an orthodontist in Bournemouth and Poole but going round in circles?

More and more patients nowadays are looking for teeth straightening as adults to make their smile look amazing.

However, the more you look into teeth straightening the more you’ll find there is a maze of options in the Bournemouth and Poole area. Invisalign? Braces? Dentist or orthodontist? It can sometimes lead to not knowing where you stand or where to go next.

So, let’s look at the options for an orthodontist in Bournemouth or Poole and untangle the web.

How to find an orthodontist in Bournemouth and Poole

The first question you need to ask is why you want to straighten your teeth?

Amongst other factors, the reason for straightening has implications on who the best person is to straighten them and which method would be most suitable.

It’s likely you’ll fall into one of two categories…

  1. Aesthetics – You don’t like the way they look because your teeth are crowded, gappy or turned the wrong way.
  2. Function – You are having trouble biting and using your teeth properly.

If you’re straightening your teeth for cosmetic purposes you’ll be following a different path to those who want to improve their bite. You’ll be either looking for traditional orthodontics or cosmetic orthodontics.

What’s the difference between traditional orthodontics and cosmetic orthodontics?

Orthodontist Bournemouth

Traditional Orthodontics

These are not a quick fix. Treatment time can last 12-24 months and is comprehensive. This means it involves straightening all of your teeth, including the large back ones, then ensuring your bite is correct. It is both functional and aesthetic.

This is normally carried out by a specialist orthodontist in Bournemouth and Poole, like those who treat children at Bournemouth Hospital.

Traditional orthodontics are the braces you’d have had as a child, the good old  ‘train tracks’. Although metal braces are still common when straightening in this way, there are now white brackets and wires also available.

Cosmetic Orthodontics

Recent innovations in modern methods have revolutionised how we can straighten teeth and reduce the time to an average of around 6-12 months.

It’s cosmetically driven and focusses solely to improve the aesthetics of your teeth, straightening only the teeth you see when you smile.

They can be more comfortable, almost invisible and focussed on getting the best result for adults, not children.

Most adults are suitable for modern techniques if you are only looking to improve your smile, however for those with severe misalignment or looking to change their bite, traditional orthodontics may be more suitable.

What’s the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

 Dentist or Orthodontist Poole Bournemouth

The orthodontist

A ‘specialised orthodontist’ is a dentist that has undergone 3 extra years of training at a dental university.

An orthodontist in Bournemouth Hospital would be a specialist orthodontist.

Orthodontists can perform traditional and modern orthodontics.

They are able to move the back molar teeth to correct bites as well as the front ones for aesthetics. Seeing an orthodontist is therefore perfect if you want to change your bite and improve function. They are also mostly responsible for providing NHS orthodontics for children, like the Bournemouth Hospital department.

Generally speaking, specialist orthodontists only do teeth straightening and no other types of dentistry. For example, they wouldn’t perform composite bonding and veneers or whiten your teeth afterwards. Once your teeth are straightened you’ll be discharged and won’t see them again. This is, of course, great if you’re only looking for orthodontics in Bournemouth and Poole, but not if you’re looking for teeth straightening with other cosmetic treatment to have the complete cosmetic package.

The dentist

A dentist is also known as a ‘General Dental Practitioner (GDP)’, rather like your general doctor (GP). They come in many shapes and sizes. Some look after your day-to-day health, others perform surgery, botox and fillers, cosmetic dentistry and some have a particular interest in teeth straightening. They may not have done 3 extra years in university but are committed every year to improve and honing their skills, including orthodontics.

Generally speaking, a dentist will provide cosmetic orthodontics. This means they only straighten the teeth that show when you smile, and not the back 3 molar teeth.

The massive advantage of your dentist straightening your teeth over an orthodontist is they can look at the bigger picture.

Perhaps you have chips on your front teeth due to a previous bad bite or would like whitening. Your dentist can incorporate this into the initial plan, ensuring you have the best cosmetic outcome possible. Because your dentist will do your check-ups in the future you’ll also have them maintaining your teeth.

It’s possible a dentist may refer you to a specialist orthodontist if there are very complicated concerns from a patient, but on the whole they can sort most cases.

Types of cosmetic orthodontics for smashing your selfies

So we’ve established that teeth can be straightened for function or aesthetics, and we know the difference between dentists and orthodontists, but what options are available to you?

Clear Orthodontic Aligners

orthodontist bournemouth options - invisalign 2

These are clear removable trays that resemble a whitening tray or very thin mouth guard. They are worn for 22 hours per day but can be removed for eating and drinking.

Made of thin clear plastic, they’re practically invisible when smiling. They are worn in a special order and you change them every 1-2 weeks as they move your teeth.

Clear aligners are perfect for mild to moderate orthodontic cases, and you can be finished within 3 weeks.

The largest worldwide manufacturer of clear aligners is Invisalign. Now with over 5 million happy patients they are miles ahead of the competition.

For more information about how Invisalign in Bournemouth can improve your smile in photographs follow the link.


orthodontist bournemouth poole option - six month smiles

These are generally ‘fast braces’ fixed to your teeth and work similar to traditional orthodontic braces. However, the brackets and the wires are tooth coloured and blend in.

The great thing about fixed braces is the short wear time with an average of around 6-12 months. If the large molar teeth don’t need to be moved to correct your bite then treatment time will be reduced.

Fixed braces are perfect for correcting more comprehensive orthodontic issues and are often perfect if other modern techniques are not. For example, if you’re not suitable for Invisalign it’s likely a fixed brace will do the trick.

They are adjusted and tightened every 4-8 weeks and move your teeth like a traditional brace, just quicker.

Examples of fixed modern braces include Six Month Smiles.

To find out more about Six Month Smiles in Bournemouth and Poole orthodontic braces click on the link.

Lingual Braces

orthodontist bournemouth - lingual braces

Consisting of brackets and wires like traditional braces, but placed on the backs of your teeth.

They straighten your teeth like a traditional brace, with the obvious advantage that they’re difficult to spot.

However, the brackets and wires can irritate and ulcerate your tongue. They are also more difficult to clean and can affect speech.

An example of lingual braces includes Incognito. You can find an orthodontist in Bournemouth that provides these but I do not offer them.

Removable Aligners

orthodontist bournemouth option - inman aligner

The classic example is the Inman Aligner

These are used in special circumstances and are ideal for mild orthodontic cases, for example, if you’ve already had braces and your teeth have moved back because you didn’t wear your retainers.

It works only on the front teeth. The Inman Aligner has Nickel Titanium coil springs that bring together two bows (one on the front and one on the back), guiding the teeth into their new position.

They can be less expensive than other methods because they only correct minor issues.

The main issue is the bulk of the device as it can encroach on your tongue and cause a lisp. The metal bar on the front is also not very nice.

The Inman Aligner is OK, but it doesn’t offer anything extra that other forms of teeth straightening can.

Don’t forget – Retainers

No matter which dentist or orthodontist in Bournemouth and Poole you visit, they will mention to you about ‘retention’.

This is a crucial stage at the end of your orthodontic treatment and stops your teeth relapsing (or moving back).

The crucial point here is that retainers are for LIFE. This does not necessarily mean all day, every day but there is always a risk your teeth will crowd up again.

Your orthodontist will advise you of the most suitable options.

If you’re looking for an orthodontist in Bournemouth and Poole I hope this clears a few things up.

It really boils down to which method you are suitable for and your personal preference to fit around your lifestyle.

Your dentist will always discuss all of your available options so you to make a proper decision. If they believe you’d be better with a conventional brace, then they may refer you to a specialist orthodontist in Bournemouth and Poole.


Dr Gareth Edwards Dentist AuthorDr Gareth Edwards BDS (Hons) MFDS RCPS (Glasg) is a dentist who qualified from dental school with honours. Practicing from Bournemouth and Poole, he has a keen interest in orthodontics and aesthetic dentistry and is a certified Invisalign and Six Month Smiles provider. For more information click here.


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