6 Month Smiles braces

6 Month Smiles falls under the category of fixed braces and is a discreet (tooth coloured brackets and wires) orthodontic braces system that focuses on straightening only the front 6 to 8 teeth (i.e. only the teeth that show when you smile). This means the treatment is much faster than conventional orthodontics, which focuses on all of your teeth. 6 month smiles can be used to treat crooked teeth, misalignment, unsightly gaps, or a misplaced midline. As the name suggests, 6 Month Smiles is a quick procedure, with most results achieved in 6-9 months.

The 6 Month Smiles procedure

The first step is to find a 6 Month Smiles certified provider and book a consultation. Be sure to find a certified provider and one that is reasonably close to work or home as you will need to attend several appointments over the course of your treatment. Some clinics offer a free initial 6 Month Smiles consultation and it is in this appointment where you will find out if the treatment is suitable for you.

The 6 Month Smiles consultation

During your initial consultation, your dentist will examine your mouth and may take some photographs and X-rays. He will discuss the likely outcomes, timescales and possible problems you may experience during the treatment. You will have the opportunity to ask any questions that you may have and discuss the costs of your 6 Month Smiles treatment.

Diagnostic records and fitting your 6 Month Smiles brackets

If you decide to go ahead with the proposed treatment plan, an impression (mould) of your teeth will be taken and, based on this, the 6 Month Smiles laboratory will fabricate a template / guide for the dentist to position the brackets and wires in the precise location on each tooth.

Some experienced dentists or specialist orthodontists will be able to place the brackets immediately without the need for a custom template from the laboratory. This could speed up the treatment time as the laboratory process can take up to 4 weeks in some cases.

Case study courtesy of Dr Anoop Maini
Case study courtesy of Dr Anoop Maini

Your 6 Month Smiles braces are fitted

The dentist will attach your 6 Month Smiles braces using special dental glue. The brackets and wires are tooth-coloured and barely noticeable, making this a discreet and painless way of regaining a confident smile.

Progress is reviewed 5-6 weeks and adjustments are made

The position of your teeth will alter rapidly over the next few months, meaning that you will need regular check-ups. Every 5-6 weeks your braces will be adjusted and you may need interproximal reduction (IPR) to ensure that your treatment goes smoothly. Interproximal reduction is a procedure whereby a small amount of enamel is stripped between 2 teeth that are touching to create the space required for them to move. Over the treatment time your teeth will move into the position intended by your treatment plan.

Treatment is complete and retainers are fitted

Once your treatment is finished and your teeth have moved to their final position you will be given a retainer, which is either a removable appliance to be worn at night or a thin wire fitted to the back of your teeth. A retainer ensures that your teeth do not move back into their previous position.

What are the advantages of 6 Month Smiles?

  1. 6 Month Smiles braces work at a much quicker rate than traditional braces treatments, which can often take 2-3 years to accomplish the same cosmetic results.
  2. They are ideal for anyone who needs to straighten their teeth quickly in time for a particular event, such as a wedding.
  3. The tooth-coloured brackets and wires enable the procedure to be completed with the utmost subtlety and they can only be seen from very close-up.
  4. The cost of 6 Month Smiles is less than longer brace treatments because fewer visits to your dentist are required.

What are the disadvantages of 6 Month Smiles?

  1. They are not as discreet as clear brace options such as Invisalign and are visible from close up.
  2. During the first few weeks of wearing 6 Month Smiles, you may feel some discomfort and your speech may be mildly affected. However, these problems generally disappear once you become accustomed to the brace.
  3. 6 Month Smiles are not suitable for severe orthodontic problems, in which case other fixed braces may be more suitable.
  4. Cleaning your teeth becomes more difficult whilst wearing 6 Month Smiles.
  5. It does not treat the entire arch like comprehensive orthodontics and so may cause problems with your bite.

What questions should I ask during the 6 Month Smiles consultation?

  • How much will the treatment cost and are there any extra fees (hidden prices)?
  • How often will I need to come back for review appointments and are they included in the price?
  • If one of my brackets comes off during treatment will I need to pay more?
  • How long after my first appointment can I expect to receive my braces?
  • Will I see the same dentist / orthodontist for every appointment?
  • Are retainers included in the agreed price?

How long does treatment with 6 Month Smiles take?

As the name suggests the treatment is usually complete within 6 months. However, the exact treatment time varies between individuals and in some cases can take a little longer than 6 months and others as little as 4 months. This time period is a lot quicker than comprehensive orthodontic treatment which can take 2 years or more, but it is important to understand that 6 Month Smiles only treats the teeth that show when you smile and not the full arch.

Do 6 Month Smiles braces hurt?

There may be some mild discomfort during the initial few weeks, but this will disappear once you are accustomed to the braces. Painkillers such as paracetamol should help but if you experience severe pain contact your dentist / orthodontist immediately.

Will 6 Month Smiles affect my speech?

At first your speech may be affected as your mouth adjusts to wearing braces. This usually subsides within a couple of weeks.

How much does 6 Month Smiles cost?

The price you pay for 6 Month Smiles braces will depend on several factors, including the practice where you have the treatment, how complex your case is, if you need to correct the upper teeth, lower teeth or both arches and the experience of the practitioner carrying out your treatment. As a general rule of thumb the more experienced a dentist / orthodontist is the more they would charge. Your dentist / orthodontist should outline the costs to you at your consultation.

Typically the cost of 6 Month Smiles treatment ranges from £2000 to £3500.