Tips & advice

What is the process for getting braces?

Monday, December 2nd, 2019



Congratulations for taking the first step in changing your smile!

We often get asked how soon treatment can start and what the steps in the process so here is a guide that should help answer any initial questions:

  1. Free consultation (optional)

You may find it helpful to visit the practice for a complimentary consultation initially. This is usually with the Treatment Coordinator. The Treatment Coordinator will sit down with you and find out more about what you are hoping to achieve. They will also be able to show you the different types of braces and talk you through how they work. You will also be able to see some before and after photos. As the Treatment Coordinator is not a dentist, this appointment will not involve any checking of your teeth or clinical diagnosis and treatment planning.


  1. Full Orthodontic Assessment

This appointment is with the Specialist Orthodontist and is a much longer appointment. The Specialist Orthodontist will check the health of your teeth and gums, take full records including photos and a large scan x-ray. They will then sit with you to explain the diagnosis and treatment recommendations and where possible provide a treatment plan. They will also be able to give you an idea of the estimated length of time your treatment is expected to take.


  1. Paperwork appointment

You will be given time to decide which is the best treatment option for you. When you are ready and we have discussed how you wish to fund your treatment, a paperwork appointment will be arranged with our Treatment Coordinator. Dr Hirani will prepare a detailed consent form outlining all aspects of your treatment. We will then sit down with you to go through this and answer any questions you may have. When we are certain you are happy to proceed, we will ask you to sign your consent form and other paperwork to get started with your treatment.


  1. Records or brace fit appointment

Depending on the type of brace you choose, the next step will vary:

  1. a) For braces such as Invisalign, these are customised and full digital records will need to be taken before we can proceed with the paperwork appointment (ask a member of the SmileLux team for more information)
  2. b) Lingual braces are also customised and it is at this stage that the digital records would need to be taken which are sent to the laboratory for manufacture. They usually take around 8 weeks to be made.
  3. c) With ceramic or metal braces, treatment can usually begin as soon as there is a mutually suitable appointment after the paperwork has all been signed and finances are in place.


If you would like any further information for the process or have any other questions at all, please contact a member of the SmileLux team on 01908 398068. Our Orthodontist in Milton Keynes, Dr Sunil Hirani is trained to Hospital Consultant level as a Specialist Orthodontist.

Why do teeth move after braces?

Monday, August 26th, 2019

Retainers for blog post 27.08.2019

Teeth move all the time

Many people do not realise that teeth are mobile. They are held into the jaw bone by periodontal ligaments. These are not hard like bone, they are elastic. Without these ligaments orthodontic treatment would not be possible as they allow the teeth to move. When the brace is removed, the ligaments remember the original position of the tooth and would allow the teeth to drift back to that position again.


General daily wear and tear 

The mouth is the most used part of the body. Eating food can cause the teeth to wear down over time, especially if a bite is out of line. Every time you bite into something or chew your food the teeth will be affected. Every time you talk, your tongue generates a pressure against your teeth. All these things can over time cause your teeth to move.  


Changes in the mouth

As we go through life, there can be changes to your teeth which can cause unwanted tooth movement. Things like having a tooth extracted or periodontal problems can cause the teeth to drift and fill spaces that have appeared. The bite can also be affected if an opposing tooth is removed as the tooth above it can move downwards to fill the airspace.  Other factors such as jaw growth, wisdom teeth erupting and ageing can cause changes to occur in the mouth which may affect the position of the teeth.


Wearing retainers

When your braces are removed, to prevent unwanted tooth movement it is very important to wear retainers. Braces are used to move the teeth and retainers are used to hold the teeth in position. Without retainers, the teeth will want to move …. which is usually back to how they were at the beginning!

Many patients we treat are having a second or even third course of orthodontic treatment because they have not been told the importance of life long retainers. We place fixed wire retainers behind the upper and lower teeth after orthodontic treatment. We also provide removable retainers which are to be worn 2 nights per week in conjunction with a fixed retainer. If no fixed retainer is fitted, the removable retainers should be worn every night for 6 months, then 3-4 nights per week permanently.

If you would like any further information on our retainers or if you are looking to have your teeth straightened, contact a member of the SmileLux team today by phone 01908 398068 or visit our website

How early should children see an Orthodontist?

Monday, July 8th, 2019


Children should be monitored as young as age 7 for future orthodontic treatment. Often actual treatment will not start until a child has all their adult teeth however early intervention can sometimes be recommended while the jaw is still growing. This can eliminate the need for more obtrusive treatment in adulthood such as jaw surgery.

Here are some early warning signs that your child should see an Orthodontist:

  1. Thumb/ finger sucking or prolonged use of a dummy
  2. Wonky teeth
  3. Sticking out teeth (known as an overjet)
  4. Deep bite (when the top teeth almost completely cover the bottom teeth when biting)
  5. Early or late loss of baby teeth
  6. Speech difficulties
  7. Problems with eating due to the bite
  8. Grinding or clenching of teeth
  9. Missing teeth
  10. Signs of tooth wear

If you are worried about your child’s teeth and feel they would benefit from seeing an Orthodontist in Milton Keynes, contact us today on 01908 398068 to find out more about how we can help.

Braces vs Veneers

Monday, July 1st, 2019

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We often hear people say that they are considering veneers or braces to straighten their teeth. Veneers and crowns are often the only solution if a tooth is broken or unattractive in appearance. Veneers should not be used to improve the position of the teeth when they are healthy and strong.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • Like a false nail, a veneer is a thin porcelain cover that is bonded to the front of a tooth.
  • Having veneers means the tooth has to be filed down (or drilled). This often needs to be by a substantial amount if a tooth is quite far forward in the arch. This filing is irreversible, once the enamel is gone it is not possible to put it back again.
  • Whenever a tooth is filed down it means that the life of the tooth is reduced. Eventually the tooth may need more extensive treatment like a crown or even extraction and replacement with a bridge or dental implant.
  • Veneers are not for life, after around 10-15 years they may need replacing. This means further fees and further destruction to your teeth.
  • Veneered teeth can be more sensitive to hot and cold due to having large amounts of the enamel that protects them being removed.
  • Veneers can appear “fake” looking in comparison to real teeth.
  • It is not possible to whiten your teeth without having the veneers replaced. This is because whitening agent does not affect the colour of the veneer. You would need to whiten the teeth and get them to the desired shade and then have a new veneer made to match.

Braces move your natural teeth without causing any harm. You will only need to have the treatment once (providing retainers are worn).

People claim that veneers are “instant orthodontics”. Often people are not told the implications of this type of treatment and find out when it is too late.

Braces do take time; the teeth have to be allowed time to move between adjustments. If the treatment is too fast, this can damage the roots of the teeth and mean that the teeth move back to their original positions much faster.

If you are considering veneers to straighten your smile, speak to your Dentist today about other less invasive and harmful options like orthodontic treatment.

Here at SmileLux Specialist Orthodontist in Milton Keynes, we have a range of traditional and discreet braces to straighten your teeth naturally. Contact a member of The SmileLux team today on 01908 398068 for more information.


Benefits of Braces

Monday, June 17th, 2019

Benefits of Braces.

These are just some of the many benefits listed above of having braces. If any of these apply to you and if you would like to find out more about how we can help to improve your smile, contact our SmileLux Team today on 01908 398068 or send us an email at

How does Thumb and Finger sucking affect the teeth?

Monday, June 10th, 2019

child sucking thumb 2

Thumb sucking can damage your teeth and affect your bite!

  • We give all our patients advice about the dangers of thumb sucking and any other habits that might cause damage if especially continued during orthodontic treatment.
  • Digit sucking pushes the teeth forward into abnormal positions and distorts the growth of the jaws and interferes with the correct development of the bite. A more sinister risk is root resorption, where the root of the tooth slowly dissolves away.
  • It is important for all patients to stop all habits completely prior to the commencement of orthodontic treatment in order to prevent root resorption. You cannot have braces if you have one of these habits!

Effects on the upper jaw

  • The patient usually presses the thumb onto the roof of the upper jaw (the palate) and also onto the back surface of the upper front teeth (the upper incisors). Contact is also made with the lower incisors.
  • The effect of this thumb sucking action is to push the upper jaw and teeth forward, causing an increase in the overjet (when the upper teeth stick out).
  • Contact with lower teeth causes them to be pushed inwards and sometimes backwards, which results in an anterior open bite (the upper and lower teeth separated and you can see clear daylight between the teeth when the patient bites).
  • The patient usually presses the thumb onto the roof of the upper jaw (the palate) and also onto the back surface of the upper front teeth (the upper incisors). Contact is also made with the lower incisors.
  • The effect of this thumb sucking action is to push the upper jaw and teeth forward, causing an increase in the overjet (when the upper teeth stick out).
  • Contact with lower teeth causes them to be pushed inwards and sometimes backwards, which results in an anterior open bite (the upper and lower teeth separated and you can see clear daylight between the teeth when the patient bites).

Effects on the lower jaw

  • As the fingers press against the front of the lower jaw and the lower front teeth, they disrupt the bite.
  • The upper and lower teeth are pushed outwards towards the lips and an anterior open bite and increased

How to stop?

  • Use a conscious reminder during the day e.g. stop and grow varnish or anti nail-biting varnish applied to the fingers and thumbs several times a day.
  • Employ an obstructive technique at night time e.g. mittens or socks over both hands to prevent subconscious insertion of the fingers or thumbs into the mouth.
  • These two methods should be used for at least 3 months after the habit has stopped to prevent relapse.


If you are worried about your child’s (or your own) thumb/finger sucking habit and the effect it may have on the teeth, contact us to find out how we can help. Our Specialist Orthodontist in Milton Keynes, Dr Sunil Hirani, specialises in moving teeth and correcting bites. Click here


What are the causes of bad breath?

Monday, December 10th, 2018

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Many people may not even know that they suffer with bad breath, perhaps a partner or close friend may point it out. It is quite right to say that if you have a bad taste in your mouth it is likely that your breath will also smell and this can be noticeable to those around you.

So what causes bad breath?

Bacteria in the mouth

Bacteria is the most common cause of bad breath. The mouth is a warm place and therefore a breeding ground for bacteria to thrive. We cannot avoid this bacteria, we have to eat of course! But how can we stop the foul smells? Whenever you eat try and make sure you also have a drink as this helps to flush the bacteria away and prevent it sticking to the teeth as much. Water is of course best. Chewing gum after eating can also help as this increases your saliva flow which contains the good bacteria that fights the bad bacteria. If you have braces, chewing gum is of course not an option so you will need to carry your toothbrush and/or some fluoride mouthwash with you for after you have eaten.


Certain foods and drinks can cause bad breath such as coffee, tea, onions and garlic. There is no way to prevent this other than brushing your teeth after eating or having chewing gum or a mint. It may take a day or too for the onion and garlic smell to completely disappear.

Dry mouth

Some people can naturally have a dry mouth where they are not producing enough saliva to keep the teeth clean and fresh. These people may need to drink water much more frequently as they may feel very thirsty through the day and night. We all produce much less saliva through the night while we are sleeping which can often explain the term “morning breath”. This is also why it is so important to clean your teeth before you go to sleep as the bad bacteria from the food we eat can attack the teeth and gums without the good bacteria from our saliva to fight it away. Other reasons why someone may suffer from dry mouth can be linked to smoking, certain medications, salivary gland problems or mouth breathing.

Gum disease

Do your gums bleed when you brush or floss your teeth? This is a sign of gum disease. Many people ignore this but if you bleed from your ears, eyes or nose would you have it checked by a doctor? How are the gums any different? Bleeding is a warning sign that something is wrong. If gum disease is left it can turn into even worse problems such as the loss of bone around the teeth which can cause them to become mobile. Bad breath can be another sign someone has gum disease. The way to help prevent this is to brush your teeth using an electric toothbrush twice per day and also using floss or interdental brushes before you brush your teeth at night. Also ensure that you visit your dentist every 6 months and hygienist every 3 – 6 months to remove any hardened plaque that has formed around your teeth.

Tooth decay

The smell caused by tooth decay is a very distinct odour that gets worse the longer it is left. Anything generally associated with the word “decay” is going to smell! When bacteria from food, especially sugar, eats away through the enamel and then into the dentine of the tooth, it will start small and then get bigger and bigger until the tooth is filled or has to be removed. If you have noticed any darker patches on your teeth or yellow/brown discolouration, you may have tooth decay. Sensitivity from a tooth can also be a sign of early decay.


Smoking can disguise the symptoms of gum disease as the tobacco can stop haematosis (bleeding). It is very common for people who smoke to suffer with gum disease as the nicotine damages the healthy gum tissue. It can reduce the ability to taste food as well as putting you at risk of endless health problems such as heart disease and strokes. Smoking is a large cause of bad breath and smokers often cannot notice as their sense of smell is affected.

Medical problems

A number of medical problems can cause bad breath such as sinus infections, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. It is even more important to keep the teeth and gums healthy to prevent getting gum disease if you have any of these conditions.

The tongue

Did you know that the tongue can also harbour bacteria? If you stick your tongue out the back of the tongue can be an indicator as to whether there is bacteria around causing bad breath. If there is a white or brown coating, make sure you brush it away using your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.

If you are worried or concerned about your teeth or gums in any way, you would benefit from seeing your dentist. Here at SmileLux in Milton Keynes we can certainly help by checking your teeth and gums and recommending a course of treatment to help prevent bad breath from occurring and to ensure you have a bright white and dazzling smile. Contact a member of The SmileLux Team today to find out how we can help on 01908 398068

Many children are not brushing their teeth for long enough!

Monday, October 15th, 2018

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A recent survey found that around one in 10 children (12%) brush their teeth for less than 30 seconds.  58% of parents said their children only clean their teeth for one minute and 30 seconds or less.  Children should brush their teeth for two minutes minimum.

The fact that so many are not brushing for the minimum time recommended can have serious consequences in later life. The high rate of oral decay among children and adults is a serious concern.

Getting children to brush their teeth is a source of stress for many families so here are some helpful tips!

  • Make brushing a stress free habit by introducing brushing habits at a very early age.
  • Use a timer or an interactive smart toothbrush to encourage children to brush for 2 minutes or more. 
  • Brush with your child so they can see what you/they are doing. You should supervise them until they are around 7 years old.
  • Make brushing fun by letting children choose their own toothbrush.
  • Don’t worry if your child prefers a manual brush to an electric one, the important thing is that children are brushing for 2 minutes, twice a day.
  • Ask your child to brush their favourite toy’s teeth, it can often encourage them.
  • Introduce rewards for when they brush for 2 minutes – stars or stickers often work well!

How is an Orthodontist different from a Dentist?

Monday, October 8th, 2018


A dentist and Orthodontist can both offer brace treatments however did you know that an Orthodontist has a whole array of extra qualifications to be able to specialise in moving teeth with braces?

This doesn’t mean that a general dentist cannot offer braces, and many do to a good standard. In most cases a general dentist will not have the same level of experience and training as a Specialist Orthodontist.

An Orthodontist has not only trained at dental school for 5 years to become a dentist, they have then gone on to train as a Specialist Orthodontist for a further 3-5 years at Masters or Doctorate level. Becoming a Specialist Orthodontist is not easy and the training posts are very highly sought after and difficult to get in to. Experience needs to be gained by working in maxillofacial surgery, restorative dentistry and paediatric dentistry.

After this intense training, to be able to use the title “Specialist Orthodontist” and be listed on the General Dental Council’s Specialist register they must undergo the membership in orthodontics examination of the Royal College of Surgeons.

A general dentist may have done a few days training course to enable them to offer one type of brace. Many Orthodontists will have the ability to offer metal or ceramic fixed braces, lingual braces behind the teeth and also removable clear braces and will also be able to deal with the simplest case to the most extreme.

Some general dentists can offer simple orthodontic treatments within general practice, however with more complex cases it is recommended that the patient is referred to a Specialist Orthodontist who is trained specifically with braces.

Here at SmileLux we accept referrals from dentists and also treat patients for orthodontic treatment who contact us directly.

Dr Hirani is a highly sought after Specialist Orthodontist in the UK with extensive training and experience.  He is one of 4 Orthodontists in the UK who has passed his European Society of Lingual Orthodontics examination and is also trained to Hospital Consultant level. This means that you will receive the best possible advice regarding your treatment and options.

If you are looking at having braces in Milton Keynes, contact a member of our friendly team on 01908 398068 who will be delighted to help you and change your smile for life.

The Truth about Fast Braces

Monday, October 1st, 2018

Start and finish line

There are many different products available on the market that claim to straighten the teeth in a few weeks or months and for a very small percentage of patients this could be the case. These patients may have had orthodontic treatment before and their teeth have moved very slightly or they may have very mild crowding.

With anything in life, if things are rushed mistakes can occur and the results may not be as good. It is the same with orthodontic treatment. We often see patients who have heavily invested in having their teeth straightened using these fast braces and then finding the results were not as good as they had hoped for so they have to have treatment all over again.

It is normal for most orthodontic cases to take 12-18 months depending on the complexity. If treatment involves the loss of teeth to make space this can mean treatment can take closer to 2 years or even longer. What people are often not told is that it is not just a case of straightening the part of the tooth you can see, the roots also need to be aligned properly which is what can often take the time. This is also to help with stability and longevity of the result.

It is important that 6-8 weeks are left between adjustment visits to allow the teeth to move safely and effectively before they are adjusted again.

If a patient does want their orthodontic treatment completed faster or to end their treatment before it is fully completed, they should be aware that they will may not be achieving the very best clinical result. This may be fine and acceptable for some people but it is often not the case and people are not told this before they commit to treatment.

This leads us to our next point of “Do your research”

The question we have to ask is, “Would you buy a car or electrical device without doing your research first?” If the question is no then why would you consider investing in a product to straighten your teeth without exploring all the options available to you?

In healthcare, the most important thing is to make sure you are being looked after in the best possible way. The smile is the main point of focus when speaking to people so getting the right result is essential.

A lot of people think that only the most complex cases are treated by a Specialist Orthodontist. This is not the case at all. Most of our patients are reassured that they are in the safest of hands by a Specialist Orthodontist who has undertaken several years of intense training rather than someone who has taken a day course in the art of Orthodontics.

At SmileLux we specialise in braces and this means that we can offer a range of different options to suit every lifestyle, expectation and budget. We strive to achieve the very best result for all our patients and are always open and honest when things cannot be achieved.

If you would like braces and want to know you are in the very best hands, contact the SmileLux team today on 01908 398068 where a member of our friendly team will be delighted to help you. We offer orthodontic treatment in Milton Keynes for patients of all ages and have a range of different types of braces from the traditional metal braces to ones that are behind the teeth and fully invisible.