A Guide to 6-Month Smiles

Mention braces and most people will run a mile. It’s okay if you’re young – the benefits of a fantastic smile for the rest of your life will just about outweigh the embarrassment of spending a couple of your teenage years looking like Jaws from the James Bond films. But to wear a brace as an adult is unthinkable for many people. It would make business meetings difficult, social occasions uncomfortable, eating awkward and what about kissing? Most people would rather live with wonky teeth.

Most people do live with wonky teeth too – the statistics prove it. The British Dental Journal estimates that 75% of us could benefit from some orthodontic work. So why don’t you see more people walking round in braces? Because sorting out a crooked smile means expensive dental work and embarrassing braces – doesn’t it?

Well, maybe not. There’s a new product on the market called the 6-Month Smile. Now available in Britain, this is an American technique (and we all know how good American teeth look!) that sorts out crooked smiles and gappy gums with hi-tech braces. It’s fast, comfortable and the braces themselves are virtually invisible. Sounds like the answer to our prayers!

Tell me more about the 6-Month Smile programme?

6 Month Smiles use tooth-coloured braces to gently straighten teeth in an average treatment time of only six months. When you consider that conventional braces are usually worn for 2-3 years, that’s a big reduction in treatment times.

How does 6-Month Smiles work then?

The 6 Month Smile focuses only on the teeth that show when you smile and doesn’t attempt to make significant changes to your bite. So it can create a big cosmetic impression while only making small adjustments to your teeth.

What does the 6-Month Smiles treatment involve?

As ever, it starts with a visit to your dentist. You’ll need to get your teeth thoroughly checked, with X-rays and photographs, so you can then have a conversation with your dentist about how your teeth could look and how much improvement could be made. Based on this consultation, your dentist will decide whether the 6-Month Smile programme is right for you, or whether you need a different sort of technique or treatment. Don’t forget, there are a variety of treatments out there and new ones appearing all the time – so you may need to mention 6-Month Smile specifically to your dentist and ask their opinion on whether it is right for you.

The next step is fitting the braces, which are tooth-coloured and therefore barely noticeable. If required, space needed to relieve crowding is obtained by polishing between the teeth. In some severe cases, it may be necessary to remove a tooth to create sufficient space.

What if my dentist doesn’t recommend this treatment for me?

6-Month Smile isn’t right for everyone. The main reason for this is because it concentrates on making minor adjustments to the visible areas of your smile. If therefore, you have a problem that requires more fundamental orthodontic work, you may require a more long-term treatment or a brace that operates in a different way.

If this is the case, then your dentist should be able to recommend a different type of treatment and will be able to explain why this treatment suits you.

What are the alternatives to 6-Month Smile?

There are different products out there and you can read more about some of them on this site. For example, treatments such as the Inman Aligner and the Damon System are also fast, effective ways to adjust your smile as an adult. The real issue with adult orthodontic work is that no two patients are the same. Therefore, only your dentist, once they have gained a good understanding of your dental requirements, can recommend the treatment that they think will produce the best results for you.

Is 6-Month Smiles a new treatment?

It is new to the UK. However, it was first developed around twenty years in the United States by a dentist named Dr. Swain. As the statistics show in the UK, he realised that lots of adult Americans who require orthodontic work were refusing treatment because of the cost, timescales and sheer ugliness of the devices involved. In fact, at the time, research showed that 95% of patients were refusing treatment. Now, in Dr. Swain’s clinic, 95% accept – which suggests he’s developed the right sort of product.

So I don’t have to walk around with a mouthful of metal?

As we mentioned, the 6 Month Smile utilises tooth-coloured braces that are far less visible than the traditional metal ones. But the braces are still there. However, the 6-Month Smile also has the benefit of being a technique that applies very light forces via the braces. The braces, therefore, need to be adjusted and tightened less often than conventional braces. That means that they are more comfortable to wear and that you also require fewer trips to the dentist during your treatment.

Does the treatment hurt?

As you can probably imagine, getting a brace fitted feels strange initially and your teeth can sometimes be tender and uncomfortable for a couple of weeks after the braces are fitted. However, the light forces used by the 6-Month Smile programme to move teeth means that it causes less disruption and pain than many other treatments. Most patients get used to their brace quickly.

Will my teeth remain straight after the treatment?

Teeth have a tendency to rebound to their original positions after any orthodontic treatment. Therefore, as part of the 6-Month Smile programme, your dentist will fit permanent retainers to your teeth to prevent them from relapsing.

Is the 6-Month Smile programme suitable for children or adolescents?

Traditional braces have a reputation for being unattractive and geeky, but unfortunately, children and adolescents will have to stick with them for the time being. The 6-Month Smile programme aims to improve the smile, not change the bite, so it is not a substitute for comprehensive orthodontic work. When teeth and jaws are still growing (up to the age of 16 or so), it is the ideal time to strive for the perfect bite so a more thorough orthodontic programme would probably be the recommendation

How much does the 6-Month Smile cost?

Compared to traditional braces, it is very affordable. Many dentists also offer payment plans to suit your budget.