What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is that branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of teeth and jaws.
Dentist or Orthodontist – what’s the difference?
An Orthodontist has a general dental degree just like a dentist. The difference is that an Orthodontist will undergo further extensive fulltime specialist training for another three years. To be legally allowed to use the title “Orthodontist”, that person must be registered as a Specialist with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA).
Do I need a referral to see an Orthodontist?
No you don’t. While many of our patients have referrals from their general dentist or the school dentist, it is not necessary to obtain a referral before you can see our Orthodontist. So if you don’t have a referral, feel free to contact us directly to arrange an initial appointment.
When should I bring my child to see the Orthodontist?
It would be ideal if every child could be assessed by age 7. Be assured that we do not usually wish for treatment, nor do all patients need to begin that early. Timely assessment allows us to pick-up certain problems early, and then plan for the ideal time to begin treatment. This timing of treatment is unique to each child. The second important advantage is that families can anticipate when treatment will be required so that they can start to plan their finances or insurance needs.
What can I expect at my initial consultation?
The Doctor will discuss your orthodontic concerns. After a comprehensive orthodontic examination is completed the following will be discussed:
- Does an orthodontic problem exist?
- Is the patient suitable for orthodontic treatment?
- When is the best time to begin treatment?
- A tentative treatment plan. If the case is complex, a definitive treatment plan will be discussed only after further orthodontic records have been taken.
What happens next after the initial consult?
Here are a few possible scenarios that may take place:
- If treatment is necessary, you will proceed to obtain full orthodontic records (radiographs, study models, clinical photos) that are essential for diagnosis and treatment planning.
- If treatment is not warranted at present but may be required at a future point in time, a recall appointment will be made to review the patient again.
How long will treatment take?
It will depend on each individual’s specific set orthodontic problems. In general, treatment times can range from 8-30 months. The average time a patient is in braces is usually somewhere between 18-24 months.
Is orthodontic treatment painful?
Use of space-age alloys in arch wires, improvements in bracket design and dimensions, and bonding techniques are just some of the modern advances that have made contemporary orthodontic treatment more comfortable than in the past.
Surprisingly, the actual placement of braces does not hurt. However there is some tenderness of teeth and soreness for a few days after that. This discomfort can be relieved with an over-the-counter analgesic. You can expect to be comfortable and settled-in with your braces a week after braces are placed.
Do I need teeth removed to have braces?
We try very hard not to remove teeth unnecessarily. While accepting 15% of patients have malocclusions that are best managed with extractions of permanent teeth, the greater majority of patients can be treated without removing teeth, especially if they are seen early enough by the orthodontist.
How much does it cost to have braces?
The truthful answer is, it depends. Costs will depend on the severity of the individual’s malocclusion, the time it would take to complete treatment and the type of braces you select. What we can assure you is that before any treatment is carried out, you will know the fees beforehand.
We also understand that most of us need to live to a budget, so flexible payments plans are available.
You need to check with your private insurance health fund on the amount of rebate you are entitled. It might be useful to also check with your accountant to see if you are eligible for a tax deduction for any out-of-pocket expenses.
I’m an adult - am I too old for orthodontic treatment?
You’re never too old! If you’re open to change, you can join the many adults who have realized the benefits of orthodontic treatment. In fact, one in five orthodontic patients are now adults.
Do I still need to see my dentist while I am undergoing orthodontic treatment?
It is strongly recommended that you keep up your regular checks with your dentist who plays an important part in providing general dental care. Even when in braces your dentist can still check for signs of tooth decay and gum disease.
Will my teeth move after braces? What are retainers?
It is important to understand that teeth will adjust and move constantly throughout life. If one accepts that this tooth movement is natural, you will then appreciate the need to hold or retain (hence “retainers”) teeth in their straight positions after braces are removed. Retainers can take the form of simple removable plates, or small wires fixed to the back of your teeth. The orthodontist will advise which type and for how long you will need to wear retainers.