Orthodontics is that branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of teeth and jaws. Common problems encountered include crooked or crowded teeth, protruding or “bucky” teeth and incorrect jaw development. The technical term for these problems is malocclusion, which literally means bad bite. Orthodontic treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances (such as braces, plates, and functional appliances) to bring the teeth and jaws into proper alignment.
An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed a 3-year full time university master’s training program that enables them to specialise in the area of orthodontics. Orthodontists do not perform any general dentistry. They only undertake orthodontic treatment for patients.
The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that children receive a specialist orthodontic examination at age 7 if a parent or the family dentist discovers a problem. The timing of orthodontic treatment is extremely important and greatly affects the treatment result. Since no two patients are alike, there is no specific age that is best to begin treatment. Treating children during their growth stages allows orthodontists to achieve results that may not be possible when face and jaw bones have fully developed. NO REFERRAL NECESSARY
This early treatment can prevent more serious problems from developing and simplify future care. Typically, full treatment with braces is started when all the permanent teeth have erupted – usually between the ages of 10 and 13. In some cases, it is an advantage to start just before the last baby teeth are shed.
In the past, orthodontic treatment was generally restricted to children. However, the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age and orthodontic treatment is also successful for adults.
Aside from the obvious improvements in smile aesthetics and self-esteem, orthodontic treatment can also lead to improvements in oral health and function. Orthodontic treatment will:
- Create beautiful looking teeth and an attractive smile
- Contribute greatly to facial aesthetics
- Enhance your self confidence
- Reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease by improving “cleanability”
- Decrease the risk of irregular or excessive tooth wear
- Help establish normal oral function related to chewing, breathing and speech
- Decrease the risk of dental trauma (accidental chipped, broken or lost teeth)
- Correct improper jaw relationships and reduce stress on the facial muscles and jaw joints
No, but it is recommended you see your general dentist for a general check-up beforehand.
Each individual’s orthodontic needs are different and deserve personalised attention. Your initial visit is an opportunity for us to get to know you and to help determine your orthodontic goals.
At your first visit, the Doctor will give you (or your child) a comprehensive orthodontic examination. This entails looking at your teeth and jaws, and how they fit together. An assessment will also be made of gum health, oral hygiene and facial symmetry. The Doctor will then review his findings with you and give advice on the treatment options available, when treatment should commence, the expected duration of treatment, and the approximate cost.
If it is determined that orthodontic treatment is necessary, arrangements will then be made for the taking of pre-treatment diagnostic records (3D digital scans of your teeth, Photographs and X-rays). These records provide essential information for diagnosis and treatment planning. A subsequent consultation appointment can then be arranged to discuss the findings of these records, present a detailed treatment proposal and outline the financial aspects of the proposed treatment.
Each individual case presents unique challenges, with unique opportunities to achieve a beautiful and functional smile. That is why we take the time to fully diagnose and explain the details of our findings before starting any recommended treatment.
Once you are comfortable with the proposed treatment plan and treatment objectives then you are ready to proceed into orthodontic treatment. Treatment times vary significantly depending on age, the severity of the initial problem, type of orthodontic appliances used and patient compliance. Comprehensive orthodontic treatment typically lasts fifteen to twenty-one months with appointments every four to eight weeks.
We believe in non-extraction treatment whenever possible. With this goal in mind, we stress the importance of early screenings and intervention when necessary for children. Even with early screening, about 10% of patients with crowding problems may need some teeth removed to create space to align the remaining teeth.
There are several types of braces that you can have. We offer all the latest innovative options in orthodontic treatment, particularly for our teenage and adult patients. These include tooth coloured braces, ceramic (or clear) braces and Invisalign tooth aligners. Colourful modules make the braces fun for many of our younger patients.
The retainers at the end of treatment are usually worn every night for the first two years. From year 2 to year 4, they are worn approximately four nights per week. From year five, the retainer only really needs to be worn once per week. If you stop wearing your retainers at some point in the future, there is a risk that your teeth may move slightly over time, but this varies between patients.
Yes, braces should not affect how you talk or the sound of your voice.
In certain cases, we may need to use an appliance that could get in the way of your tongue. However, your tongue will readjust in about one or two days and you will be able to talk normally.
The majority of patients experience slight pressure or discomfort for about two or three days after their braces are first fitted and then a day or two after each adjustment.
When you first get braces, you might experience some rubbing in your mouth. We provide orthodontic wax and silicone to our patients when they get braces put on as this helps protect the inside of your cheeks from rubbing against the braces. Your gums and cheeks will become accustomed to the braces and after a while you shouldn’t need to use wax or silicone anymore.
For some people the first few days your teeth will feel a little tender and they may wish to eat softer foods.
You can eat most of the good things that you eat now. However, hard, sticky, crunchy foods should be avoided because they may stick to the brackets and pull them off your teeth. In addition, the sugar can get around behind the braces and cause cavities. Foods which should be avoided include :
- Minties and Toffee
- Caramels such as fantales
- Corn chips
- French bread sticks, bread crusts or hard rolls
- Whole apples or carrots (cut them into pieces first)
- Corn on the cob (cut the corn off the cob before eating)
As soon as you notice a bracket is loose, please contact the practice so that we can schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible. At this appointment, we will bond a new bracket for you.
Fees vary depending on what type of problem or problems the patient presents with and on the treatment plan selected. At the first consultation we will give you an estimate of the fee