1.What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry that focuses on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of the teeth and jaws. Orthodontic treatment involves the use of braces, removable appliances or other corrective devices to move teeth and jaws into “normal” alignment. It may involve changing the position of the teeth or modifying the way jaws grow (dento-facial Orthopaedics).
2. My family dentist says he/she can straighten my teeth.
An orthodontist has 3 years of specialized training beyond dental school and is a specialist at straightening teeth and insuring proper form and function. A dentist may see a handful of cases a year among drilling and filling teeth. An orthodontist only practices orthodontics and treats hundreds of patients.
3. Do I need a referral?
No. We do recommend, however, that you see your dentist for a checkup before your braces are fitted.
4. When is the best time to start orthodontic treatment?
Smiles can be enhanced at any age but most orthodontic problems are best treated when a person is young. The best age to start orthodontic treatment varies from person to person depending on their particular problem. Dr. Rodriguez and her team recommend an initial assessment at 7 years of age so that treatment can be started at the ideal time. In certain situations, early interception can take advantage of facial growth and tooth eruption may reduce the severity of a problem and make later treatment less complex and less time consuming. However, in most cases 6 to 12 month review visits are recommended to monitor growth until the optimum time to start treatment.
5. Am I too old for orthodontic treatment?
No. Braces are not just for kids anymore. Modern techniques and materials have allowed mature patients to successfully and happily undertake orthodontic treatment. Adult patients can start treatment at any age if their teeth, gums and supporting are healthy. Due to the fact that adult’s facial bones are no longer growing, certain asymmetrical corrections cannot be accomplished with braces only. Those changes can be achieved successfully using a combined approach of Orthognathic Surgery and Orthodontics.
6. How does orthodontic treatment work?
Orthodontic appliances work by gently pressing on your teeth, which over time moves them into the desired position. Braces are a combination of brackets and arch wires. Brackets attach on to the teeth and the arch wire provides the necessary force to move the teeth into position. In many cases, extra forces are needed to fit the teeth properly together or alter jaw discrepancies. Examples of these include elastic bands, expanders, headgear and functional appliances. Your braces need to be adjusted periodically so that they move correctly and at optimal speed.
7. Do braces hurt?
Wearing braces is simple and easy with the modern brackets and wires available today. It is normal to experience some slight discomfort after placement of orthodontic appliances and following your adjustment appointments. Any discomfort is usually mild and is controllable with non-prescription analgesics such as Nurofen or Panadol. Initially, braces feel like they “stick out” but lips and cheeks become accustomed to this after a few days. Until your lips and cheeks get used to the braces on your teeth you may find it helpful to use a small amount of orthodontic wax around the brace causing the irritation.
8. Are lingual braces more uncomfortable?
Initial discomfort is similar to that of outside braces. The difference is that the Lingual Braces will affect the tongue and conventional braces will affect the cheeks and lips. It takes approximately 1-2 weeks to get use to them. The new generation of lingual brackets are small and streamline and extremely comfortable (Incognito).
9. Do teeth need to be removed?
We prefer to avoid this but in some cases, removal of teeth may be recommended. This decision will only be made after careful analysis of all possible alternatives. We do not recommend the removal of teeth unless it is absolutely necessary.
10. How often do I get my braces adjusted?
Adjustment appointments are scheduled according to individual patient needs and the stage of treatment. Ordinarily, most patients are seen between every 4-8 weeks. Using self-ligating braces in conjunction with high-technology super-elastic arch wires allows adjustments to be spread out even further (every 8-10 weeks). The process of tooth alignment is not a fully automated system and needs regular monitoring by your orthodontist.
11. Are there foods that I cannot eat while wearing braces?
Yes. When your braces are fitted, we will provide you with a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Hard and sticky foods should be avoided. Most unscheduled visits to repair broken or loose braces can be avoided by taking care with what you eat. Also, avoid chewing pens/pencils as this may also damage your braces. It is important to minimize the number of breakages when wearing braces in order to prevent your treatment taking longer than anticipated.
12. Can I schedule all of my appointment after school?
Apart from your initial assessment and longer appointments, including fitting and removing braces which will require up to 1 hour, the majority of shorter adjustment visits (10 – 15 minutes) can usually be scheduled before or after school. Our staff will always endeavor to meet your needs.
13. How long will I need to wear braces?
The length of treatment depends on the severity of the problem that requires correction, growth and the level of patient cooperation. More severe problems take longer and require more cooperation. In general, braces need to worn for between 9 and 30 months. The average “treatment” time in braces is 20 to 24 months but treatment time may be longer than estimated if growth is different than expected or patient cooperation is less than ideal. Orthodontic treatment is a team effort in which you and your orthodontist play important roles that affect the length of treatment and the quality of the final result.
14. What is retention? How long do I need to wear retainers?
After braces are removed, a retainer is worn to prevent your teeth from moving back towards their original position. Retainers provide assurance that your teeth will stay in perfect alignment while your jaw continues to grow. The longer you wear your retainer, the better your chances that your teeth will remain straight.
15. Do I need to see my family dentist while I have braces?
Definitely. Regular checkups with your dentist are important during orthodontic treatment to keep your teeth and gums healthy during your orthodontic care.
16. Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommended, however, that patients protect their smile by wearing a mouth guard while playing sport. If you play sport and need a mouthguard please let us know and we will organize one for you.
17. How often should I brush my teeth while wearing braces?
If you are wearing braces you should brush your teeth at least 4 times per day – after every meal and when you go to bed. We also recommend the use of tooth mousse to further protect your teeth.
18. How much will treatment cost? Are financing options available?
It is impossible to give an exact cost until we have examined your teeth. The cost of treatment and payment options will be presented to you during your initial visit. We have several flexible payment options available to suit your needs and will review these with you.
Call us on 4840 2832 for an initial consultation and we will determine the best time for treatment, outlining the treatment plan, the treatment duration and the approximate cost for the treatment.