Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some questions we are asked frequently by patients and parents.
How do I schedule an appointment for an initial consultation?
If you or your child can potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you. When you call to schedule your appointment, our front office staff will request some basic information from you.
Is it necessary for my family dentist to refer me for an appointment with the orthodontist?
It is not essential but it is preferred. Many of our patients are referred by their family or school dentist, yet many other patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves.
At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?
The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age 7 and we agree with this, unless your family dentist wishes to refer your child earlier for a specific reason. By this age, several permanent teeth will have erupted in most children, allowing us to effectively evaluate your orthodontic condition.
Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow beyond a very early age. In most people, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases over time. Excessive spacing (gaps) can sometimes improve for this reason.
What will happen at the initial examination appointment?
Upon arriving, each patient will be seen by the staff and orthodontist. We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis and the orthodontist will complete a thorough examination and treatment plan.
What will I learn from the initial examination?
There are four essential questions that we will cover during the initial examination:
- Is there an orthodontic problem, and if so, what is it?
- What must be done to correct the problem, and when?
- Will any teeth need to be removed?
- How long will the treatment take to complete?
How much will braces cost? Are payment plans available? How does my insurance work?
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined you. We will outline the exact cost after the initial consultation visit in a detailed report that will be sent to your home. We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs, and we will explain these to you in your report. All item numbers for the different types of treatments are included in your quotation within the report. The report can take up to 10 working days to arrive.
Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. Straight teeth and a balanced facial profile are the goal of orthodontics. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic techniques, removing teeth is much less frequently necessary than it was in the past.
How long will it take to complete treatment?
Treatment time obviously depends on each patient's specific orthodontic problem. Typical treatment times range from 12 to 30 months with the average time frame a person is in braces being approximately 18-24 months.
How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 6-8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
Wherever possible, routine appointments can be scheduled prior to or after school. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments out of school hours. In order to allow us to offer as many after-school appointments to as many clients as possible, longer appointments such as placement and removal of braces and repairs must be scheduled during school hours. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs.
Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes. We understand your busy schedule, and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. On some occasions, we may wish to speak to you, so we ask that parents check with us before dropping off their child.
Do braces hurt?
Generally, braces do not hurt. After certain visits, teeth may be sore for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Panadol will ease the discomfort. However, after most visits, patients do not feel any soreness at all! We often remind our patients, “It does not have to hurt to work!”
Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.
Can I still play sports?
Yes. We recommend a mouth guard for most sports.
Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
Yes! Regular checkups with your family or school dentist are important while in braces.
Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. These foods include chewing gum and sticky lollies. You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.
How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Patients should brush their teeth thoroughly morning and evening and preferably after each meal. We will show each patient how to brush (and where appropriate, floss) their teeth with braces.
How do I handle a breakage?
If your braces are causing extreme pain or if something breaks, you should call our practice. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone (or see our troubleshooting information sheet). If you would benefit from an earlier appointment, we will set aside an appropriate time for you.
Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. However, if a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we will follow that patient's growth and development until the time is right for treatment to begin.
Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
A surprising percentage of our patients are adults. Dental health, happiness and self-esteem are vitally important to adults. No patient is "too old" to wear braces!
Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
Yes. A tooth with a crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.
Can I have Invisalign?
Invisalign is generally for adults but can also be used for older teenagers. This is because this technique requires all of the back teeth to be fully erupted and also relies on very good cooperation with wearing the aligners.
What happens after orthodontic treatment?
Teeth have some memory and tend to want to drift back toward their pretreatment positions. Therefore retainers are fitted to ensure that the teeth stay straight. Modern retainers are usually invisible so no one will actually see that you have them.
What does “Give a Smile” mean?
Give a Smile™ is a public health goodwill concept initiated by the Australian Society of Orthodontists. Give a Smile™ Orthodontists are ASO members who volunteer to treat, for no fee, patients selected from public orthodontic waiting lists throughout Australia. Our orthodontists have been Give a Smile™ Orthodontists since its inception in 2005. Visit http://www.giveasmile.org.au to learn more.
Why should I choose an orthodontic specialist?
Teeth, and sometimes entire facial structures, are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. Orthodontic specialists have undergone 3 years of specialist training in addition to their general dental training. This enables them to provide their patients with professional, personalised treatments.
What if I have a different question?