treatment

FAQs

Is it required that I be referred by my family dentist to schedule an appointment with the Orthodontist?

No, it is not. Although most of our patients are referred by their family dentist, many patients who have concerns about their health and appearance and want to be evaluated as to the need for orthodontic care, take the initiative themselves to schedule an initial examination.

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the specialist area of dentistry concerned with the development of the jaws and teeth. It aims to diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontic treatment aims to guide the teeth into the correct positions so that they look good in the face as a whole and bite together well. All our orthodontists are fully trained specialist practitioners in Orthodontics and on the Specialist Register of the Victorian Dental Board.

What does Orthodontics mean?

Orthodontics is the term given to the branch of dentistry concerned with diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The aims of orthodontic treatment are to provide a functional occlusion and an attractive smile.

What is an Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has undergone full time specialised training in Orthodontics for several years to acquire the advanced qualifications and specialised skills required to give their patients first class treatment. Orthodontists continually upgrade these skills by attending postgraduate courses and conferences to ensure they have and can use the best available techniques and materials.

What are the benefits of Orthodontic treatment?

An even bite for improved tooth function. Better appearance of teeth and an improved smile. Improved self-esteem and self-confidence.

At what age should I see an Orthodontist?

Ideally, children should be seen for their initial assessment between the ages of 7 and 10 years. This will allow the child's growth and changing dentition to be monitored until all baby teeth have been lost and treatment can begin. Obviously all cases are different, and some children may start treatment at a younger age. You are never too old to start orthodontic treatment, and people of all ages can reap the benefits. Treatment may take a little while longer in adults, but the end result can be just as pleasing.

What does treatment involve?

Usually, treatment involves wearing braces fixed to your teeth for approximately 18-24 months. Some tenderness may be felt as the teeth start to move. Brackets are glued to your teeth and they are linked to archwires that help move the teeth.

How much will braces cost? Are financing options available? How does my insurance work?

It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until the Orthodontist has actually examined you or your child. The exact cost and financial options will be discussed at the initial examination. We offer a discount for fees paid in full or for patients who have had siblings go through treatment.

At what age should I schedule an appointment for an orthodontic screening?

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening at age seven. By this age, the six-year molars and several permanent teeth in most children have erupted allowing the Orthodontist to effectively evaluate most developing orthodontic problems.

Do braces hurt?

The braces do exert a light force to your teeth and after some visits, teeth may be tender for a few days. In these situations, pain medications such as Dispirin, Paracetamol or Nurofen can be used to ease the discomfort.

Will my child's teeth straighten out on their own as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as a child grows. In most people, after the permanent 6-year molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth actually decreases with age.

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial exam?

If you think you or your child would benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our office and we shall be happy to schedule an appointment for you. Please call the office during normal business hours on: 1300 GOBRACES (1300 462 722). During the call to schedule your appointment, our Receptionist will gather some very basic information concerning you and your child. You do not need a referral from your Dentist.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving at our office, each patient and parent will be greeted and asked to fill out a patient information form -unless it has already been completed - that includes some personal information and a brief medical history. The Orthodontist will conduct a brief, but thorough, examination of the patient's mouth to determine if there is a need for orthodontic treatment. He/she will be looking to determine: If there is enough space to hold all of your teeth; if the top teeth are lined up correctly with the bottom teeth; if any teeth are crooked or not growing in the correct position; and if there are missing or extra teeth?

What will I learn from the initial examination?

There are six important questions that will be answered during the initial examination:

  • Is there an orthodontic problem and if so, what is it?
  • What must be done to correct the problem?
  • Will any permanent teeth need to be removed?
  • How long will the treatment take to complete?
  • How much will the treatment cost?
  • How soon should treatment commence?

In addition to these, the Orthodontist will take the time to answer any other questions a patient or parent may have.

How often will I have appointments?

Most patients in braces will be seen every six to 10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, appointments may be scheduled more often. Once braces have been removed we check the retainers at 4 monthly intervals over a period of 18-24 months.

Can I have all of my appointments after school?

This is a very popular question. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for all student patients after school hours. As most appointments are scheduled six to 10 weeks apart, most patients miss very little school because of orthodontic appointments. We try very hard to help in all possible ways to assist patient scheduling.

Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment.

Do you give needles?

No. Needles are not necessary in orthodontic treatment.

Can I still play sports and/or musical instruments while in braces?

Yes! You need to wear a mouthguard for all contact sports. If you play an instrument such as a trumpet, we shall provide you with a ''lip protector'' that works very well to cushion your lip from your braces. Please inform us when you need a mouth guard or lip protector.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes. Regular 6 month checkups with your family dentist are very important while in braces.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Yes. Once treatment begins, very complete instructions and a comprehensive list will be provided regarding foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, lollies, hard raw vegetables and all sticky foods (e.g. Mars bars, caramel and toffee). Many emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces can be avoided by carefully following instructions regarding foods. Treatment time will be prolonged if too many emergency appointments are made.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth at least twice each day: after breakfast and dinner; it would be nice if they could also brush after lunch. We shall also provide a special fluoride gel to help protect teeth.

What is an emergency appointment? How are those handled?

If something happens and your braces are causing pain or if something is broken, you should call our office during normal business hours: 1300 gobraces (1300 462 722). In most cases we can address most issues over the telephone.

What if the emergency occurs after normal office hours?

Our office is available after normal working hours via a mobile phone number. Simply call the office and wait for the answering machine to answer. The recorded message will give you the number. Any time you are unsure of a situation our staff will be glad to assist.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child still has some baby teeth?

Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention which may not require braces. If a patient is not yet ready for treatment, we shall monitor 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?

Over 20 percent of our patients are adults. If fact, orthodontic treatment for adults is one of the most gratifying areas of our practice for both patients and staff members. 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 so that the space where the teeth are missing can be properly restored.

Why should you choose an orthodontic specialist?

Teeth and sometimes entire facial structures are permanently changed by orthodontic treatment. It is very important that the treatment be appropriate and properly completed. All Specialist Orthodontists have graduated from dental school and elected to complete two to three additional years of full time orthodontic training to become an orthodontist. Our Orthodontic Specialists, Doctors Wood and Bobbera are certified by the Australian Society of Orthodontists, the only certifying organisation recognised by The Australian Dental Association.

What do you mean by malocclusion?

A malocclusion simply means that the jaw and/or teeth are in the incorrect position. The teeth may be spaced, crowded or sitting too far forward (buck teeth).

Why can't I just wear a retainer instead of braces?

Retainers don't do the same thing. Braces move teeth in all different directions to correct them into position. Retainers hold them in position, or slightly tip teeth forwards or backwards.

Will my dentist need/have to pull any teeth out?

Only if there is not enough room for all of your teeth. X-rays will help us to determine this. But if extractions are necessary, you will not have any spaces remaining at the end of treatment. Once orthodontic treatment has been completed, no one will even notice that you have had teeth removed.

How long do I have to wear the braces for?

That depends a lot on your co-operation. The better you are about wearing and taking care or your braces, or other orthodontic appliance, the sooner your teeth will improve. We generally approximate 18-24 months of braces treatment. This is followed up by retainers, which are usually worn for around 12-18 months.

Should I wear a mouth guard when playing sport?

Always, even while practicing sport. A mouth guard gives your teeth some protection from any knocks or hits. A custom-made mouth guard is not suitable when wearing braces as the teeth change rapidly (so your mouth guard won't fit). Throughout your braces treatment we will supply you with mouth guards that you shape in hot water.