FAQs

How do I schedule an appointment for an initial consultation?

To enquire about orthodontic treatment simply call our office 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 a dentist to refer me for an appointment with the orthodontist?

Many of our patients are referred by their family or school dentist, however this is not a requirement. If you have a concern about your bite or child’s bite you can 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 their orthodontic condition.

Will my teeth straighten as they grow?

Unfortunately, they will not.  The space available for the front teeth does not increase after the permanent molars erupt. The space available for the front teeth will in fact decrease over time particularly in the case of the lower incisor teeth.

What will happen at the initial examination appointment?

Upon arriving, each patient will be seen by the staff and orthodontist. We will examine the X-rays that were scheduled prior to your visit to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. A thorough clinical examination will be carried out so that a description of the bite (tooth arrangement and how they meet) can be provided.

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 do braces straighten crooked teeth?

Braces use constant, gentle pressure, which over time, move teeth into their proper positions. Your braces are at work every moment of your orthodontic treatment. The two main components of your braces are: the brackets that are placed on your teeth and the main archwire that connects them. The bracket is a piece of shaped metal or ceramic that we affix to each tooth. The archwire is bent to reflect your "ideal" bite. In other words, it reflects the way we want you to look after treatment.

The wire threads through the brackets and, as the wire tries to return to its original shape, it applies pressure to move your teeth. Picture your tooth resting in your jaw bone. With pressure on one side from the archwire, the bone on the other side gives way. The tooth moves. New bone grows in behind.

Forces applied to your braces by the archwires, elastics and springs exert the proper amount of pressure to move teeth. In order for these forces to work properly, your braces have to remain in good repair and be adjusted regularly.

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.  If the bite requires treatment and it is the correct stage of dental development for such treatment will outline the cost after the initial consultation.  We have several financing options available to accommodate your needs.  We will also consider your insurance policy and help you to maximise your benefit and file your claims

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.  If tooth removal is required a detailed explanation will be given to explain the need to do so.

How long will I take to complete treatment?

Treatment time obviously depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic problem.  Typical treatment times range from 12 – 30 months with the average time frame a person is in braces being approximately 18 – 24 months. Certain treatments take longer than others such as correction of an upper impacted canine tooth.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs.  Most patients in braces will be seen every 4 – 8 weeks depending at what stage the treatment is at.  If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring we will schedule appointments accordingly.

Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Whenever 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. If a breakage of the brace it may be necessary to have an appointment during the day to provide adequate time for repair.

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 sport?

Yes. We do however, recommend a mouth guard for contact 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. While an orthodontist is a dentist detailed dental checkups as carried out by your school or private dentist are not performed.  Ideally somebody waring a plate or brace should see a dentist every 6 months. In the case of an adult this may require to be every 4 months in order to maintain good gum health.

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.  Importantly you can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions. Avoiding breakages is also important for smooth treatment progress.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Patients should brush their teeth thoroughly morning and evening. We will show each patient how to brush (and where appropriate floss) their teeth with braces.

How do I handle breakages?

If your braces are causing extreme pain or something breaks, you should call our practice. In most cases, we can address these issues over the telephone (or see your ‘troubleshooting information sheet’). If you would benefit from an earlier appointment, we will set aside the appropriate time for you.

Can orthodontic correction occur while a child has baby teeth?

Yes. Occasionally 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.

Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?

Yes. A tooth with crown will move just like a tooth with a simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment is sometimes required to aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth in preparation for replacement of a missing tooth. Such treatment is generally done in combination with your dentist who would ultimately replace the missing tooth or teeth.