Orthodontic treatment is not only about giving you or your child a great smile, it is also about creating a foundation for good dental health into the future. If you are advised that braces will be necessary to resolve you or your child’s orthodontic problems, you may have a few questions to ask. Here are a few frequently asked questions and answers for your interest at this time.

1. Why would I need Orthodontic Treatment?

A: There are many reasons why orthodontic treatment may be undertaken.

  • You may wish to align crooked teeth to improve your smile.
  • Your teeth may need to be repositioned to improve your bite. The way we bite our teeth together may be an important factor for the long term health of our teeth and gums. A poor bite can lead to many future problems in your general dental health and possibly lead to abnormal tooth wear or jaw pain in the future.
  • You or your child may have a problem jaw relationship. These types of problems are often best treated in growing children (see “Early Prevention”). There are also treatments offered for adults with poor “jaw relationships”.

2. What are the benefits of Orthodontic Treatment?

  • People often ask us “why braces” or what are the benefits that makes the cost and time worthwhile? In response to these common inquiries, we have prepared the following list of benefits that patients can derive from orthodontic treatment as documented in various studies over the years and from our personal experience.
  • Feeling of wellbeing
  • An improved smile
  • Improved ability to clean and care for the teeth
  • Enhancement of jaw function and development
  • Long term possibility of less dental work as the teeth fit together
  • Reduced wear of teeth
  • Improvement on child’s self esteem during the critical school years
  • Better long term health of the teeth and gums
  • Optimizes dental treatment
  • Reduced risk of injury of prominent front teeth

3. When should my child see an Orthodontist?

A: If as a parent/guardian, you have concerns regarding your child’s teeth alignment or jaw relationship, it is a good idea to have them examined by an Orthodontist by about the age of 6 or 7 years. At that time there may be a need to consider some early treatment to correct a developing problem. There is also a good chance that your child may not need treatment but only require regular observation during their growing years. In other words, there are some conditions which are best treated early but there are many which require no active treatment during these years.

4. Can I have treatment as an adult?

A: Yes. Most adults are suitable for Orthodontic treatment. This needs to be assessed on an individual basis and may depend on the type of problem that you have and your general dental health.

5. What are braces?

A: Braces are placed onto your teeth and with the aid of wires, allows the Orthodontist to move your teeth. There are several different types of braces to choose from, including:

  • Clear braces
  • Self-ligating braces
  • Traditional metal braces
  • Insignia braces system

6. Do braces hurt?

A: Braces do not often hurt though you may feel a small amount of discomfort for a couple of days as your teeth, gums cheeks and mouth get used to your new braces.

7. How can I take care of my teeth if I’m wearing braces or a retainer?

A: ALWAYS remember to brush your teeth after every meal and floss at least once a day.

  • Make sure to use toothpaste that contains fluoride, and ask your orthodontist or family dentist if you need a fluoride rinse. This will help prevent cavities!
  • If you take out your retainer to eat, make sure you brush your teeth, floss, and remember to keep the retainer safe in its container so that it does not get lost or broken.
  • Keep your retainer clean, too, by brushing it gently with a toothbrush and toothpaste. You may also soak it in denture cleaner as instructed by your orthodontist. Do not put your retainer in boiling water or in the dishwasher.
  • During your treatment, try to avoid foods with a lot of sugar (sugar increases the amount of bacteria that grows in your mouth, causing more plaque and possibly cavities).
  • Avoid sticky and chewy foods (caramel, chewing gum, gummy bears), hard foods (hard candy, nuts, ice cubes) or any foods that could possibly get stuck in your braces (corn on the cob, toffee, etc.).
  • Be sure to schedule your routine checkups with your family dentist. It is recommended that you continue to visit the dentist every six months.

8. Do I need to brush my teeth more often if I have braces?

A: With braces, you should brush your teeth at least three times a day to keep your teeth, gums and mouth healthy and clean. Brushing regularly will help remove any food that may be caught between the braces. You should also floss daily to get in between your braces where your brush isn’t able to reach. Your orthodontist can show you how to properly brush and floss once your braces are placed.

9. If I have braces, do I still need dental checkups every six months?

A: Yes! In fact, it’s even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up that can lead to cavities and gum disease. Your dentist will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

10. Will my braces interfere with my school activities like sports, playing instruments or singing?

A: Playing an instrument or a contact sport may require some adjustment when you first get your braces, but wearing braces will not stop you from participating in any of your school activities. If you play a contact sport, it is recommended that you wear a mouthguard to protect your braces or appliance. We will fit a mouthguard for you as necessary.

11. What happens when my appliance or braces are removed?

A: When treatment is completed, the braces and/or appliances are removed and retainers are fitted. Usually these retainers are removable and will maintain the changes made to your teeth if worn continuously until the teeth and bone are stabilized in their new positions. Treatment and retention times vary depending on each individual case. Your Orthodontist will monitor your retainer and tooth positions for at least two years after your braces are removed.

12. How much does Orthodontic Treatment cost?

A: The cost of your orthodontic treatment will vary depending on your individual needs and treatment plan. Our team will discuss with you the cost of your treatment and each of your available payment plan options.

13. How can I pay for my/my child’s treatment?

A: Our treatment plans and interest free payment plans are presented to all our patients prior to any orthodontic treatment commencing. Dr Duff will explain the proposed treatment plan, then discuss the fees required to perform the treatment. Our patients are given the option to pay for their treatment on payment plans. We accept major credit cards, cash, personal cheques and offer a direct debit facility to our patients as well as a dental financing plan.

14. Can I pay for my treatment through my private health fund?

A: We do not process health fund claims at our surgery. However, you may be reimbursed by your private health fund and the amount will vary depending on your policy. Please enquire with your health fund directly about your rebate.

15. How do I schedule an appointment?

A: Simply call our practice! Our front desk staff will be happy to help schedule an appointment at your convenience. If you are a new patient or have been referred to our practice, please let us know and we will provide you with all of the information you need.

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