frequently asked questions

Orthodontic treatment is the correction of crooked teeth and jaws. It can be one of the best investments you make for your child’s health.

These days, with regular dental care, teeth should last a person’s lifetime. Crooked teeth and jaws can interfere with jaw function and speech, and lead to long-term dental problems such as tooth wear and gum damage. Orthodontic treatment fixes these problems, laying the foundation for your child’s long4erm dental health. An attractive smile will also boost self-confidence, helping your child to achieve his or her full potential.
Orthodontists are the specialists who fix crooked teeth and jaws. They are dentists who have completed a further two or three years of full-time university training in orthodontics (usually a Master’s degree). They must also be registered as a specialist orthodontist by their State Dental Board and work exclusively in this field.
Most orthodontic problems are best treated when a person is young. We recommend that you consult an orthodontist when your child is around the age of 8 years so that the optimum starting time can be determined.
Braces are usually the most precise and effective way to straighten teeth. Some problems can be treated with simpler or alternative devices such as removable plates. An orthodontist will be able to advise what is most suitable for your child.
Wearing braces is simple and generally quite easy with the modern devices available. However, braces do need to be regularly adjusted, and this will make the teeth feel tender for a few days. During this short period, soft foods and a mild analgesic may needed.
Treatment time will depend on the severity of the original problem. For A most children treatment can be completed within two years. After brace are taken off, retainer devices are used for several years to hold the teeth in their new positions.
The cost of treatment will depend on the severity of your child’s problem and the type of treatment selected. Your orthodontist will provide you with a written quote and payment options before treatment commences.

More adults than ever before are choosing to have their teeth straightened. If you are considering treatment, the following advice addresses the most commonly asked questions.

There are good reasons to have your teeth straightened. For example, you may be embarrassed by their crooked appearance. Also, the long-term effects of bad tooth alignment, such as uneven wear and gum damage, may get worse as you get older. Naturally, most people wish to keep their teeth healthy throughout their life, and orthodontic treatment will help you achieve this.
Many people who missed out on having their teeth straightened as a child can still benefit from treatment as an adult. Your dentist and orthodontist will be able to advise you on your suitability for treatment.
Yes. The main differences for an adult are the increased bone density, absence of jaw growth, possible gum problems, and worn, broken or missing teeth. Due to these factors, some adults may need to see other dental specialists as well as an orthodontist for complete treatment. Also, teeth usually move more slowly in adults than in children and teenagers.
Contrary to some people’s fears, your lifestyle is minimally affected during treatment. You can work, talk, sing, play a musical instrument, dine out, and of course, kiss! Most adults enjoy enormous support and encouragement from family and friends when they decide to have treatment. Your greatest inconvenience may be finding time in your busy schedule for regular visits to the orthodontist.
Currently, braces are the most precise and effective way to correct teeth alignment problems. For those who want an alternative to metal braces, clear braces or braces fitted to the inner surfaces of the teeth are possible options. A recent innovation is the use of clear aligner plates that may be used instead of braces in a few cases. Consult your orthodontist to find out which option is best for you.
All forms of medical and dental treatment including orthodontics have some risks and limitations. Fortunately in orthodontics complications are infrequent and when they do occur they are usually of only minor conse­quence. Nevertheless, they should be considered when making the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment. The principal risks in orthodontic treat­ment pertain to:

1. Oral hygiene

Orthodontic appliances do not cause tooth decay. Gum disease, tooth decay and permanent markings (decalcification) on the teeth can occur if orthodontic patients eat food containing excessive sugar or do not brush their teeth frequently or properly. These same problems can occur without ortho­dontic treatment but the risk is greater to an individual wearing braces.

It is imperative during orthodontic treatment that extra care is taken with oral hygiene and tooth brushing in particular.

2. Relapse

Teeth may have a tendency to change their positions after treatment. This is usually only a minor change, and on average, 90% to 95% of a correction is retained. The faithful wearing of retainers should reduce this tendency. Teeth can however, move at any time, whether or not they have had ortho­dontic treatment this is especially true during the late teen period when active growth of the lower jaw is coming to an end. The most vulnerable teeth are those at the front. Throughout life, the bite can change adversely from various causes such as: eruption of wisdom teeth, growth or matura­tional changes, mouth breathing, playing of musical instruments and other oral habits. Very occasionally tooth movements will be severe enough to merit a further short course of treatment to ensure a satisfactory result.

3. Periodontal Health

The health of the bone and gums which support the teeth may be affected by orthodontic tooth movement if a condition already exists, and in some rare cases where a condition does not appear to exist. In general, orthodontic treatment lessens the possibility of tooth loss or gum infection due to mis­alignment of the teeth or jaws. Inflammation of the gums and loss of supporting bone can occur if bacterial plaque is not removed daily with good oral hygiene.

4. Root Shortening

In some patients the length of the roots of the teeth may be shortened dur­ing orthodontic treatment. Some patients are prone to this happening, some are not. It is nearly impossible to predict susceptibility. Usually this shorten­ing does not have significant consequences, but on very rare occasions it may become a threat to the longevity of the teeth involved.

5. Jaw Joints

Occasionally patients may suffer pain or dysfunction in the jaw joints (T.M.J’s). This may present as joint pain, headaches or ear problems. These problems may occur with or without orthodontic treatment. Any of the above noted symptoms should be reported to the orthodontist. Some patients are susceptible to T.M.J. problems and some are not. Stress is the major con­tributing factor in temporomandibular disorders. Just as for painful condi­tions in other joints, discomfort in T.M.J’s can last from a few days to sever­al weeks or longer.

6. Tooth vitality

Sometimes a tooth may have been traumatized by a previous accident or a tooth may be decayed or have large fillings which can cause damage to the nerve of the tooth. Orthodontic tooth movement in some cases aggravates this condition and in rare instances may lead to loss of tooth vitality and dis­colouration of the tooth requiring root canal treatment and other dental treat­ment to restore the colour of the tooth.

7. Loose appliances and discomfort

The gums, cheeks or lips may be scratched or irritated by newly placed appliances or by loose or broken appliances or by blows to the mouth. You will be given instruction on minimising these effects. Very rarely, loose orthodontic appliances may be accidentally swallowed or aspirated. You should inform your orthodontist of any unusual symptoms, or broken or loose appliances, as soon as they are noted.

Usual post adjustment tenderness should be expected, and the period of tenderness or sensitivity varies with each patient and the procedure per­formed. (Typical post adjustment tenderness may last 24 to 48 hours.)

8. Atypical growth

Insufficient, excessive or asymmetrical changes in the growth of the jaws may limit our ability to achieve the desired result. If growth becomes disproportionate during orthodontic treatment, the treatment may be prolonged. Growth changes that occur after orthodontic treatment may alter the quality of treatment results and may require further orthodontic treatment. In some cases of atypical growth, the bite may change so much that oral surgery is required to achieve the best possible result.