Q: What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite.” Common problems include crooked or crowded teeth, protruding or “buck” teeth, “overbite” and incorrect jaw development. The practice of orthodontics requires the professional skill in the design, application and control of advanced treatment appliances (braces or plates) to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment and achieve facial balance.
Q: What is the difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?
Your orthodontist has spent 5 years training to be a dentist, then worked as a general dentist for a minimum period of two years before completing a 3 year post graduate specialist training program at a dental school in a university or other institution accredited by the Australian Dental and Orthodontics Association. Only dentists with this advanced specialty education can present themselves as orthodontists.
Specialists like Dr. Ramya are highly qualified in both the theory and clinical practice of Orthodontics and are the most qualified to diagnose, prevent and treat problems you may have in the alignment of your teeth and jaws.
Q: Do I need a referral?
No, a referral is not necessary in order to see an Orthodontist. If you have not had routine dental care , our specialists may advise you to have a general dental check-up before you start any orthodontic treatment. This is because there may be some dental problems that need to be corrected before orthodontic treatment can begin.
Q: When should treatment start?
The Australian Society of Orthodontics recommends that a child undergo an orthodontic consultation by the time they are seven or eight years of age. This is to assess the development of the teeth and jaws. Often, no orthodontic treatment is required at this young age, but our experts will continue to review and monitor your child’s dental development. Early assessment with us can help prevent more serious problems and complications in the future. If your child does need orthodontic treatment, we will advise you of the best time to start treatment.
Full braces treatment is often started when all the permanent teeth have erupted between the ages of 10 and 13.
Q: Is Orthodontics only for children?
Absolutely not. In the past, orthodontic treatment was generally thought to be restricted to children. However, it has been shown that the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age and orthodontic treatment may also be suitable for adults.
Q: Why do I need Orthodontic Treatment?
Orthodontics creates a straight beautiful smile which not only leads to increased confidence and self-esteem but primarily contributes to healthy teeth and gums, and improved function. Orthodontic treatment may also reduce the risk of tooth decay and gum disease by making it easier to clean, decrease the risk of excessive tooth wear, improve chewing, breathing and speech. Treatment can also reduce the risk of dental trauma and correct improper jaw relationships and reduce stress on the facial muscles and jaw joints
Wanting to look and feel better about yourself is the number one reason for seeking orthodontic treatment.
Q: Will my teeth straighten out more as I grow?
Unfortunately they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In fact after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.
Q: Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
Every patient we see is assessed as a unique individual with specific problems that we aim to correct. The need for extractions therefore is based on a number of factors including the facial balance we want to achieve and the extent of the problem before we start. Although a large portion of our patients do not have permanent teeth extracted, removing teeth is sometimes required to achieve the best orthodontic result. If well planned, extractions themselves do not cause negative effects on the teeth, jaws and face.
If it is important to you to avoid the removal of teeth, we advise that you come in for an early opinion with our team, whilst all available options are still possible. As your child gets older, some treatment options become less viable.
Q: How long will it take?
Treatment times vary significantly depending on age, the severity of the orthodontic problem, type of orthodontic appliances used and patient compliance. Comprehensive orthodontic treatment typically lasts between 18 and 24 months with appointments scheduled every 8 to 10 weeks. Complex treatments and adult orthodontic treatment may take more 2 years to complete.
Q: How much will orthodontic treatment cost?
The cost of orthodontic treatment can vary depending on the ideal treatment option for you or your child. The only way to be sure of the specific costs of your treatment is to have a consultation.
We will provide a detailed quotation following your initial consultation and once all your relevant diagnostic information has been carefully assessed.
Fortunately, we are able to offer payment plans that make treatment more affordable. At your inititial consultation, your treatment coordinator will talk you through the different payment options we offer and work out a plan that will best suit your situation.
Q: How do I book an initial consultation?
If you or your child would like to visit us to assess your suitability or need for orthodontic treatment, simply call 9466 8484, send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or book an appointment below. We will be happy to schedule an appointment time for you.
Q: The first appointment
Your initial visit is very important to us and is an opportunity for us to get to know you and to help determine your orthodontic needs and treatment goals.
Your first appointment starts with digital pictures taken by one of our team, followed where possible by digital x-rays. Our specialists will then carry out a comprehensive orthodontic examination which includes looking at the face, the teeth and jaws, and how they all fit together. An assessment will also be made of gum health and oral hygiene. Your orthodontist will use all the information gathered to provide preliminary advice on the various treatment options available, when treatment should commence and the expected duration of treatment. Our Treatment coordinator will spend the next 30 mins explaining the treatment options, showing you examples of our appliances and will discuss the cost as well as the different interest free payment options we offer.
These 60 minute appointments are as important to you as they are to us. It gives you a relaxed opportunity to ask relevant questions or express any worries you may have regarding treatment options and payment methods without feeling rushed.
Please bring along any panoramic or lateral ceph x-rays taken by your dentist in the twelve months preceding your appointment with us.
Q: How often will I have appointments?
Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 8-10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.
Q: Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
The most frequently requested appointment times are after school hours and early morning appointments. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students during after school hours. In order to accommodate as many patients as possible, these premium times are reserved for short appointments whilst longer visits (e.g. for placing braces or insertion of appliances) are scheduled during the middle of the day. In this way we do not reserve an entire afternoon for one or two patients, but rather see as many patients as possible with short appointments after school. Since the majority of appointments are scheduled 8 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school as a result of their orthodontic appointments.
Q: Do braces hurt?
Having braces put on is a relatively easy and painless procedure. No needles or “drilling” are involved in the fitting of braces, as they are simply glued to the teeth. The level of discomfort varies from individual to individual. The majority of patients will experience slight pressure or discomfort for about two or three days after their braces are first fitted and then again for a day or two after each adjustment. Even though braces only protrude out about 2-3 millimetres from your teeth, it may take your lips, cheeks and tongue a few days to a few weeks to become accustomed to rubbing against the braces. If part of the braces is irritating your mouth, you can use orthodontic wax to help smooth the rough area. Any small ulcers that develop usually resolve within a few weeks. After the first few days, the braces become more comfortable and most of the time, patients forget that they have them on their teeth.
Q: Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment
Q: Can I still play sports?
Braces won’t interfere with most sports. However you should always wear a mouth guard when playing contact sports such as football, netball, basketball, hockey etc. As your teeth are moving throughout treatment, there is no need for a tight custom fitted mouth guard. We recommend a pharmacy bought mouthguard that can be readjusted with heat to fit every week.
Q: Do I need to see my dentist while in braces?
Yes, It is important that you maintain your normal six or twelve monthly visits to your family dentist or school clinic during your orthodontic treatment to ensure oral health is maintained. Orthodontic treatment may need to be put on hold or stopped altogether if there is a significant deterioration in oral health during treatment.
Q: What can I not eat while I have braces?
Some types of foods can break your brackets or tubes, bend your wires, and break the cement under your bands or brackets so that these leak and possibly cause decay. All of these problems increase treatment time.
Once treatment begins, we will provide you specific instructions including a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (eg. Minties, Redskins, toffees, caramel etc). You can avoid breaking or losing brackets by carefully following our instructions. This will increase our ability to ensure that you finish on time.
Q: How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
Food particles can accumulate on teeth and in braces and turn into plaque. The bacteria that results from this plaque accumulation can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and even loss of teeth. During orthodontic treatment it is recommended that you brush your teeth three to four times daily ( after all meals) to avoid the accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces:
Q: What do I do in an emergency?
Fortunately, true orthodontic emergencies requiring immediate attention are very rare but when they do occur we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call us for advice and assistance when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem you cannot take care of yourself. We will schedule an appointment to resolve the problem. However most problems can be easily remedied at home. You can find more information about in treatment care in our patient information section.
Q: Can we start orthodontic treatment while my child has baby teeth?
Yes. Some orthodontic problems are significant enough to require early intervention. They may require a fixed or removable plate or partial braces to normalise growth. The Australian Society of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend that children receive a specialist orthodontic examination by age 7 – 8 years if a parent or the family dentist discovers a potential problem. Most children examined at that age will not require immediate treatment. For these children we will organise recall appointments at appropriate intervals to review their dental and facial development.
Q: Can I have braces treatment if I am an adult?
In the past, people used to think that orthodontic treatment was just for children. Infact a good percentage of our patients are over 25 years old. We have treated patients as young as 8 and as old as 68 years old. Without fail, they all claim that having a smile they can be proud of has increased their confidence and improved their enjoyment of life.
Q: 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 filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.
Q: Can I get treatment on just my bottom or top teeth?
Generally, treatment on a single arch is limited in its ability to improve your bite and obtain a stable outcome. We will assess each case individually and if it is possible to acheive a stable and an aesthetic finish with treatment of one arch, we will definitely be able to do so.
Q: What if my question is not answered here?
We are always happy to answer any questions you may have. Please contact us below or via our telephone or email and we will be most happy to assist with all your queries.