FAQ


WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?

Orthodontists are specialist dentists who provide orthodontic and orthopaedic care. They have studied and trained in an approved University-based programme for at least a further 2 years after their basic dental degree They then have to limit their practice exclusively to orthodontics.

DO I NEED A REFERRAL TO AN ORTHODONTIST?

No, you do not need a referral but if your dentist does give you one, simply bring it with you to you appointment. To make an appointment, please call our office and a suitable day and time will be organized.

WHAT AGE SHOULD ORTHODONTICS BE CARRIED OUT?

Most orthodontists prefer to see a patient for the first time at 8 or 9 years of age to consider the possibilities of intercepting any problems. Commonly children are treated once the permanent (adult) teeth have erupted or are due to erupt, if the problem is essentially overcrowding of the teeth. There are however advantages to treating problems related to habits or facial bone imbalances at an earlier time.

AM I TOO OLD?

Treatment of adults for orthodontic problems is markedly increasing. Although adults can definitely benefit from treatment, there are important differences when compared to adolescents.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES?

Adults are no longer growing and they have often had teeth extracted. Very good results can generally be achieved as diet and instructions are followed more precisely.

WHY STRAIGHTEN CROOKED TEETH / BAD BITES?


There are a number of reasons why your orthodontist would recommend you wear braces and these reasons would cover problems you have that are visual and/or functional.  In other words, your teeth may be displaced (crooked) which, in addition to not looking how you would like them to look, may impact on your long-term ability to effectively clean your teeth.  Other problems may be functional, eg your teeth don’t bite together as they should

Problems can arise from early loss of teeth, abnormal growth patterns, injuries and hereditary factors. Habits such as finger and thumb sucking, mouth-breathing and tongue thrusting are also recognised as contributing to many orthodontic problems.

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO WEAR MY BRACES FOR?


How long you wear your braces for is determined by a number of factors:
1)    what your problem is
2)    how well your teeth respond to treatment
3)    how well you co-operate with instructions

DOES IT HURT TO HAVE BRACES PUT ON?

No – you should not experience any pain when braces are put on. However as your teeth start moving straight away, you will find your teeth become tender after a few hours.  This tenderness is not long lasting and while it will feel strange for a few days, you will soon get used to wearing braces and should not find them at all uncomfortable provided they remain intact.

HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO COME FOR APPOINTMENTS?


While braces are on you will usually have to come every 5-6 weeks but sometimes you might have to come more often. When braces are removed and retainers (if necessary ) have been issued, appointments are every 6-8 weeks and are only a few minutes in duration.

WILL I STILL BE ABLE TO EAT NORMALLY?

You will have to modify your diet, omitting hard and/or sticky foods that will damage your braces.  Some hard foods can be cut up to make them safe to eat (ie meat, apples)

HOW DO I CLEAN MY TEETH WITH BRACES ON?

You clean your teeth in the normal way, however more concentration will be required to make sure you do a thorough job. Flossing is more difficult and requires a different kind of floss. Your technique will be addressed during a visit with our Oral Hygiene instructor. We like all of our patients to be seen at least once after braces are fitted.

CAN MY BRACES BREAK?

Yes. Braces can break if you do not adhere to the dietary restrictions you are given. They will also break if you play with your braces eg chew on pencils or put your fingers in your mouth

WHAT IF I NEED SOME TEETH EXTRACTED?

Patients must return to their general dental practitioner if extractions are required as Specialist Orthodontists are registered to carry out orthodontic treatment only. Your dentist will be provided with written instruction from Dr O’Meara in this regard.

WILL MY TEETH STAY STRAIGHT WHEN BRACES COME OFF?

To help with this, a retention phase is necessary after the braces are removed. This is done most commonly with a clear retainer and where appropriate a fixed retaining bar may be used.

DO I STILL NEED TO SEE MY GENERAL DENTIST?

Yes - It is important for all patients to attend their family dentist for a check-up and/or clean prior to starting bracing and to attend for regular check-ups during orthodontic treatment. Your teeth can be cleaned, checked for cavities and have flouride treatments applied while braces are in place. In most cases, fillings can still be done by your dentist while braces are in place.

ARE ORTHODONTICS COVERED BY MEDICARE OR PRIVATE HEALTH FUNDS?

Orthodontics is not covered by Medicare but is covered by your Private Health fund provided you have the required level of cover. It is best to contact your health fund to ascertain if you have the right level of cover and also to confirm any refunds applicable.

Any X/Rays required are bulk billed through Medicare.

HOW MUCH DOES ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT COST?

Fees for orthodontic treatment will depend on the treatment required and the length of time this treatment will take. You will be advised before commencing any work, what your fee will be and what it does and does not cover (for e.g. lost or broken retainers will incur an additional fee, purchase of toothbrushes etc).

In order to make treatment costs more affordable, a payment plan is available, allowing the cost to be spread over a period of time.



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