FAQ

  1. What is orthodontics?
  2. What is the difference between a general dentist and a specialist orthodontist?
  3. Do I need a referral from my dentist to receive orthodontic treatment?
  4. What's the right age to start orthodontic treatment?
  5. Why have orthodontic treatment?
  6. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?
  7. How do I schedule an appointment for an consultation?
  8. What will happen at the initial appointment?
  9. Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?
  10. How long will it take to complete treatment?
  11. How much will treatment cost?
  12. How often will I have appointments?
  13. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?
  14. Do braces hurt?
  15. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?
  16. Can I still play sports?
  17. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?
  18. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
  19. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?
  20. What do I do in an emergency?
  21. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?
  22. Can I wear braces even though I have crowns and missing teeth?
  23. Can I get treatment on just my bottom or top teeth?

1. What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is that branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of teeth and jaws. Common problems encountered include crooked or crowded teeth, protruding or "buck" teeth and incorrect jaw development. The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion", which literally means "bad bite". Orthodontic treatment involves the design and use of corrective appliances (such as braces, plates, and functional appliances) to bring the teeth and jaws into proper alignment.

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2. What is the difference between a general dentist and a specialist orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has become a registered specialist in orthodontics (in much the same way that a cardiologist is a doctor who has become a specialist in heart problems).In Australia an orthodontist must:

  • Complete a Bachelor degree in Dentistry
  • Complete a Masters or Doctorate degree in Orthodontics
  • Be recognised and registered as both a General Dentist and a Specialist in Orthodontics by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

A Specialist orthodontic practice also deals exclusively with orthodontics and does not routinely engage in general dental work such as fillings, extractions, general check-ups, etc.

>Note: Due to the difference in treatment, care, and cost; the amount of your insurance rebate may be less if treatment is rendered by a General Dentist rather than an Orthodontic specialist.

An orthodontist is the most qualified person to diagnose, prevent and treat any problems you might have with the alignment of your teeth and jaws.

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3. Do I need a referral from my dentist to receive orthodontic treatment?

It is not necessary for you to have a referral from your dentist to receive orthodontic treatment. Many patients take the initiative to schedule an examination themselves. We do however recommend that you see your family dentist for a check-up before you start any active orthodontic care to ensure that your teeth and gums are healthy enough to proceed with treatment.

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4. What's the right age to start orthodontic treatment?

The Australian Society of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists recommend an orthodontic screening by age 7-8, as this is usually when the adult front teeth are visible in the mouth and problems may be apparent, or earlier if the dentist discovers a potential problem before this time.

Early examination allows the orthodontist to detect and evaluate problems and to plan an appropriate treatment schedule.

Early treatment may also prevent more serious problems from developing or make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. Early treatment may also achieve results that are not possible once the face and jaws have stopped growing.

In most cases, orthodontic treatment is commenced as soon as the last baby tooth has been shed. This usually occurs in the early teens. In some cases, it is an advantage to start just before the last baby teeth are shed.

In the past, orthodontic treatment was generally restricted to children. However, the basic process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age and orthodontic treatment is also successful for adults.

Because an adult's facial bones are no longer growing, some severe malocclusions cannot be corrected with braces alone. In such cases, orthodontic treatment combined with jaw surgery can achieve dramatic improvements.

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5. Why have orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment not only can boost your self-esteem and give you the beautiful smile you want, but it can also improve your oral health. Additional benefits include:

  • Creating straight teeth and a beautiful smile
  • Building your self-esteem
  • Reducing the risk of tooth decay
  • Decreasing the risk of tooth wear
  • Establishing normal chewing, breathing and speech functions
  • Correct improper jaw relationships and reduce stress on the facial muscles and jaw joints

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6. Will my teeth straighten out as they grow?

No, they will not. The space available for the front teeth does not increase as you grow. In most cases, after the permanent molars erupt, the space available for the front teeth decreases with age.

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7. How do I schedule an appointment for a consultation?

If you or your child may potentially benefit from orthodontic treatment, simply call our practice, send us an e-mail (info@brightsmilesbunbury.com.au) or fill out our appointment request form online. We will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.

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8. What will happen at the initial appointment?

At the initial appointment we want to make you feel comfortable, acquaint you with our clinic, and learn about your orthodontic concerns.

We will take the necessary photographs and X-rays to allow us to make a proper diagnosis. The doctor will then complete a thorough exam of your teeth and jaw function. An assessment will also be made of gum health, oral hygiene and facial symmetry. At this time we may also obtain additional diagnostic records, including additional X-rays, measurements and impressions.

This will help us in developing your customized treatment plan.

We will then schedule a second visit – a presentation appointment - to discuss your treatment options, time frames and financial arrangements. We strive to ensure that our patients have a clear understanding of their specific needs, what treatment will consist of and how long it will take.

Please assist us by bringing along any panoramic x-rays taken by your dentist within the past six months to your first visit.

To read more about your first visit, see our First Visit Page.

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9. 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. However, because new technology has provided advanced orthodontic procedures, removing teeth is not always necessary for orthodontic treatment.

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10. How long will it take to complete treatment?

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 weeks. Complex treatments and adult orthodontic treatment may take in excess of 2 years to complete.

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11. How much will treatment cost?

Our fees for comprehensive treatment vary greatly depending on the nature and severity of the orthodontic problem, the age of the patient, the treatment method, the type of appliances used and the anticipated length of treatment.

We will provide a detailed treatment plan with treatment cost following your initial visit and once all your diagnostic records has been reviewed.

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12. How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient's needs. Most patients in braces will be seen every 6-10 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly.

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13. Can I schedule all of my appointments after school?

Typically, the most frequently requested appointment times are after school hours and early morning appointments. Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all appointments for students outside of school hours. Breakages, emergencies, and longer appointments such as appliance insertion and initial bonding of the braces, are scheduled at times other than these so that we are able to accommodate as many patients as possible during their preferred times. Since the majority of appointments are scheduled 6 to 10 weeks apart, most patients will miss minimal school as a result of their orthodontic appointments. We will, however, make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling needs where possible.

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14. Do braces hurt?

“Taking advantage of modern technology and the latest advancements in orthodontic wires, faster tooth movement and significantly less discomfort associated with treatment than in previous times.”

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15. Can I return to school the day I receive my braces?

Yes. There is no reason to miss school because of an orthodontic appointment

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16. Can I still play sports?

Yes. However it is recommended that you use an orthodontic mouth guard for all potential contact sports. Some of these are custom-fitted, whereas other may be bought ‘off the shelf.’ We are happy to discuss the different types of mouthguards to suit your needs.

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17. Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Regular checkups with your family dentist are important while in braces. Your family dentist will determine the intervals between cleaning appointments while you are in braces.

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18. Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

Once treatment begins, we will explain the complete instructions and provide a comprehensive list of foods to avoid. Some of those foods include: ice, hard candy, raw vegetables and all sticky foods (i.e. caramel and taffy). You can avoid most emergency appointments to repair broken or damaged braces by carefully following our instructions.

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19. How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

To avoid accumulation of food particles in your teeth and braces which can lead to tooth decay, you should brush your teeth at least four times each day - after each meal and before going to bed. We will show you how to floss your teeth with braces and may also provide a prescription for a special fluoride, if necessary.

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20. What do I do in an emergency?

Very few true emergencies exist in orthodontics, however, a true emergency situation would be if your child fell or got hit in the mouth and noticeably displaced his or her anterior teeth. If this occurs, please contact your dentist, orthodontist, or the emergency room at your local hospital immediately for ¬advice or assistance.

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21. Is it too late to have braces if I am already an adult?

A large percentage of patients are adults, and they agree that it's never too late to improve their greatest asset: their smile. Orthodontic treatment as an adult can improve your personal appearance and self-esteem. Improving the health of your teeth and gums is an equally important potential benefit.

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22. 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 simple filling. When teeth are missing, orthodontic treatment will aid in the alignment of the remaining teeth.

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23. Can I get treatment on just my bottom or top teeth?

That depends on your individual circumstances. Whilst we aim to correct your malocclusion (bad bite) and straighten your teeth with cosmetic improvements in mind, we also want to ensure your bite is comfortable and stable at the end of treatment. Generally, when only a single arch is treated, the quality and stability of the result are compromised. We will be able to discuss this in more detail at your initial consultation.

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