What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialist of dentistry, concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and the treatment of poorly positioned teeth and jaws, as well as irregularities of the face. The technical term for these problems is malocclusion. Orthodontic treatment is straightening of the teeth, improved dental health, increased self-confidence, improving the function and the appearance of the smile.
Who needs Orthodontics?
Orthodontic treatment is for anyone that is concerned about their appearance as well as the function of their teeth and jaws. Dissatisfaction with your smile, trouble with your bite, missing teeth with gaps, retained baby teeth and extra teeth are some of the issues that an Orthodontist can treat.
Crooked and crowded teeth are hard to clean and maintain. This may contribute to tooth decay and gum disease. Other orthodontic problems may contribute to abnormal wear of tooth surfaces, inefficient chewing function, excessive stress on gum tissue and the bone that supports the teeth.
Treatment can start as young as 7 years; although there is no upper age limit to orthodontics. Most orthodontic treatment is started in the early teens as this is when growth is most rapid.
What is an Orthodontist?
An Orthodontist is a specialist in the dental field, having undergone a 3 year Masters Degree that involves rigorous training in all aspects such as management in tooth movement, guiding facial development and more complex cases that might involve multidisciplinary treatments with other specialists. As teeth can sometimes alter the whole facial structure, it is important that the treatment is appropriate and completed properly.
Our Orthodontists are registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) as a Dental Specialist.
When is the best time to seek Orthodontic Treatment?
Our Orthodontists suggests children no later than the 9 years are screened. Some orthodontic problem can be easier to correct earlier than later in the child’s life. Having early treatment might mean the individual can avoid surgery or more complex treatment in the future. In some cases early intervention can achieve results that are manageable once the face and jaws have finished growing. However, a visit to the Orthodontist at any age is advisable if a particular issue has been noted by the family or school dentist, parent or GP.
Am I too old for Orthodontic Treatment?
Many orthodontic problems can be corrected in adults as well as children, so adults should not hesitate to consult an Orthodontist to discuss a problem. 25% of our patient database are adults. Adult orthodontic treatment is one of the largest growing areas of treatment.
How do Orthodontists straighten teeth?
Orthodontists use braces and other orthodontic appliances to reposition the teeth and jaws into an ideal bite, improving the patient’s appearance, self confidence and dental health. Braces use steady gentle pressure to slowly move teeth. The brackets that are placed on the teeth and the arch wire that connects them are the main devices in moving the teeth to their ideal positions.
How long will it take to complete treatment?
The length of the treatment depends on the severity of the problem. The level of patient’s co-operation can also affect the treatment time. The estimated time of treatment is usually close to the actual treatment time. However, treatment time can increase if growth is different than expected and/or if patient co-operation is less than needed. Although we prefer to avoid more than one episode of treatment, certain cases do require two or more phases of treatment.
Will it hurt?
The mouth is very sensitive to changes and the introduction of any appliance means that a period of adjustment must be expected. There may be some discomfort after initial placement of braces and the subsequent adjustments of the appliances. The lips and cheeks also need to get used to the braces appliance. The level of discomfort varies widely between patients but usually can be resolved by using a simple, “over-the-counter headache remedy” such as panadol.
Will I need to have teeth pulled for braces?
In some cases, the removal of teeth is recommended. We do not recommend the removal of teeth unless there is no other option. In some instances it is better to delay any decisions about removing teeth until after a patient’s initial treatment response has been established, then we have more information on which to base such an important decision.
If any teeth need to be removed we ask either your dentist or an Oral Surgeon to provide this service. The fees for removing teeth, or any other surgery, are not included in our fee schedule.
How much do Orthodontic treatments usually cost?
Orthodontic treatment cost depends on numerous factors, and reflect the complexity of the problem, as well as the length of treatment.
It is impossible to give an exact cost for treatment until we have examined the individual, so the cost of treatment will vary depending on the individual’s dental situation. The approximate costs and financial options will be covered during the initial examination. Orthodontic treatment can be paid off over a period of time, a deposit is paid when braces are put on and the balance is paid off with equal monthly payments.