What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialist branch of dentistry concerned with the irregularities of teeth, bites and jaw bones. The technical term for such a problem is ‘malocclusion’.
Why should I choose an Orthodontic Specialist?
Orthodontists have had extensive and specialised training that enables them to provide their patients with professional and personalised treatments.
NZ Orthodontists are registered with the Dental Council of NZ as a Dental Specialist. They have their own organisation NZAO (www.orthodontists.org.nz) which arranges ongoing education, courses and conferences. The NZAO have high standards and members are required to undertake extensive ongoing continuing education.
Do I need a referral from a School Dental Therapist (SDT) or a General Dentist?
No a referral is not necessary, although many of our clients do receive referrals from these sources. You may call our clinic directly if you have any questions without a referral.
At what age should I schedule an appointment for orthodontic screening?
Anytime from 7-8 years for an initial visit to determine if any interceptive treatment or space maintenance is required or for potential future planning. However, we see patients of all ages.
Why are my teeth crooked?
Some problems are inherited and some acquired. Crooked, spaced, missing or extra teeth are inherited problems, as are discrepancies with jaws or facial bones. Acquired problems may result from accidents, habits such as thumb or finger sucking, early loss of baby or permanent teeth or dental disease.
Will teeth straighten as they grow out?
In most cases no. On average any crowding or irregularity of teeth tends get worse over time.
How should I schedule an appointment for an initial exam.
Call our clinic directly and one of our friendly and incredibly helpful team members will guide you through the process of registering at our practice.
What will happen at the first appointment?
We love New Patient appointments. This is a chance for us to meet you and you to meet us! Generally at this visit an x-ray will be taken, a brief examination done and we shall have a brief discussion outlining potential treatment options and associated costs. Depending on the age of the patient and potential treatment required further records may be done at this visit if time permits.
What is Interceptive Treatment?
This is a primary phase of treatment undertaken to treat simple problems early in dental development. These treatments often involve the wearing of removable plates and space maintainers. More comprehensive treatment may well be advised once the permanent teeth have come through. This is assessed on a case by case basis.
Will teeth have to be extracted?
Obviously dental extractions are not a decision taken lightly. Each treatment plan is individually tailored and in some cases extractions are advised to ensure the best result both for the short and long term. Sometimes the final decision is delayed 6-9 months into treatment.
How long is Orthodontic treatment?
The average time in braces is 18-24 months. More complex cases, and those where instructions are not followed, may take up to three years or longer. We have one or two visits in the year following the removal of the braces. This is the retention phase of treatment.
How much does treatment cost?
Fees are determined on a case by case basis. You will be given a guide for any potential fees at your first visit. We have a number of options for the payment of fees which will be outlined in a treatment letter. Payments are often spread out over the course of treatment. For any further queries do not hesitate to contact our Practice Manager.
How often are appointments?
Adjustments for braces are generally every 7-10 weeks. Adjustments for interceptive treatments are generally every 6-8 weeks. Space maintainers are checked every six months. You should contact the clinic if you require an additional appointment or for any problems.
What if I need to change an appointment?
We understand family life and our fabulous Front Desk staff will endeavour to do their best should you require a change in appointment time. Please contact the clinic as soon as you know you cannot make your existing appointment.
Can I schedule an appointment after school?
Unfortunately, we cannot schedule all our appointments after school. However, because most appointments are 6-10 weeks apart most patients miss minimal school due to their orthodontic treatment. We do make a sincere effort to meet your scheduling requirements.
Can I drop my child off for an appointment?
Yes. We understand busy schedules and we are happy to help you make the most of your time. A progress report is provided to unaccompanied patients. One of our team members may follow-up with a phone call should there be any problems or concerns.
Do braces hurt?
It is common the first few days after braces are placed, for the teeth to be a bit tender - like having a bruise. This tenderness may be relieved by any over-the-counter remedy and soft food is recommended. Any tenderness disappears after a few days to a week.
Can I still play sport?
Yes. We recommend you continue with your daily activities. A mouthguard is recommended for some sports and an awareness of the braces. You need to get a good side step!
Do I need to see the family or Dental Therapist while I have braces?
Yes. It is important to continue general maintenance while having Orthodontic treatment.
Are there any foods I cannot eat while I have braces?
Yes. The braces are delicate and require care to ensure no breakages. Instructions will be given in detail the day the braces are placed and you will have a chance to ask any questions. You may also want check out our Brace Yourself instructions on the website.
How often should I brush my teeth?
As much as you like!! At the minimum twice per day, morning and evening. More frequent brushing will ensure a speedy treatment with no marking of the teeth, holes in the teeth or puffy gums.
What is an emergency and how are they handled?
There are very few true Orthodontic emergencies. Long or sharp wires are the main emergency. These situations are remedied by contacting the clinic. Emergency appointments are available every day. Occasionally breakages occur and generally these are attended to at the next adjustment appointment already scheduled. If patients are wearing elastics or just have concerns contact the clinic for advice.