Information Central

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a specialised branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of irregularities and abnormalities of the teeth, jaws and face. The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion," which means "bad bite." The aim of Orthodontics is to produce a healthy, functional bite, providing greater resistance to disease and creating great smiles.

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Who needs orthodontics?

If you are concerned about the appearance and function of your teeth and jaws treatment may be for you. Depending on the problem treatment can start at any age. A great time to get an orthodontic opinion for your child is when the upper front baby teeth have fallen out and the adult replacement teeth have come through. However, most orthodontic treatment is undertaken once all of the permanent teeth are through and the person is growing rapid. This tends to be during the intermediate and early seconary school years. But no one is too old for treatment.

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How much?

The cost of treatment varies depending on the severity of the problem and the complexity and length of treatment. The cost of an initial cosultation is $130.00. We will give you an estimated treatment cost at this appointment. If you decide to proceed with treatment, pretreatment records may be collected. The cost of pretreatment records is $220.00. We will then provide you with a fixed treatment fee before treatment begins. You may choose to pay this fee over an extended period.

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What are fixed appliances?

Fixed appliances are more commonly known as "braces". They are made of stainless steel, porcelain (clear), or plastic (clear). They are glued onto the teeth and once wires are threaded into tiny slots in them, they act as handles, allowing the teeth to be moved into their ideal positions.

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What are removable appliances?

Also known as "plates", removable appliances are used to either correct the positions of small numbers of teeth that require simple movements or as a plate to retain the teeth at the end of treatment.

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How long does it take?

Depending on the pre-treatment problems, growth during treatment and how well you follow instructions, treatment times can vary greatly. The average treatment time for an adolescent is 24 months. Adults treatments generally take longer than childrens treatments.

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Do you always take teeth out?

No, most treatments don't require the extraction of teeth.

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How do I know if I will need teeth out?

After the initial consultation we will discuss the likelihood of you needing teeth out. Extra information provided by the pretreatment records and treatment plan also help the discussion regarding the need for the removal of teeth. We do not like removing teeth and if there is a possiblity of a healthy attractive smile without the removal of teeth we will begin without removing them and reassess treatment response before making a final decision.

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How can I pay?

The whole treatment can be paid for in one payment or you may wish to pay the fee off over a period of time. A deposit is paid when the braces are put on and the balance is paid off with equal monthly or three monthly payments. Invoices or automatic payments from your bank can be arranged for these payments. We do not charge interest.

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How do I look after my braces?

I'm sorry - there are some rules about care! It is very important that you keep your teeth very clean. The glue we use to put the braces on with is very weak (so we can take them off easily at the end of your treatment) so you will have to cut up any hard foods you choose to eat. No energy or sports drinks and only soft drinks as a treat! They are very acidic and sugary and will make holes in your teeth in no time (whether you have braces on or not) We'll provide you with lots of information at the time your braces are put on. Seeing us regularly does NOT mean you don't need to see your dentist regularly during treatment. Extra dental hygiene visits may also be recommended. Read more…

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Will it hurt?

There are a wide range of reactions to the fitting of braces. Several hours after the braces have been placed you will probably feel some discomfort. This bruised feeling usually lasts a few days and you may feel like a softer diet and some pain relief (Panadol or Maxigesic work well). This will ease after the first week. Depending on what is done you may experience some discomfort after your orthodontic check ups.

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How often will I see the Orthodontist?

We like seeing our patients approximately every six to eight weeks during your active treatment.

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What is retention?

After the braces have been removed it is essential that your teeth are held while the teeth "set" in their new positions and in the longer term to avoid small unwanted changes. This can be achieved with the use of an upper removable plate and a fixed wire bonded behind the lower front teeth. You will wear the plate full time to begin with and then gradually reduce the amount of wear. Because we now understand that, like the rest of your body, with wear and age some tooth movement is expected. The retainers can be worn from time to time to avoid any unwanted changes. We will monitor you retention for 2 years after the braces have been removed and will advise you about any problems you may have with erution of the wisdom teeth.

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Why should I choose a specialist?

Just as there are specialists in medicine (such as cardiologists, gastroenterologists, neurologists, etc.), there are specialists in dentistry. Orthodontists are dental specialists who dedicate their professional lives to correcting misaligned teeth and jaws.

Orthodontists are qualified dentists, who after graduating from dental school, go on to additional full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic residency program supervised by orthodontists. Our orthodontist's training lasted for at least three more academic year beyond the dental degree. By learning about tooth movement (orthodontics) and guidance of facial development (dentofacial orthopedics), orthodontists are the uniquely trained experts in dentistry to straighten teeth and align jaws.

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How do I know I have chosen an orthodontic specialist?

The Dental Council of New Zealand maintains a current list of orthodontic specialists. I can be very confusing as there are many dental practices who advertise orthodontic treatment, but they are not orthodontists. The best way to check if you are being looked after by an orthodontic specialist is to check out that persons status with the Dental Council of New Zealand. You can check who has a specialist qualification here.

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If you do not find the answer to your query here, please use our contact form to contact us directly



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