Getting orthodontic treatment is a big decision to make - it's life-changing! You can completely transform your appearance with orthodontics and greatly improve your overall oral health.

Have questions about orthodontic treatment? Explore these frequently asked questions. Discover more about the benefits of orthodontics and what to expect with treatment.

About Treatment

Orthodontics is a specialist area of dentistry focused on straightening the teeth and correcting the bite to improve the appearance, function and stability of the teeth and jaws.

All orthodontists have to be dentists first, which takes five years of university training. A small part of this training involves orthodontics, but the majority concentrates on other facets of dentistry. To become a specialist orthodontist, a practitioner must apply and be accepted to undertake a further three years of university study in orthodontics at the post-graduate level.

A specialist orthodontist offers different treatment than what a dentist does. We don't do fillings, drilling, tooth whitening or extractions. Instead, we specialise in creating individualised treatment plans for patients who present with malocclusions.

While patients are often referred to an orthodontist by their dentist, we also welcome self-referrals. To make an appointment for an orthodontic consultation, simply give us a call on (06) 354 9606.

Most patients begin orthodontic treatment once they have their full adult teeth. In some cases, early examination and treatment make orthodontic problems easier to correct, so an orthodontic consultation around nine years old is recommended. However there are exceptions if a parent, family dentist, dental therapist or the patient has noted a problem an orthodontic evaluation at any age is advisable.

During the initial examination, Mike will work to determine what the problems are to form an accurate diagnosis. This normally includes:

  • Specialised x-rays, along with full sets of photos of the teeth and face
  • Creating a set of models of your teeth set up in the position you bite into
  • A tooth check to determine how the teeth bite together and to assess the jaw and face shape
  • Discussing the patient's needs and desired outcomes for orthodontic treatment

Mike then puts all this information together to form an individualised treatment plan for the patient.

Every patient who presents with malocclusion is different, so every individual will have a unique treatment plan. Treatment can involve a number of facets, which typically include plates and braces. A small number of malocclusions are not able to be corrected solely with braces and require a combined approach of surgery and orthodontics. This type of treatment is undertaken once the bones of the face have completed growing this usually occurs during early adulthood. 

Mike will explain the proposed treatment plan in detail, and encourage patients and carers to ask lots of questions. It is important to understand and feel comfortable with the explanation so that an informed decision can be made.

It usually takes about 45 minutes to have braces fitted. During the fitting, patients can relax and even watch TV on our specially-installed overhead screens.

Having braces fitted is a completely painless procedure that does not require anaesthetics. After the braces are fitted, patients will experience some discomfort for the first few days as the teeth begin to adjust. The level of discomfort varies between individuals and is usually eased with normal pain relief medication.

The average length of treatment with braces is 21 to 24 months. This can vary significantly between patients depending on a number of factors such as the severity of the problem being treated and the cooperation of the patient.

Once braces are removed, retainers are fitted to keep the teeth in their new position. Retainers may be removable plates or wires fitted between the teeth. Retainers play an important role in orthodontic treatment and need to be worn according to your orthodontist's instructions.

Once braces are fitted, follow-up appointments are scheduled approximately every eight to ten weeks. These appointments only take 15 minutes, and are necessary for the orthodontist to monitor treatment progress and adjust the braces. The colour of the braces (rubber rings) can also be changed at every appointment.

Parents and carers do not need to accompany their children to each appointment. We even provide bike-racks at the practice so patients can cycle to appointments. Our practice staff will ensure that parents and carers are fully informed of the treatment progress, regardless of whether they attend appointments.

How treatment will affect me

Yes, certainly. If you play any sport that would normally require you to wear a mouth guard then having braces is even more of a reason to use a mouth guard. Any sport that might involve a blow to the lips or teeth is an indication that a mouth guard should be worn. If you have a removable appliance, it should be removed for swimming (in case it is lost in the pool or the sea) and contact sports. The appliance should be kept in a mouth guard container.

Yes, although you will have to adjust to them at the start. Wax can be used to pad-out the braces on the front teeth and smooth the contours

Yes, a high proportion of the original problem will remain stable. However, there are certain pre-treatment features of tooth positions that are well known to have a tendency to return or relapse, although to a lesser extent. Retainers are fitted to resist these adverse changes. Rotations of the front teeth and spaces between the front teeth have a tendency to relapse. Therefore, when a patient is close to completing their treatment with braces, very fine wires are bonded behind the four or six upper front teeth and six lower front teeth to maintain their alignment. These “flexi-wires” are not visible from the front and have a low profile so that patients become very used to them in two or three days and forget they are there except when brushing their teeth and flossing. It is hoped that patients will keep these wires intact for many, many years as the gums never forget! If the wires come loose or are broken, they must be repaired or replaced very promptly.

In addition to these retainers, patients are provided with an upper removable appliance which simply holds the teeth while the bones and gums settle to the new tooth positions. The removable retainer is worn full-time for some months and then for an extended period at night-time only. Patients who have had their upper back teeth expanded to correct a crossbite may be required to use the upper removable appliance part-time (say two nights per week), long-term.

Cost and Payment Options

The total costs for orthodontic treatment vary depending on the severity of the problem, and the length and complexity of treatment. We provide the treatment fees before treatment begins. Treatment fees include:

  • The fitting of braces
  • All adjustments, materials, treatment visits and removal of the braces
  • The making and fitting of initial retainers
  • One year of care following the removal of the fixed braces

Additional charges apply if:

  • We need to replace lost or broken appliances (including retainers)
  • Some previously unidentified problem develops (e.g., unfavourable growth of the jaws)
  • Treatment is prolonged because the orthodontist's instructions were not followed (e.g., not wearing elastics as directed, poor care of appliances, bad eating habits)

The payment methods we accept are Mastercard, Visa, Q Card, Eftpos, cash or automatic payment. Payment plans are available so that payments can be made throughout the course of the treatment. Our staff are happy to discuss your payment options to find a solution that will work for you.