Orthodontics

Frequently

Asked

Questions

How long will treatment take?

We all look different and sound different, some taller than others, some stronger…and moving teeth is no different.

Teeth take anywhere between 3 to 9 months to straighten. Sometimes, that is all it takes! For this reason, some companies market their braces to give the idea that they work very quickly e.g. Fast braces, Speed braces. However, that does not mean that the correction of the bite has been completed.

Our patients trust us to do the very best in treatment. We aim to perfect not only the positions of teeth, but also their roots; and in some cases, the jaw positions too. This gives our patients a great result and a fantastic smile. For most of our patients, we spend the following 6 months redistributing tooth spaces, and the final 6-12 months, perfecting the bite and the root positions.

Patients influence the length of treatment. Cleaning and looking after any braces or appliances, keeping appointments, and avoiding breaking braces, allows the treatment  to be streamlined and track to time…getting our patients to that better smile, faster!

What is a specialist orthodontist?

A specialist orthodontist is a dentist who has undertaken two to three additional years of full-time training at a university. The University of Otago is New Zealand’s only specialist dental training university and has a rich and profound academic and clinical focus. During the three years of speciality training, the specialising orthodontist attends lectures and seminars that provide an evidence-based, scientific approach to treatment. There is also a massive exposure to various methods and techniques in providing treatment. As the teaching staff, professor, consultants and lecturers have over 100 years of shared experience and have trained in the UK, Europe, USA, Australia and New Zealand – this provides a vast amount of scientifically proven treatment. In 2015, the University of Otago Dental School ranked 8th best in the world!

What are the extra letters after my orthodontist's name?

The jumble of letters after an orthodontist’s name is a reflection of his/her qualifications.

BDS – Bachelor of Dental Surgery) – This is the degree all general dentists who trained in New Zealand receive after spending five years studying at dental school and graduating.

DClinDent (Ortho) – Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orthodontics) – This is a specialty degree in orthodontics. It involves three years of full-time study, above the years already completed to become a dentist. The degree involves over 5000 hours of lectures, presentations and treating patients to achieve an expertise in the field.

MRACDS (Ortho) – Membership in Orthodontics with the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (Orthodontics) – Achieved by passing the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons examination.

MOrth RCSEd – Membership in Orthodontics with the Royal College of Surgeons (Edinburgh) – Achieved by passing the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Edinburgh orthodontic examinations.

The “College” is a postgraduate education body that provides the opportunity for and recognition of advanced dental study, training and qualifications, and continuing professional development through the Membership and Fellowship programs. The main focus of the College programs is to provide world standard, evidence-based education, training and assessment in dentistry. College qualifications demonstrate to patients that their practitioner is equipped with the knowledge and skills to practice clinical orthodontics at the highest standards throughout their working life.

In summary – if you choose a specialist orthodontist, you can be confident they will have had the training and expertise needed to ensure you receive the very best orthodontic care and treatment results! A smile is used every day and is one of the most important characteristics we have.

Why can my regular dentist offer me braces?

In New Zealand, dentists are permitted to provide some orthodontics. The range of treatment provided depends on the dentist’s exposure to short courses and training sessions held by various speakers and lecturers that are not always affiliated with the university. Such dentists may be able to offer a certain level of orthodontic treatment, but complex cases are usually referred to a specialist orthodontist.

While equipped with the training to do so, a specialist orthodontist does not normally carry out other dental treatments like fillings or extractions. They spend all of their time thinking and practising orthodontics – practise makes perfect!

Do braces hurt?

This is the number one question we get! Braces are generally not painful while being placed – that is a fact.

After they are fitted, light pressure is felt by the teeth so there can be some tenderness and discomfort from the teeth that are moving. This is usually felt most 2-3 days after the adjustments. The discomfort is often relieved with non-prescription painkillers, like paracetamol.

Do I need a referral?

Orthodontic referrals are not required. Our patients often hear about us from another patient or from our involvement within the community. Contact us today to book a free appointment.

What do I need to bring to my first appointment?

Just yourself! Of course if you are under 16 years of age, you’ll need to come in with your guardian!

We have all the gadgets and technology to obtain all the information that we need to diagnose and plan your orthodontic treatment.

Please bring any previous X-rays you have had or anything relevant that you would like to share with us.

Am I too old for orthodontics?

It is a myth that orthodontics is limited by age – you are never too old for orthodontic treatment.

In New Zealand, there are increasing numbers of adults having treatment later in life. Often the reason for this is because they have found out about some of the technological advances in orthodontics with regards to braces, with treatment modalities like Invisalign (clear aligner system) and Incognito (braces on the tongue side surface of the teeth) becoming hugely popular. Our orthodontists are certified in using such systems. In some cases, there is also a health-related aspect where gum disease has occurred. By moving teeth to a better position, there can be improvements in oral hygiene and gum health.

We treat many adult patients who have realised the importance of a healthy, attractive smile in their everyday life.

Call for an appointment today and we will advise if Invisalign or Incognito are right for you.

Will my teeth straighten by themselves as I grow?

Unfortunately, no. For most people, after the permanent molars grow into the mouth, the space available for the front teeth decreases. Furthermore, as we get older, the eye teeth, especially in the lower jaw, have a tendency to come closer together, which causes the lower incisor teeth to become crooked. This is frequently why people in their thirties start noticing the lower teeth becoming crooked, despite them once being straight.

When can my child start orthodontic treatment?

We like to see patients early to address certain problems before they become even bigger.

Some orthodontic problems can start very early in life. Most orthodontic societies in the world recommend an initial screening examination by the age of 6-7 years. So, if you are noticing any abnormality with your child’s teeth, please do not hesitate to contact us. Our staff are fantastic with young and anxious children.

How often will I have appointments?

You will usually need to have appointments every 8 weeks. Sometimes, you will need appointments sooner and other times you will need appointments beyond 8 weeks. Your orthodontist will advise what is best during your treatment.

As a parent, must I be at every appointment?

Our practice is a child- and family-friendly practice. Teenagers are more than welcome to come to the practice unsupervised for the adjustment appointments. There are some occasions where we need to discuss aspects of treatment with a parent, so please ask when confirming your appointment or before you drop your child off whether you need to be present at a certain appointment.

It is necessary for the parent of a minor (16 years and under) to be present for the initial consultation visit.

What happens if I miss an appointment?

We make every effort to make sure that we run on time, as we respect that your time is precious. In return, we ask for the same consideration from you. Missing a scheduled appointment means that someone else has missed out on getting that appointment because it was allocated to you. Please let us know ahead of time if you need to change your appointment time.

Are there invisible braces?

Yes! We offer lingual braces, which are fitted to the back of your teeth and are out of sight. We also offer ceramic braces, which are tooth-coloured braces, and Invisalign, which is a clear removable aligner system that acts in a similar fashion to straighten teeth. View Our Treatment Options

Why do I need an X-ray?

It is really important that all the information about your teeth and jaws is available before we decide on the treatment that is right for you or your child. Missing, impacted or additional teeth are a fairly frequent finding, which can sometimes completely change the proposed treatment. So that there are no surprises and both you and the orthodontist know the state of your teeth and jawbones, X-rays are a very important part of the treatment-planning process. Furthermore, X-rays can provide additional information which becomes important when deciding whether it is necessary to have teeth removed, or where crowded teeth are impacting your smile.

Will I be able to eat as normal?

Wearing braces should not excessively change your diet but changes to the diet must be made: hard foods, sticky foods and foods with a high sugar content must be avoided as these can cause damage to the braces.

Will braces affect my speech?

The speech for most of our patients is not affected. Initially, there may be a strange feeling as the lips and cheeks adjust to the braces or aligners, but this only lasts a few days and is transient.

The type of braces placed can affect speech to some extent. For example, braces that go on the inside surface of the teeth (Incognito), will take some getting use to.

For some patients, the speech can be slightly affected in the initial period after braces placement. This is just until your tongue gets used to the braces presence and then normal speech will return.

What if I play contact sports?

If professional sportspeople can do their thing wearing braces, then you can too! Unfortunately though, orthodontic treatment won’t make you run, swim or bike any faster.

Many people can continue to play sports like rugby, football or martial arts with braces. However, mouthguards must be worn to protect the teeth, gums and braces from any knocks and bumps. We can also make custom-made professional mouthguards for your peace of mind when playing sports. If you have removable braces, plates or retainers, these should be removed for contact sports and swimming, and kept in a safe place (case). If you have any questions, please feel free to ask us, we will be happy to help.

Will my teeth stay straight after the braces come off?

We plan for the tooth movements to be as stable as possible, however, teeth are still able to move slightly due to the “elastic recoil” of the gums, muscles and facial growth. Retainers are used to keep your smile as brilliant as the day your braces had come off.

Talk to us about the different types of retainers that may be suitable for you when you are in next.

Do braces affect playing an instrument?

The lips and tongue adjust to braces very quickly, so most patients are expected to be playing their best within a couple of days from the day braces are fitted. In addition, braces can be covered with orthodontic wax to prevent discomfort. Trumpeters, flutists, and clarinettists are all able to have braces!

If you are overly concerned about braces affecting your ability to play a wind instrument, please speak to the orthodontist for individualised advice.