1. What is orthodontics? How does it differ from dentistry?
Orthodontics and dentistry are related to each other in the sense that the former is a branch of dentistry. An orthodontist (the professional who practices orthodontics) specialises in the prevention, treatment, and diagnosis of issues connected to teeth and jaws alignment. Some of these problems include protrusion, crowding, and improper jaw development. Technically, these issues are all a form of malocclusion, which means “bad bite.”
Orthodontics involves using braces, aligners, and other corrective appliances. Their goals are the same, which is to correct the misalignment of teeth and jaws. This way, the patient benefits from the appearance and function of straight teeth.
Orthodontists are trained dentists. They completed at least two years of general practice dentistry, along with three years of postgraduate training in orthodontics. An orthodontist is required to be registered with the Dental Board of Australia and mostly a member of the Australian Society of Orthodontists. The Australasian Orthodontic Board performs peer assessments on all orthodontists in the country regularly.
2. Do you still need to see your dentist while on an orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontists and dentists can work together to help patients achieve their smile goals. Therefore, you still have to visit your dentist every six months to ensure you get your teeth cleaned. Orthodontic treatment may be put on hold if the dentist sees a significant deterioration in the patient’s oral health.
3. Is a referral necessary for me to see an orthodontist?
The short answer is “no.” You can visit us anytime when you have booked an appointment. However, it is necessary that you are in excellent dental health. Orthodontic treatments cannot commence unless you are free from gum disease or tooth decay.
4. How long will the treatment take?
The duration of the orthodontic treatment is on a case to case basis. Some cases are quite simple, while others are complex. The method of treatment also dictates how long it will last. If you have a minor misalignment, the correction will usually take about six to nine months.
However, if it is a significant malocclusion, it can take two to three years (or even more). Comprehensive cases can usually be completed anywhere from 18 to 24 months.
5. How often is the appointment?
Again, it will depend on your case. Appointments will be scheduled based on your own requirements. Typically, patients will come to our office once every four or eight weeks. Others, especially those with simple corrections needed, they may visit every ten weeks.
Some situations, however, require frequent monitoring. In such a case, appointments will be scheduled accordingly.
6. How old or young should the patient be to receive orthodontic services?
Timing is of the essence when it comes to the success of orthodontic treatment. Of course, it does not mean you can no longer get treated when you are old. As much as possible, it is recommended for the patients to be treated early since it can affect the final result of the treatment.
No two patients are alike, though; it is why there is no specific age requirement to begin any treatment. Both the Australian Society of Orthodontists and the American Association of Orthodontists believe that a specialist orthodontist should examine children at the age of seven to eight years. It is during these times when parents or family dentists find a potential problem.
Comprehensive treatment using braces can begin after the eruption of all permanent teeth. From a biological, as well as social standpoint, adolescents should undergo full braces treatment around the age of 12 to 15. Older teens and adults can become more challenging. However, the process is pretty much the same, so it is never too late to have your teeth fixed.
7. Will it hurt? Will I need to have teeth removed?
With braces and aligners, they do not hurt. Minor discomfort and soreness should be expected for at least a few days. There are medications ready to make it bearable.
It may be possible to get some teeth extracted, although we aim to avoid it as much as possible here at Kingsley Orthodontics. Nevertheless, if it is required, we ensure that it is for the best. Extraction is often necessary with severe crowding and protrusion.
8. Do I need to wear retainers? For how long?
Once you have completed your treatment, you are still not done because you are required to wear retainers after. These devices are used to make sure the teeth will stay in their new positions. Retainers are as essential as your braces. You need to follow their wear instructions to prevent teeth from moving out of alignment.
Removable retainers should be worn at least every night after your treatment. Your orthodontist will tell you how long it would take. The typical duration is at least two years. Ideally, you should wear the treatment a few nights weekly indefinitely.
9. How much will it cost me? Can I use Medicare or private health insurance for orthodontics?
The cost will depend on how complex your case is and the treatment method used. The treatment plan will include the exact cost of the treatment. The fees typically include:
- Dental appliance placement
- Appliance removal
The first 12 months following the removal of the braces or appliances will be supervised. It may be included in the total cost of the treatment. Kingsley Orthodontics is always transparent, so you do not have to worry about hidden expenses.
Orthodontics is an investment, and health insurance can help you with the costs. Unfortunately, Medicare does not cover orthodontics unless your case is considered “severe” that it causes major health problems. The coverage is under the Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate Scheme.
You can benefit from private health insurance instead. Many health insurers cover orthodontic treatments, including retainers, aligners, and braces. Be sure to compare all available options by looking at the coverage, limits, and waiting periods.