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.
10. Signs That Your Child Needs to See an Orthodontist?
Parents should take their child to an orthodontist if they see certain signs, such as a thumb-sucking habit. It is a common behaviour in kids that may seem benign but can actually affect how teeth are growing. Another sign to watch out for is when the child’s baby tooth has fallen out at a very early age. Loss of baby teeth should be around the age of six, and adult or permanent teeth should be complete by the age of 12.
Dr Anthony Hopkins shares the other signs, which tell parents it is time to see an orthodontist for their children.
11. Why Should I Take My Child to See an Orthodontist?
Are you wondering why you should take your child to an orthodontist? You are not alone. Many parents avoid taking their child to an orthodontic specialist for many reasons. One is that they think orthodontic treatments are quite expensive. Since it is not covered by most health insurance, getting braces is put off almost indefinitely.
Watch this video where Dr Anthony Hopkins tells parents why it is important to take children to an orthodontist. Even at an early age, problems can arise, and they can have a massive impact on your kid’s future. The last thing you want for your child is a crooked smile that could affect their confidence.
12. What are Incognito or Lingual Braces?
There are quite a few choices of braces out there, making it a little difficult for patients to figure out what they should opt for. You may have heard about Invisalign or the traditional choice, which is made of metal installed on the front of the teeth. However, many patients do not know about incognito or lingual braces.
In this video, Dr Anthony Hopkins explains what incognito or lingual braces are. They are a distinct type since they are located at the back of the teeth, rather than on the front. It always pays to know your available options. Your Kingsley Orthodontics team will guide you on which braces or straightening appliance suits your case best.
13. How Do I Know if My Child Needs Orthodontic Treatment?
Adults and teens are the most common patients of orthodontists. However, children as young as seven years old can visit us at Kingsley Orthodontics, too. By having your child see Dr Hopkins, we can help assess the condition of your child’s teeth and overall oral health. We work with dentists to provide you with the best care there is.
By visiting an orthodontist, your child can have a better and healthier smile. It is essential to look for signs, such as teeth crowding, thumb-sucking habit, and early tooth loss. If your child shows any of these signs, please don’t hesitate to talk to your dentist and have your child referred to us.
14. What Is the Cost of Invisalign Vs Braces?
It is a common misconception that Invisalign is more expensive than traditional or fixed braces. The cost will depend on the severity of the case, the duration of the treatment, and other requirements of the patient. These factors will determine the final price for both Invisalign or clear aligners and fixed braces.
At Kingsley Orthodontics, we offer clear aligners at the same price as traditional braces. That way, you can truly choose the most suitable option for your teeth and your budget. Please watch the video above where Dr Anthony Hopkins talks about how we price the treatments at Kingsley Orthodontics.
15. Does Private Health Insurance Cover the Cost of Orthodontics?
Having private insurance can help patients afford their orthodontic treatment. In this video, Dr Anthony Hopkins talks about insurance coverage and why it is beneficial to be covered. You can actually find different health insurance policies that help you pay for your braces, surgery, or other orthodontic procedure. However, please be aware that it is not often included in the general hospital cover policy. You will need to add the coverage in your extras cover.
We can help you sort out your insurance so you can prepare for your treatment financially. Contact us, and a Kingsley Orthodontics staff will assist you with the matter.
16. Does Kingsley Orthodontics Offer Payment Plans?
Many of our patients are worried about the cost of their upcoming orthodontic treatment. Here at Kingsley Orthodontics, our goal is to provide you with the best smile you can achieve. You can have a stress-free procedure with the help of our payment plans. Dr Anthony Hopkins talks about the benefits of our payment plans, which include interest-free payments and a flexible schedule.
If you would like to learn more about our payment plans, how you can qualify, and other enquiries, please contact us on (08) 9309 3046. Our friendly staff will assist you and answer all your payment-related questions.
17. Orthodontics and Any Associated Risks
Orthodontic treatments, in general, are all very safe procedures. They are suitable for almost everyone. However, that is not to say that orthodontics, such as braces, do not come with risks. Most people do experience minimal discomfort for a few days following the treatment, as well as after the adjustment procedure.
Nevertheless, orthodontic treatments are typically safe, although some risks include more trapped food particles between the spaces in the teeth. It is why it is more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene when wearing braces, Invisalign, or retainers. If you have any problem with your appliance, such as unbearable pain, don’t wait. Contact your orthodontist right away.
18. How Long Does Orthodontic Treatment Last?
Patients often ask, “Doctor, when will I be done?” It’s one of the most common questions but without a definite answer. The duration of your treatment, as mentioned by Dr Anthony Hopkins in this clip, will range from 18 months to two years. It can be shorter or longer, depending on your case and the treatment itself.
We all start a journey and focus on the result. In orthodontic treatments, the goal is to remove the braces once the teeth are aligned. But even after that, you have to wear retainers. The completion of your treatment will be provided to you by your orthodontist. We make sure you know any updates about your braces or any orthodontic treatment.
19. What Are Retainers and Why Are They Used?
Retainers are necessary after orthodontic treatment. Whether you wore Invisalign, traditional braces, or lingual braces, you will have to use retainers right after. Retainers can either be permanent or removable. Your orthodontist will tell you which type suits you best. Most often, however, patients only have to wear removable retainers, which should be worn for several hours every day following the treatment. The number of hours will then reduce after a few months to a year.
Your Kingsley orthodontist will tell you how long you should wear the retainer each day. Other instructions will be provided, as well. Please make sure you follow them to keep your teeth from moving.
20. Is It Necessary to Have Teeth Removed Prior to Orthodontic Treatment?
When you visit us for an initial consultation, you will know straight away if you require any extraction. This procedure is painless and needed before we install your braces. If your orthodontist tells you that one or more teeth should be removed, there is usually no other way around it. We do our best to prevent any extraction unless it is necessary. Typically, people with severe crowding and those with smaller jaws will require an extraction.
21. Does Treatment from an Orthodontist Hurt?
Braces do cause discomfort, but, in general, it is not bad at all. Getting braces does not hurt and will usually take one to two hours for the process to be completed. Pain and soreness in the gums and teeth can be felt within a few hours, and it can last anywhere from three to five days. For some people, they experience this discomfort for at least a week.
Once you have adjusted with the feeling of having braces in your mouth, you will barely notice them. Make sure you always contact your orthodontist whenever you feel any intermittent pain.
22. An Orthodontist’s Advice on Foods You Should Eat with Braces
Braces may be sturdy, but they can still be damaged. Certain foods can ruin your braces. According to Dr Anthony Hopkins, you should stay away from anything sweet and gooey. Some foods can stick into the wires of your braces, which can be incredibly difficult to remove. Plus, you could end up overlooking the particles, which can result in plaque and cavities.
Avoid anything hard, as well. If you have just started wearing braces, choose soft foods that are not sweet.