Orthodontics (Braces) FAQs
What age should I send my child to an orthodontist?
The most favourable age to assess a child is when your child’s baby teeth begin to fall out. For preventative measures we encourage people to bring their children when they reach the age of 6 or 7. By doing this we find that we can prevent a simple problem developing into a major problem, inevitably resulting in braces or other corrective measures when they become teenagers.
Why straighten crooked teeth?
The reasons vary from person to person, these may include:
- Speech difficulties
- Assist with tooth cleaning
- Avoiding injury to protruding teeth
- To improve the occlusion/bite
What is the process when getting braces?
When you come to us wanting to straighten your teeth. Records are gathered and X-rays and impressions are recorded. After taking all of this into consideration, Dr Nataniel will then tailor a treatment plan to suit your specific case.
Am I too old for treatment?
Put simply, NO. Our patients are all ages. If you want straighter teeth come and talk to us about your options. No referral is necessary and technology has come a long way. If you are worried about wearing braces, don’t be, with products like Invisalign and Clear/ceramic braces nobody will notice you are undergoing treatment.
Is it better to have treatment as a teenager?
Some problems are best managed in earlier years to avoid having long and sometimes expensive treatment later on in life. If you think your child or teenager needs orthodontic treatment, you should have them seen the earlier the better. Prevention is the best medicine.
What happens if I am not treated?
Things don’t generally get better if your teeth are not treated. In the long term it can potentially lead to hygiene problems as cleaning could get difficult which may lead to decay or gingivitis.
How long does treatment last?
Hygiene and difficulty/severity of the initial problem is also dependent on treatment duration.
Are braces comfortable?
For the most part, YES. However when you first get your braces you may find that they are uncomfortable or tight in your mouth. This feeling generally lasts around 48 hours and will feel like you have food stuck between your teeth. Eating soft food and chewing sugarless gum are a great help and take an Aspirin or Panadol if necessary. The teeth will settle down and return to normal. Sometimes when adjustments are made this soreness is repeated but certainly not at every visit – in fact the less adjustments made, the less sore you will be.
What are Elastics?
Your elastics apply a constant force for your teeth to move. Failure to wear your elastics all the time as directed by Dr Nataniel will prolong your treatment time and may affect the final result.
- Elastics are worn in various positions, depending on the direction of movement required for your teeth. Therefore, we will explain to you at the necessary appointment how elastics are to be worn.
- The only time your elastics should be removed is when you clean your teeth. The elastics are then put on the end of your finger to remind you to put them straight back on again, immediately after cleaning. You will find that the elastics tend to break at odd times’ so you will need to carry some wherever you go. To ensure you do not run out of elastics between appointments, ask us for more at your appointment.
- Unless instructed otherwise, your elastics must be changed every second day.
What are Retainers?
Initially worn full time and gradually the wear is reduced to just one night or week.
Can I still play sport with Braces?
Yes, you can still enjoy playing and we will provide you with a mouthguard if you are involved in contact sports to avoid breakages or damage to the braces and your lips and cheeks. You will also be able to play wind musical instruments after a short adjustment period.
Do you have payment plans available?
We offer an extensive range of payment plans. We strive to suit your requirements, however, once the plan has been agreed upon, it is expected that payments be made in accordance with the plan to ensure continuation of treatment.
Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease.
Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into calculus (tartar). If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing periodontal (gum) disease.
Plaque formation and growth is continuous and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids.
Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.
- Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums
- Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth
- Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth
- Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath
Electric toothbrushes are also recommended. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Simply place the bristles of the electric brush on your gums and teeth and allow the brush to do its job, several teeth at a time.
Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
- Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands
- Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion
- Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. If you are using an over-the-counter product for rinsing, it’s a good idea to consult with your dentist or dental hygienist on its appropriateness for you.