FAQs about orthodontics
Got a question about orthodontics? Find the answer in our orthodontics FAQ section.
What is orthodontics?
Orthodontics is an arm of dentistry that focuses specifically on correcting teeth and jaw irregularities and improving their function. This usually involves fitting an orthodontic appliance to ensure alignment of the teeth.
What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
All orthodontists are dentists who have embarked on 2 to 3 years of postgraduate study to specialise in orthodontics. Your general dentist will help you to maintain good oral hygiene, carry out fillings etc but will usually refer you to an orthodontist for more substantial work, like the fitting of braces.
How much does orthodontic treatment cost?
This is very dependent on the type of treatment you have. Different types of braces cost different amounts and some patients will need longer treatment than others. You could expect to pay anywhere between $3,000 and $9,500 for orthodontic treatment but you will be able to receive a quote for treatment at a free consultation.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
This is very dependent on the type of treatment you require. Some people may only need six months of treatment, but for most people it can usually take between 1 and 3 years.
Does orthodontic treatment hurt?
Orthodontic treatment doesn’t hurt, although at various stages throughout your treatment you may experience some discomfort. This is usually around the time you have your braces tightened or you are given your next set of aligners. This discomfort can be treated with over-the-counter pain relief, such as paracetamol.
Can children benefit from orthodontics?
Absolutely! In fact, the earlier the better as that way an orthodontist can identify potential problems and plan for treatment. The New Zealand Association of Orthodontics (NZAO) recommends every child has an orthodontic assessment by the age of 9. This may result in them receiving preliminary treatment to avoid orthodontic problems later on, but more often than not it allows for both the child and parents, as well as the orthodontist, to prepare for treatment if need be.
Do I have to wear braces as a teenager?
Not necessarily. Traditional metal braces, also known as train tracks, are certainly an effective treatment option but as orthodontic technology has developed, more and more options are available for the younger patient. This includes Invisalign Teen, a version of the popular Invisalign treatment designed just for teens. It’s virtually invisible and doesn’t interfere with a teen’s lifestyle, yet gives great results.
Do I still have to visit my dentist while receiving treatment?
Yes, we recommend you continue to see your dentist for your regular checkups while receiving orthodontic treatment. This will help to ensure your teeth remain clean and healthy throughout treatment.
Can I clean my teeth while wearing braces?
Yes, and it is very important that you do so. If your teeth are not kept in optimum condition this can affect your treatment. We have a section on brace care which outlines how to keep your teeth and braces clean. It’s easy to do.
I would love to have orthodontic treatment but as an adult I’m too embarrassed to wear braces. Are there any other options?
These days, many of our orthodontists treat more adult patients than children and teens. One of the most popular treatment options is Invisalign, which uses virtually invisible plastic aligners to move your teeth into position. If your orthodontist recommends braces as the best treatment option for you, there are different types that are very discreet so won’t affect your appearance.