What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a part of dentistry involving specialised skills in diagnoses, interception and treatment of dental and facial abnormalities.  Orthodontic treatment involves straightening teeth, correcting malaligned jaws, improving the function of your bite, and creating a pleasing smile.

What is an Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist is a dentist who has become a registered specialist in orthodontics (in much the same way that a cardiologist is a doctor who has become a specialist in heart problems).  They are the most qualified person to diagnose, prevent and manage problems with the alignment of teeth and jaws.  In Australia, to be considered an Orthodontist, a professional must be registered as a Specialist in Orthodontics by the Federal Dental Board (AHPRA).

Do I need a referral to see an Orthodontist?

No referral is required! Anyone can have a consultation with an Orthodontist without a referral.  We may ask you to have a general dental exam prior to having orthodontic treatment and if you don’t already have a dentist we can suggest one in your local area.

Do braces hurt?

After braces are initially placed and after some adjustment appointments there may be some tenderness of your teeth.  This will usually last no more than a few days.  Soft foods and mild analgesics may be needed.  Also we supply wax to place over your appliances to prevent any irritation of your checks and gums.

Can I play contact sport with braces?

Yes you can however a mouthguard should be warn to protect your teeth.

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

As every patient has different needs and everyone’s teeth move at different speeds this can be difficult to predict.  However an average case will take somewhere between 18-24 months with braces.  In some circumstances this time may be shorter, and if extra appliances such as expanders or jaw correctors are needed the time may be longer.  The main cause for orthodontic treatment taking longer than average is there is little or no patient compliance with the instructions provided by the Orthodontist.  E.g. not wearing elastics, not attending appointments, poor oral hygiene.

Retention is also an important part of overall treatment and will continue for at least 12 months after active orthodontic treatment has concluded.

Should I still visit my general dentist when I have braces on?

Yes!  This is very important to prevent and detect dental decay and to make sure your oral hygiene is the best it can be.

How do I take care of my braces or appliance?

A complete explanation of how to care for your appliances, how to maintain oral hygiene, and what to and not to eat with braces will be given when they are placed.  If you have forgotten or lost the information please visit our patient resources section.

Does my orthodontic treatment need to be paid for all at once?

We understand the financial strain associated with orthodontic treatment and have devised several options to make it achievable to all people.  Most people pay an initial deposit at the time the appliances are placed followed by monthly installments.  For a full list of options visit our section on cost and finance.

How much will orthodontic treatment cost?

All orthodontic problems have different levels of difficulty and therefore different costs involved.  Some problems may have a very simple solution keeping the cost much lower than what may be expected.  In all cases there are no hidden costs.  Your treatment quote is inclusive of all appointments and appliances required.

Do I need private health insurance?

Some insurance companies offer rebates for orthodontic treatment in return for annual premiums.  The decision to take out private health insurance should be one based on what is best for you and your family.  If you are considering taking out private health insurance for orthodontics please check the level of cover required, premiums involves, waiting periods before you can make a claim and other conditions.  Please note that a private health insurance contract is between yourself and your provider and does not involve the Orthodontist or Orthodontic practice.

What is the best age to visit an Orthodontist?

If you are hoping to improve your smile people of any age can visit an Orthodontist.  For growing children to prevent problems from arising or to intercept developing problems The Australian Society of Orthodontists and American Association of Orthodontists recommend children first visit an Orthodontist around the age of 7.  There is also a range of aesthetic treatment options for adult patients.

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Orthodontic appliances apply gentle pressure to move teeth into their correct position.  With braces the main components are the bracket which is glued to the tooth and an archwire running in between them.  When an archwire is placed into the brackets it tries to return to its original shape and as it does this applies the pressure needed to gently move your teeth.

Will I need teeth removed?

Our preference at Cairns Specialist Orthodontists is not to remove adult teeth.  Your Orthodontist will only ever request teeth to be taken out if it is absolutely necessary.  When it is needed it will increase stability, appearance and overall function of your result.  This will be discussed at the initial consultation appointment.

Will my speech be affected during orthodontic treatment?

Most orthodontic appliances are placed on the outside of your teeth and therefore do not interfere with speech.  Some appliances such as expanders are on the inside of your teeth and take a little getting used to.  However talking more will train your tongue to positon itself in the correct position during talking without affecting your speech.