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What is a specialist orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of problems associated with the alignment of the teeth and jaws. As specialists, orthodontists are required to complete an additional 3 years of full-time advanced training in orthodontics beyond their dental degree. Only specialist orthodontists have completed this additional 3 years of advanced study. Dr Kaplan completed her 3-year Masters of Science Degree in Orthodontics at Saint Louis University in Missouri, USA.

At what age should I take my child to see an orthodontist?

Although a smile can be improved at any age, there is an optimal time to start treatment. The Australian Society of Orthodontics recommends an initial screening at the first sign of orthodontic problems or around age 7. At this time, the permanent front teeth are erupting and the bite is being established. This makes it the ideal time to evaluate if a problem exists and if early treatment is required. Although orthodontic treatment may not be necessary at this time, careful monitoring can help to identify the appropriate time to begin treatment.

What are the advantages of early orthodontic evaluation for children?

Some orthodontic problems are most effectively treated if detected early. Early treatment can often prevent more serious problems from developing or make treatment at a later age shorter and less complicated. If early treatment is not needed, the patient’s growth and development can be carefully followed until the time is right for treatment to begin. This is typically when all the permanent teeth have erupted.

How can my child benefit from early orthodontic treatment?

Certain problems can be most effectively treated early including::

  • Creating more space for crowded, erupting teeth

  • Guiding jaw growth to improve facial symmetry

  • Decreasing the risk of injury to protruding front teeth

  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth

  • Correcting thumb sucking habits and help improve minor speech problems

  • Improving appearance and self-esteem

  • Reducing treatment time with braces

Do adults, even older adults, seek orthodontic treatment?

You might be surprised to learn that approximately 1 in 5 orthodontic patients are adults. It is never too late to improve your smile. Orthodontic treatment can greatly enhance your appearance and self-confidence. It can also improve the health of your teeth and gums. A bad bite (also known as a malocclusion) can contribute to gum and bone loss, tooth decay, and abnormal tooth wear. 

Why should malocclusions be treated?

Orthodontic treatment not only creates a great smile, but also contributes to the health and function of your teeth. A range of problems result from untreated malocclusions. Crowded and overlapping teeth are more difficult to keep clean, and inadequate cleaning is a major contributing factor to tooth decay and gum disease. Protruding teeth are more susceptible to damage such as fractures and chipping. Malocclusions can also lead to uneven tooth wear, jaw joint problems, unfavourable jaw growth, and minor speech impediments.

What are the options for orthodontic treatment?

There are various options available to suit the individual lifestyle and needs of each patient including: 

How long does it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time will vary depending on the individual patient. Treatment time depends on the severity of the problem, the patient’s age, and the degree of tooth movement required. In general, treatment times range from 12 to 30 months, with the average time being approximately 22 months.

Is orthodontic treatment going to hurt?

Generally speaking, orthodontic treatment is not painful. Initially, braces may cause minor discomfort such as tooth soreness or tenderness, which can be relieved by over-the-counter analgesics such as Panadol or Neurofen. However, most of the time patients experience little or no discomfort.

Is orthodontic treatment costly?

The cost of orthodontic treatment varies according to the complexity and duration of the treatment. We will cover costs and payment options during the initial consultation, and are happy to address any questions you may have at this time. It should also be noted that certain Health Fund schemes offer rebates for orthodontic treatment.

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