Frequently asked questions

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. 

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist who has completed an advanced education programme following dental school to learn the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development. 

What are some possible benefits of orthodontics?

  • A more attractive smile
  • Promotes self-esteem during critical development years
  • Better function of the teeth
  • Possible increase in self-confidence
  • Increased ability to clean the teeth
  • Improved force distribution and wear patterns of the teeth
  • Better long term health of teeth and gums
  • Guides permanent teeth into more favourable positions
  • Reduced risk of injury to protruded front teeth
  • Aids in optimising other dental treatment 

What are some signs that braces may be needed?

  • Upper front teeth protrude excessively over the lower teeth, or are bucked
  • Upper front teeth cover the majority of the lower teeth when biting together (deep bite)
  • Upper front teeth are behind or inside the lower front teeth (underbite)
  • The upper and lower front teeth do not touch when biting together (open bite)
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • The centre of the upper and lower teeth do not line up
  • Finger or thumb sucking habits which continue after six or seven years old
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Teeth wearing unevenly or excessively
  • The lower jaw shifts to one side or the other when biting together
  • Spaces between the teeth 

At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?

Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. It is recommended that every child first visit an orthodontist by age 8, if a problem is detected by parents or the family dentist. 

Can an adult benefit from orthodontics?

Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. A significant proportion of patients at Pymble Orthodontics are adults and therefore we specialise in aesthetic orthodontic treatment. 

How does orthodontic treatment work?

Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the archwire that connects them are the main components. When the archwire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions. 

How long does orthodontic treatment take?

Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one-and-a-half to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping treatment time on schedule. 

Do braces hurt?

The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the archwires you may feel some tenderness for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth. 

Will braces interfere with playing sports?

No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouthguard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouthguards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colours and patterns. 

Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?

No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment.

Should I see my general dentist while wearing braces?

Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleans and dental checkups.

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