Frequently asked questions
Choosing to start orthodontic treatment is a big decision, and we want to make sure your decision is an informed one. Here are the answers to commonly asked questions about orthodontic treatment so you can feel reassured and excited about your treatment journey with us.
Any age is suitable to seek orthodontic treatment; however, the optimal time for us to see your child is around the age of 8 years old. If there are obvious signs of orthodontic issues such as crowding or a crossbite, your child should be seen sooner.
It is never too late to start orthodontic treatment! Braces and clear aligners are suitable treatment options for most adults. Please visit our treatment options page to find out more about these treatments.
Every patient is unique, and so is their treatment plan! The cost of your treatment will vary greatly depending on your specific needs and goals, as well as the treatment you choose. To obtain a quote for orthodontic treatment, please phone our office to arrange a consultation. Most treatment options have interest-free payment plans available.
Invisalign® treatment time depends on the number of aligners required to complete treatment, and how long each aligner is worn for. Your Invisalign® treatment plan will be custom made for your unique goals and needs. Usually patients wear each set of aligners for a period of two weeks. With the use of AcceleDent, the time each aligner is worn can be cut in half.
After brushing your teeth in the morning and at night, brush your Invisalign® clear aligners with your toothbrush and toothpaste, then rinse with lukewarm water. You should avoid the use of hot water as it can warp or damage your aligners. You will need to brush your teeth after each meal, and prior to re-inserting your aligners, to maintain proper oral hygiene.
We discourage smoking while wearing aligners because it is possible for the aligners to become discoloured.
Like all orthodontic treatments, aligners may temporarily affect the speech of some people, and you may have a slight lisp for a day or two. As your tongue gets used to your Invisalign® clear aligners, these impediments should disappear.
If you lose your aligners, or have trouble wearing a new set, switch back to your most recent previous set of aligners and contact our practice as soon as possible. If you are due to change aligners soon, you may move on to your next set of aligners.
If any piece of your braces breaks or comes loose, or if you are having problems with long wires poking the inside of your mouth, please contact our practice as soon as possible. We may not need to see you immediately; however, the sooner the problem can be fixed, the better.
Elastics are tiny rubber bands that are stretched between your upper and lower braces and exert gentle force to move teeth in the desired direction. Elastics are attached to small hooks on the wire or brackets of your braces. The more elastics are worn, the faster your braces treatment will progress.
No, you do not need a referral to see us.
Orthodontic treatment shouldn’t hurt you. You may experience some discomfort after fitting or tightening appointments with braces. Your mouth will not be accustomed to the forces being applied and will feel ‘tight’. This discomfort will usually last no more than three days, and can be relieved with paracetamol or ibuprofen and by eating soft foods. For clear aligners and functional appliances, there is generally very little to no discomfort as your mouth adjusts to the treatment. You may not need to use medications at all.
Invisalign® treatment straightens your teeth using a series of clear plastic trays known as ‘aligners’ that are customised to your unique smile. As patients replace their aligners every two weeks (or as specified by their Specialist Orthodontist) their teeth are moved gradually into the desired position. Invisalign® clear aligners are conveniently removable for eating meals, brushing and flossing, or attending important events. Furthermore, the clear material of the aligners is extremely discreet, so no one else will need to know you are undergoing orthodontic treatment.
To achieve the best results from your Invisalign® treatment, we recommend that you wear your Invisalign® clear aligners for at least 22 hours a day. This means you should wear your aligners at all times unless you are eating, drinking, brushing or flossing.
Because Invisalign® clear aligners are removable, you won’t have to adjust your diet during treatment. You can leave your aligners in to drink water, but if you would like to drink coloured beverages, chew gum or eat food, you should remove your aligner trays. Leaving your aligners in while drinking beverages other than water may stain them and risk tooth decay by trapping sugars against your teeth.
While there will be some initial discomfort after each aligner is fitted, you should not experience pain from Invisalign® treatment. Invisalign® clear aligners exert gentle pressure to move your teeth into position, so your teeth will need a little time to adjust to this new sensation. Any discomfort you experience should ease after a maximum of three days. Ibuprofen or paracetamol should provide sufficient relief during this time.
When you remove your Invisalign® clear aligners, we recommend you store them in the provided aligner cases. This will help protect your aligners from loss and damage. Designate the blue aligner case for your current-stage aligners. When it is time to advance to your next stage, transfer the previous aligners to the red case. Always keep the most recently used aligners in this case. A simple way to remember this process is ‘BLUE NEW, RED DEAD’.
Note: Keep past aligners in a clean plastic bag, out of reach from children and pets.
Each person is different, so the length of treatment time will vary. Generally braces are worn for approximately 12 to 24 months. Good cleaning around braces and gums prevents cavities and keeps gums healthy, assisting tooth movement. Breakages can extend treatment time, so dutiful cooperation and cleaning can reduce treatment time by 2-3 months.
You can still eat most of your favourite foods during braces treatment. When eating fresh fruits, vegetables and meats (especially steak), you should cut the food into small, bite-sized pieces and try to chew with your back teeth. Do not bite directly into apples, carrots, corn on the cob, etc. because these hard foods can cause the brackets to break away from the teeth. For the health of your braces, it’s also best to avoid nuts, popcorn, ice and boiled lollies. Do not eat sticky or chewy foods such as caramels, toffees, chewing/bubble gum and minties. These foods can cause unnecessary breakages and become lodged between the wires. It is also important not to chew on pens, pencils, etc. as extra bends in the wires can result, causing teeth to move in unwanted directions.
Elastics must be worn at all times except for when you clean your teeth. You should wear them all night while sleeping, as well as during the day. The more you wear your elastics, the faster your progress will be, so we recommend trying to eat with your elastics on as well.
New elastics should be put on every morning and night after brushing your teeth. If one of the elastics breaks during the day, remove the other side and replace with two new elastics to keep the forces the same. Spare elastics must be kept with you at all times so that broken elastics can be replaced immediately, and the correct forces to align and co-ordinate teeth can be maintained. You should wear your elastics to your appointments so that we can ensure you are wearing them in the correct manner.
Yes, it is still important to have routine check-ups with your dentist to ensure no cavities are present, and to keep your teeth clean and polished. It is best to go in for a routine cleaning every 6 months or so as advised by your dentist.