What is orthodontics?
- Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry involving straightening teeth and correcting bite problems. The most common orthodontic treatment is braces, however, there are other treatments available including Invisalign and removable plates.
What is an orthodontist?
- An orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has completed an additional three years of training at university in order to specialise in straightening teeth and correcting bite problems. As qualified dentists, orthodontists also know all about how to care for your teeth.
- Becoming an orthodontist involves first completing a degree in dentistry which involves five years of full-time study, followed by a masters or doctorate degree in orthodontics which requires another three years of full-time study.
- Although some general dentists carry out orthodontic treatment, a specialist orthodontist is more highly qualified with years of additional training and experience, as a result they are far more capable of completing the treatment to the highest standards. The medical specialist analogy is commonly used; e.g. for treatment of heart disease you would be better to see a specialist cardiologist rather than your family doctor.
- Orthodontists are registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand, and in order to remain on the register they must keep up to date with the latest developments in the profession by completing regular continuing education. To get the best orthodontic treatment it is essential to see a specialist orthodontist.
Why should I see an orthodontist?
- If you are concerned about the position of your child’s teeth, or their bite, it’s best to get it checked early as some problems are best treated in younger children or while growing rapidly.
- As an adult you should see an orthodontist if you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, or if there is a problem with your bite.
- Whatever your concerns please feel free to contact us, we are happy to discuss them with you and advise whether an appointment with one of our orthodontists is appropriate.
What is the ideal age?
- We like to first see children when they are 8 to 10 years old so that their treatment plan can be optimally timed.
- Treatment usually starts around 11 to 13 years old when all of the permanent teeth are through and the child is growing quickly. However, some problems are best treated earlier.
- For adults there really is no age limit to achieve the benefits of orthodontic treatment.
Why should I choose Kirsty or Andrew as my Orthodontist?
- Kirsty and Andrew are registered specialist orthodontists. Following a five year dental degree they have both gone on to complete three years of full-time specialist training in orthodontics at Otago University, resulting in orthodontic masters degrees as well as fellowships from the Royal College of Surgeons in Edinburgh. They have a wealth of knowledge and experience in the orthodontic field after many years of working in thriving orthodontic specialist practices. Via ongoing orthodontic education they continually keep up-to-date and embrace the latest in orthodontic technology.
- Kirsty and Andrew treat each and every patient with the utmost of care and respect, providing the highest quality of treatment with a friendly, personal approach.
What are the costs of orthodontic treatment? Can I spread out the payments?
Do I need a referral from a Dentist or School Dental Therapist?
- Many patients are referred to our practice by their dentist or school dental therapist; however, you may make an appointment without a referral. If you are unsure or have any queries please feel free to contact us. Our friendly reception staff are always available to answer any queries.
What does treatment involve? And who will I see at each appointment?
- As each patient is unique, at the first appointment Kirsty or Andrew will discuss with you any concerns regarding your teeth, treatment options and what may be required. They may also take x-rays, photographs and moulds of your teeth at this first appointment.
- Precisely what treatment will involve depends on which treatment option is best suited to you. We will fully discuss your treatment options, what is involved step-by-step and any queries you may have at your initial visits.
- For most appointments you will see Kirsty or Andrew but we have very competent orthodontic auxiliaries and assistants available also. At times you may only need to see one of them.
- For more information on treatment please view our ‘What To Expect’ page for a step-by-step treatment guide.
How long does orthodontic treatment take? How often do I have to attend during treatment?
- The treatment duration can vary substantially depending on the complexity of treatment. Kirsty or Andrew will give you an estimated treatment time when they discuss treatment options with you. Orthodontic treatment to straighten all of the teeth and achieve a good bite takes approximately 18 to 24 months on average.
- Most patients with braces only need to be seen every 6–8 weeks, and Invisalign patients less frequently, every 8-12 weeks. Many of our patients travel to see us from Napier, Central Hawke’s Bay, Taupo and Gisborne.
Is orthodontic treatment painful?
- The fitting of braces does not hurt, however it is very common to feel discomfort and pressure on your teeth for a few days afterwards, just until you adjust to your new braces. We recommend taking pain relief for 2-3 days after having braces fitted
- Invisalign is generally slightly more comfortable than braces.
Can I still play sport when I have braces?
- Yes you can. We do recommend you wear an orthodontic mouth-guard for contact sport and have these available for purchase at the practice.
Do braces require special care? And what can I eat?
- Excellent oral hygiene routines are always important but even more so when you have braces as you are more likely to get tooth decay around braces.
- Eating sugary foods and drinks should be kept to a minmum to prevent decay.
- Hard, crunchy, sticky foods should be avoided as they will damage the braces.
- An advantage of Invisalign over braces is that the aligners are removable so you can clean your teeth and eat as normal.
- You can also download the Colgate oral care booklet.
Do I still need to visit my dentist while having orthodontic treatment?
- Yes, it is very important that you visit your dentist for routine dental check-ups while having orthodontic treatment.
- We require all patients to have a full check-up with their dentist or school dental therapist prior to braces being fitted.
What should I do if I have problems with my braces?
- If you have any breakages, discomfort or queries during you treatment please do not hesitate to contact us.
- Occasionally a wire will feel uncomfortable or a bracket will break off your tooth. If this happens and it is uncomfortable, just snip off the wire or apply some wax to make yourself comfortable, then contact us for an appointment.