Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
A specialist orthodontist must first qualify as a dentist, and then undertakes a three year, full-time post-graduate study in orthodontics. All orthodontists are dentists but about 4% of dentists in NZ are qualified as specialist orthodontists.
An orthodontist must first complete a 5 year dental undergraduate programme at a university dental school. After a few years of clinical practice they apply to study a three year full time orthodontic specialist training programme, which leads to the MDS qualification (Masters of Dental Surgery restricted to orthodontics). This qualification entitles them to be included on the Dental Council of New Zealand as an orthodontic specialist. Once qualified, orthodontists keep up-to-date with the latest techniques by attending regular courses and conferences as part of their Continuing Professional Development.
WHAT IS ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics is the specialty of dentistry focussed on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in alignment of the teeth and jaws.
Orthodontics can improve a person’s self-esteem as the teeth, jaws and lips become properly aligned. Alleviating or preventing physical health problems is just as important. Without treatment, orthodontic problems may lead to tooth decay, gum disease, and bone shrinkage. A “bad bite” can contribute to speech impairments, tooth loss, chipped teeth and other dental injuries.
WHO CAN BENEFIT FROM ORTHODONTICS?
Orthodontics is beneficial to both adults and children.
Orthodontists can improve the smile of practically anyone. In fact, orthodontists regularly treat patients in their 40s, 50’s 60’s and older. Healthy teeth can be straightened at any age.
HOW LONG DOES ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT TAKE?
On average, orthodontic treatment usually takes 20 – 24 months.
Treatment time is affected by the complexity of the case, the age and cooperation of the patient. Complex cases may take longer and simple cases often take less time.
HOW MUCH DOES ORTHODONTIC TREATMENT COST?
No two orthodontic problems are the same.
The cost of treatment will depend on the severity of the problem and the treatment required. The fee will be discussed at your initial consultation. The fee that we quote covers all aspects of your orthodontic treatment.
DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR MY ORTHODONTIC CARE ALL AT ONCE?
We are sensitive to the financial pressures on families today, so for your convenience, we provide a payment plan for your orthodontic care.
An initial deposit is paid when the appliances are fitted, and the balance is paid in monthly installments (usually over 18 months).
DO I NEED A REFERRAL TO SEE AN ORTHODONTIST?
You can arrange a consultation without a referral. Just email email@example.com or call us on (04) 3844960.
DO BRACES HURT?
It is painless to have the braces placed.
Discomfort can occur several hours after placement of the appliances. We recommend a soft diet and pain relief for the first few days. Braces do need to be regularly adjusted, and this will make the teeth feel tender for a few days.
CAN I PLAY CONTACT SPORTS WITH BRACES?
Yes, you can play contact sports BUT….
You must wear a mouthgard that allows room for the braces (e.g. Shock doctor orthodontic mouthguard from Rebel Sports or we can make one for you).
DO I NEED TO HAVE TEETH TAKEN OUT?
We always prefer to treat without the removal of teeth if possible, but, extraction therapy is a necessary part of some orthodontic plans, as some people’s teeth are simply too large for their jaws. Unfortunately misleading TV and newspaper articles sometimes confuse the public by claiming orthodontic extractions ruin facial profiles and damage the jaw joints. There is plenty of good research to the contrary. A recent practice audit indicated that we treat over 70% of our patients without the removal of teeth.
SHOULD I CONTINUE TO SEE MY FAMILY DENTIST WHILE IN BRACES?
It is very important to continue six monthly dental check-ups to prevent and detect dental decay and to monitor your overall dental health.
WILL BRACES INTERFERE WITH PLAYING MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS?
However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers can be provided to prevent discomfort. We have successfully treated trumpeters, flautists, and opera singers.
THE INITIAL EXAMINATION FEES
$160 – 17 years and under with or without an OPG radiographs
$200 – 18 years and over with or without an OPG radiograph
$200 – Second opinion
$100 – OPG x-ray without consultation
*An OPG x-ray is a radiograph of both jaws that shows the structure of erupted (visible) teeth as well as any teeth developing (under the gums).