FAQs

How old do you have to be to have orthodontic treatment?

All ages can be treated; babies with facial anomalies such as cleft palate to late adulthood can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Modern techniques and materials have allowed many age groups to successfully and happily undertake treatment.

What type of braces do you use?

Hunter Valley Orthodontics uses the most modern braces available. These include ceramic (clear), stainless steel, coloured, lingual (on the inside of the teeth) and Invisalign. For more information see the section on braces

How long will I need to be in braces?

The duration of your treatment varies according to the complexity of the problem. Serious problems can take up to 3 years to complete whilst very simple problems can take less than 6 months. However, the average treatment time is 12-18 months. The orthodontist at your initial examination will give you an estimation of the time we expect you will be in braces.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

This in not a simple question to answer since every person and their problem are unique to them! At your initial examination we will outline all your options and give you a written quotation for any orthodontic treatment we may recommend. Generally the costs of orthodontic treatment are spread out over several years commencing with a deposit and then equal monthly payments. Most health funds are aware of this and spread out their repayments to you also. The written quotation can be used for comparison and will be current for 6 months to facilitate your need for other opinions if you wish to obtain these.

Do you take teeth out?

Orthodontists do not physically remove teeth. Your dentist or oral surgeon will be given a prescription form from our practice indicating the correct teeth that may require removal. All Orthodontic cases are unique and the orthodontist is specially trained to decide whether a patient requires tooth removal prior, during or after orthodontic treatment. The removing of teeth to overcome crowding and problems with the wisdom teeth is sometimes the most ideal solution.

How long do I have to wait after I have teeth out to undergo orthodontic treatment?

With simple tooth removals this can be within 2 weeks, however 3-4 weeks is ideal. For more complicated, surgical removals such as wisdom teeth this may be as longer. In some cases the orthodontist may suggest waiting several months or years to allow additional eruption and natural alignment from the removal of the teeth. Ultimately the orthodontist will indicate the best time to start treatment.

Does orthodontic treatment hurt?

Modern techniques and materials have made orthodontic treatment much less traumatic than the “old train track” days. Placing the braces usually does not cause undue pain, however as they begin to move your teeth they can cause your teeth to feel uncomfortable. A soft diet for the initial few days may be necessary to overcome that feeling, along with simple pain relief medication (eg. paracetamol or ibuprofen)

How fast can I get started with braces?

The earliest you can start having braces fitted is once you have completed the preliminary work from your dentist. Depending on appointments this can be as early as 4-6 weeks from your initial examination appointment.

How often do I get the braces adjusted?

Usually adjustments are scheduled for between 4-8 weeks depending on the wires being used and the stage you are up to in treatment. The process of tooth alignment always needs to be monitored regularly by the orthodontist and the frequency of adjustments may vary.

What can I eat after having braces fitted?

You can commence eating immediately the braces have been placed. It may be advantageous to have something to eat soon after the braces are fitted, since they may become too uncomfortable to fully enjoy your larger evening meals. The general foods to avoid are hard and crunchy foods (eg. pork crackling, muesli nuts) soft sticky (eg.mars bars, minties) and sugary foods and drinks (eg. Cordials and soft drinks) Check out our section on Braces and Diet

What are the retainers and the ‘Invisible Wires” that can be glued to the inside of your teeth to hold them straight?

Retainers are used to maintain your finished result from orthodontic treatment. The older style retainers were made from plastic and were removable. Unfortunately, many previous patients stopped wearing their retainers too early and the teeth started returning to their original position (relapsed). Modern advances in glues and wires has enabled the use of Permanent Fixed Lingual Wires (PFLW) which hold your teeth more ideally than what was achievable with the removable retainers. Hunter Valley Orthodontics is proud to have been amongst the first practices to actively develop and promote the use of PFLW and have many years experience in their use and maintenance.

When do the Permanent Fixed Lingual Wires come off?

Permanent Fixed Lingual Wires (PFLW) are the most modern and efficient way of holding your teeth straight after you have finished with braces. These should remain in place for as long as possible. IN most circumstances this means for life if you wish to retain perfectly aligned teeth. The PFLW is made from special wire with unique properties to resist corrosion. It is inert, non-toxic and may last a lifetime with care and due maintenance. The glues used to hold the wire in place are the latest technology in “white filling” materials and have the strength to also last for many years. Some fractures to the glue may occur over time but these can be repaired easily by our practice or your general dentist (we give a guarantee for the PFLW of 5 years from their fitting). Hence the PFLW does not usually require replacement if simple rules are followed.

Your orthodontist and staff will fully inform you of your options and alternatives for retention throughout your treatment with us and give you their advice on the best method for retaining your perfect smile