Orthodontists are the dentists who focus on the practice of orthodontics.
Years ago, orthodontic treatments were used only for pre-teens and teens having problems with their bite (malocclusion). Today, orthodontic treatments like dental braces are not only for pre-teens and teens, but for adults as well.
Today’s orthodontics involves repositioning of the teeth and underlying roots, providing better support for the crown of the tooth. Orthodontic treatment is now associated with the benefits of greater esthetic appeal, increased comfort and reduced treatment time.
Orthodontic treatment can also rejuvenate your facial appearance by reshaping the jaw, neck and lips, especially when combined with maxillofacial surgical procedures. In addition, well-aligned teeth make oral hygiene easier to maintain.
An Orthodontic Treatment involves
The Australian Society of Orthodontists says that an orthodontic treatment involves the following stages:
The first consultation
During this visit the patient is examined clinically. This enables the orthodontist to give advice on the treatment options available, when treatment should commence, the duration of treatment, and the approximate cost.
If the patient decides to proceed with treatment, an appointment is made to collect records.
Plaster models of the teeth.
Photographs of the teeth and face.
X-rays of the teeth and jaws.
Records allow the orthodontist to analyse each case accurately. They are also used to record the existing malocclusion for future reference.
At this visit the orthodontist discusses the treatment plan(s) which have been formulated using information obtained from the first consultation and records.
Then, arrangements are made to commence treatment or, if it is too early, to review the patient periodically until it is an appropriate time to commence treatment.
Extractions and other preliminary procedures
Sometimes it is necessary to remove teeth to gain sufficient space to align the remaining teeth.
Any decayed teeth should be filled and the teeth sometimes need to be cleaned before orthodontic treatment is started.
The patient is referred back to the family dentist to have these preliminary procedures carried out. The cost of these procedures is not included in the orthodontic fee.
Braces are the most efficient and accurate way of moving teeth.
See how braces work.
Braces (bands, brackets and wires) are usually made of stainless steel although clear brackets are available, usually at extra cost.
Fitting the braces usually involves two visits. Braces remain on the teeth for the entire duration of treatment.
Patients then attend approximately every 4-8 weeks for adjustments, wire changes, etc.
Rubber Bands and Headgear
During treatment, patients may need to wear such items as rubber bands and/or headgear with their braces. These items provide important extra forces for the correction of the bite.
Orthodontic treatment usually takes 18 – 24 months. Some cases may be finished earlier and others may take longer to complete. The total treatment time depends on the severity of the original malocclusion, the type of treatment carried out, and the co-operation of the patient.
Orthodontic patients should continue to attend their family dentist for regular check-ups during the course of orthodontic treatment.
At the completion of the active part of orthodontic treatment, the braces are removed and retaining appliances (retainers) are fitted to hold the teeth steady in their new position. These appliances may be removable plates or wires fitted behind the teeth.
Retainers play an important role in orthodontic treatment for, if they are not worn according to instructions, the teeth may move back towards their original position.
The retaining appliances are usually worn:
Full-time for up to one year.
Just at night for a further year.
Phased out altogether over one more years.
The corrected teeth are observed periodically for up to five years after the retainers have been phased out. During retention and the subsequent observation period, patients are expected to attend once or twice a year.
How much for an orthodontic treatment in Sydney?
In Australia, the fee for orthodontic treatment involving upper and lower braces varies from $4500 to $8000 or more.
Should treatment involve braces in only one arch, the fee is considerably less.
This fee usually covers the entire treatment including fitting of braces, periodic adjustments, removal of the braces, and the retention and observation periods thereafter.
The fee usually does not cover such items as the consultation, records, or other preparatory steps prior to the fitting of braces.
Your orthodontist will discuss the fee with you before treatment is commenced.
Do Health Funds cover orthodontics?
Certain Health Fund schemes offer a limited rebate on fees paid for orthodontic treatment. Conditions apply.
The rebate depends on your type of health cover and on how long you have been in the Health Fund.
You should discuss the rebate with your Health Fund before making a start with orthodontic treatment.
Who is an orthodontist in Australia?
An orthodontist in Australia must:
Complete a five-year, full-time Bachelor degree in Dentistry.
Complete a three-year, full-time Masters degree in Orthodontics.
Be registered as a Specialist in Orthodontics by a State Dental Board.
Do you know an orthodontist that you would like to recommend to the Sydney Women Community?