Orthodontics is the area of dentistry that involves the straightening of teeth, and the monitoring and management of the development of the teeth and jaw bones. Orthodontic treatment is best performed by an orthodontist.

An orthodontist is a specialist dentist who has returned to University (after practicing as a dentist for at least 2 years) to undertake a further 3 years of full-time education to gain a Masters or Doctorate in Orthodontics. An orthodontist is a specialist dentist who is registered as an orthodontist with AHPRA.

The cost of treatment will depend on the severity of the problem and the type of treatment selected. We will provide you with a written quote and payment options prior to commencing treatment.

Yes – we offer an interest free payment plan. This contract can be arranged over a set period of time. Usually an initial deposit is made when treatment commences, then monthly direct debit or credit payments can be made until the contract fee is paid in full. Payment can be made upfront at the start of treatment, if you wish. The treatment fee is reduced for this option because there are no administration fees. Payments can be made by cash, cheque, direct debit card or credit card.

PAYMENT FOR BREAKAGES AND REPAIRS – These may be charged on a per visit basis which is payable at the time of the repair.

RECEIPTS – Receipts are issued upon request.

We recommend that you check with your health fund due to the wide variety of health insurance policies. Health funds will normally pay a portion of the cost of orthodontic treatment for fund members who have the appropriate level of dental insurance. If you have dental health insurance, please contact your fund directly to organize your maximum rebate. At the start of active treatment we will provide a letter for your health fund detailing your treatment fee and repayment plan. Direct payment from a health fund is available for some procedures. If you are planning to join a health fund, we recommend that you carefully review the premiums, conditions and level of rebate before joining. Important questions you should ask your health fund before commencing any treatment include:

  • What is my maximum rebate?
  • What is the maximum benefit I can receive per year?
  • Does this work on a calendar or financial year basis?

Yes a dentist can provide orthodontic treatment, however, they are not specialists in orthodontic treatment. A dentist is obliged to inform you of this. Orthodontists are dental specialists who have undertaken 3 years of additional training so they can provide the ideal treatment for you or your family.

Specialist
Orthodontist
General
Dentist
5 Year full time University Dental training in all areas of general dentistry and including some basic orthodontic training? YES YES
3 years full time University training focused specifically on orthodontics and facial aesthetics? YES NO
Specialises in treatment of tooth alignment problems full time? YES NO
Undertakes mandatory ongoing training in orthodontics and technology? YES NO

Similar questions: Should I straighten my teeth? Do I need braces?

There are many benefits of having straight teeth. A beautiful smile can enhance self-confidence and self-image, which is important at any age. Properly aligned teeth and jaws can facilitate jaw function and contribute to healthier teeth and gums. Crooked teeth and jaws can interfere with jaw function and speech, and lead to long-term dental problems such as tooth wear and gum damage. Orthodontic treatment can fix these problems, and lay the foundation for you or your child’s long-term dental health. If you would like to read more on the benefits of straight teeth, then check out the link to the Australian Society of Orthodontists and American Association of Orthodontists.

Similar questions: What are braces? Can I straighten my teeth without braces?

There are a number of ways to straighten teeth – with or without braces!

  • Braces are often the most precise and effective way to straighten teeth. Braces are small devices that are used to straighten and align the teeth. Braces are individually bonded to your teeth and may be tooth coloured (clear) or metal.
  • Invisalign® is an aesthetic alternative to straighten your teeth without braces.  Invisalign can also be very precise and effective though some types of tooth movement are quite difficult with Invisalign.
  • Lingual braces are another aesthetic alternative. Lingual braces are attached to the inside surface of the teeth and therefore cannot be seen.
  • Removable plates can also be used to straighten teeth though they are not very precise.

Your orthodontist will be able to advise what is most suitable for you or your child.

Most orthodontic problems are best treated at a young age. We recommend that you take your child to see an orthodontist around 8 years of age. This will allow the orthodontist to assess the development of your child and determine the need for treatment.

Treatment does not usually start at this age unless there is a specific problem. If your child is not ready for treatment, the orthodontist can monitor their growth and development to determine the ideal stage of development for treatment. This will help to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of any orthodontic treatment.

Similar questions: Will braces affect my flute-playing? Will braces affect my lifestyle?

Not normally. Despite wearing braces you can still work, talk, sing, play a musical instrument, etc. We have patients who play the flute, trombone, saxophone, oboe etc.

Similar questions: Will braces hurt? Will orthodontic treatment hurt?

Wearing braces is relatively pain free with the modern techniques available. When treatment is commenced some people experience a lot of discomfort. Others experience virtually no discomfort with most people somewhere in the middle. This will last for a few days. After each appointment with the orthodontist the teeth may also feel tender for a few days. During these short periods, soft foods and a mild analgesic may be needed.

Similar questions: Am I too old for braces? How old is too old for braces?

Many people who missed out on having their teeth straightened as a child can still benefit from treatment as an adult. Orthodontic treatment can be done at any age, providing that you have healthy teeth, gums and bones. We have many patients who are adults, including people who had orthodontic treatment as a teenager and their teeth have become crooked again.

Yes and no. The main differences for adults are lack of growth, increased potential for gum problems, and worn, broken or missing teeth. Due to these factors, some adults may need to see other dental specialists as well as an orthodontist for the best treatment.

Orthognathic surgery is used to move the positions of the teeth and the jaws. Orthognathic surgery may be required when the upper and lower jaws are not similar in their positions, for example, if the upper sits back considerably compared to the lower jaw. Orthognathic surgery can be a very rewarding treatment option that a modern orthodontic team can offer. There are two main questions to ask when deciding whether orthodontic treatment is necessary:

  • Are the teeth in the right place?
  • Are the jaws in the right place?

It is relatively easy to see when the teeth are crowded or protruding, but perhaps not so easy to see if the jaws do not match in size or if one jaw is positioned either too far forward or too far back in comparison to the other.

Another common benefit of jaw repositioning is that it can produce a significant improvement in facial appearance.

ORTHODONTIC CAMOUFLAGE – A mild mismatch in jaw position can normally be treated with orthodontic treatment alone. The orthodontic treatment can camouflage the jaw discrepancy. This is very common treatment. However, a significant mismatch in the positions of the jaws may require the correction of the jaws by repositioning them – this can only be done with orthognathic surgery if there is no ability to modify the growth of the jaws. The teeth can then be moved to a better or ideal position.

THE ORAL AND MAXILLOFACIAL SURGEON – A TEAM APPROACH – If it is desirable to reposition both the teeth and the jaws, the orthodontist will work in collaboration with another specialist, an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. These surgeons are usually fully qualified medical practitioners as well as specialist dentists. The oral and maxillofacial surgeon performs an operation for the patient in hospital to reposition either one or both jaws.

TREATMENT – Treatment is divided into three parts. Part 1 is the pre-surgical orthodontic phase. Braces are placed on the teeth to “de-compensate” them. The teeth are straightened and moved to the correct positions in the supporting bone. Normally this takes 12 to 18 months of active tooth movement. You should be aware that by the end of this phase your facial profile and the position of your teeth will likely look worse rather than better. This is deliberate and unavoidable because your orthodontic treatment is designed to undo nature’s attempt to mask the skeletal discrepancy of your jaws, in preparation for the surgical correction. Part 2 is the surgical phase. With the braces still attached to the teeth, you will be admitted to hospital where your oral and maxillofacial surgeon will make the necessary surgical corrections to your jaws. Part 3 is the post-surgical orthodontic phase, which usually lasts about six months, where the final orthodontic positioning of your bite is performed.

Dr Gavin Lenz recently finished working at the Lady Cilento Children’s Hospital, Brisbane in the Cleft and Craniofacial Units treating patients with clefts of the lip and / or palate and other craniofacial anomalies. Dr Lenz has considerable experience and private treatment can be coordinated with other cleft unit team members.

Treatment options for patients with Obstructive Sleep Apnoea and other respiratory and sleep breathing disorders can include dental appliances to improve the airway. Our orthodontists have experience in using some of these appliances.

Did you know that using some appliances to treat OSA can result in permanent changes to the position of the jaws and teeth? Orthodontists are experienced in managing these changes. Seeing an orthodontist to manage your dental appliance for OSA will likely be of benefit for you.

No. You can contact an orthodontist directly for an appointment with no referral required.

Treatment time depends on the original problem. Generally, orthodontic treatment can take between six months and two years.

Retainers are required to hold teeth in their new positions after the braces are removed. Retainers are required to ensure that the teeth do not drift back towards their original position and are worn to allow the gums and bones to adapt to the new positions of the teeth. Ideally, but not always, retainers are worn periodically for life.

Diagnostic records are additional items that are taken which, along with a clinical assessment, enable the orthodontist to diagnose and determine treatment options. Diagnostic records may include x-rays of the jaws and teeth, photographs of the face, mouth and teeth, and impressions of the teeth that are made into study models. Occasionally other records are taken, such as video of the face and teeth and other x-rays or scans of the jaws.

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  1. Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle towards the gumline. Use gentle circular motions moving the brush against the teeth and gums.
  2. Brush the inside surface of each tooth in the same way.
  3. Brush the biting surface of each tooth.
  4. Don’t forget to brush your tongue
  1. Take about 40 cms of floss, wrap most of it around each middle finger (wrapping more around one finger than the other, leaving 5 cms of floss in between your fingers.
  2. With the thumbs and index gingers holding the floss, gently slide it down between your teeth. Careful not to force it down on the gums.
  3. Move the floss up and down the sides of each tooth, including under the gumline. Unroll a new section of floss while moving from tooth.

Disclosing tablets are a great diagnostic tool to help you visually see the areas in your mouth that you are missing with your tooth brush.

  1. Brush and floss your teeth as you would normally, rinsing and spitting out the excess toothpaste.
  2. Remove pink/purple disclosing tablet from packet.
  3. Place the disclosing tablet into your mouth and chew until dissolved.
  4. Whilst moving closer to the mirror, open your mouth. If you need, use your fingers to pull your lips and cheeks out of the way so you can see your teeth clearly.
  5. Depending on what colour disclosing tablet you used, the areas on your teeth that show a pink/purple stain are the areas you are missing with your toothbrush.
  6. Repeat the brushing process, concentrating on the areas most effected by the disclosing tablets until the pink/purple colour has been removed.
  7. Then repeat this process in a week and continue doing this weekly until virtually no pink / purple stain shows up after using the disclosing tablet.  Once you get to this situation congratulations.  You are cleaning your teeth perfectly!