Frequently Asked Questions Melbourne

Get the answers you’ve been looking for at Straight Orthodontics.

An Orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has undertaken additional university education to become accredited to perform orthodontic treatment.

This training can last up to three years, and allows an Orthodontist to diagnose, prevent and treat dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists are also specialists who limit their practices to orthodontics and dento-facial orthopaedics.

Treatment length differs depending on each patient and their unique needs.

The treatment time may also depend on how each patient’s teeth and soft tissue respond to the movement, as well as the patient’s cooperation and dedication to following the advice given by the orthodontist. Generally, the length of comprehensive orthodontic treatment ranges between 12 to 24 months.

Advanced technology allows us to be able to extend intervals between appointments. Active super elastic wires with shape memory allow the teeth to move even faster, which means less appointments! The number of necessary appointments will vary from case to case, but your orthodontist will discuss this with you during your consultation.

You can use either a manual or electric toothbrush if you have braces – this is up to you. It is important that you make use of an interdental brush to effectively clean in between your wires.

In general, you should visit your dentist every 6 months, although, we suggest increasing the frequency to every 4 months when you have braces. You can also have a chat with your dentist about this and ask how often he/she wishes to see you when you have braces to ensure the best care possible.

Yes, in fact, you should. An oral hygienist plays a key role in maintaining your oral health when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Visiting your oral hygienist will help to prevent cavities that may occur when you are wearing braces.

Ideally your child should have their very first orthodontic visit at around 7 years of age. At this point, their mouth has developed sufficiently to identify orthodontic issues, whilst it’s still early enough to begin correcting any orthodontic issues effectively. At this young age, the teeth and bones are easier to manipulate to effectively correct crooked teeth or a misaligned bite.

Bite problems arise when the jaws do not align properly.

Some signs to look out for are:

  • Teeth that do not meet properly when closing the mouth
  • Sounds or shifting of the jaws as they are moved
  • Protruding teeth
  • Crowded teeth
  • Teeth growing awkwardly and out of position
  • Less obvious signs include mouth breathing, speech impediments, and accidental biting of the cheek often.

Yes, they can! Known as Phase 1, this form of orthodontic treatment begins when your child still has most of their baby teeth (around 7 or 8 years old) and can help make orthodontic problems more manageable in the future. Phase 1 can help treat skeletal dysplasia, crossbites, making room for teeth and preventing crowding, as well as influencing proper jaw growth. This treatment can help reduce the need for tooth extraction and can shorten the treatment time for braces later on.

Phase 1 involves beginning treatment when your child still has most of their baby teeth whilst Phase 2 treatment begins when they are a little older and most (or all) of their permanent teeth have grown. This phase of the treatment involves the use of common orthodontic appliances such as braces and is designed to complete the tooth and jaw alignment started in Phase 1.  Depending on the severity of your child’s dental issues, they may or may not need Phase 2 treatment.

You should aim to brush your teeth 2-4 times a day when you have braces. Try brush your teeth after every meal to ensure that you are preventing plaque build-up.

When you have braces, brushing is relatively similar to your regular routine. Brush your teeth for approximately two minutes at a time.

Yes. There is a particular type of dental floss that you can use to make flossing your teeth with braces a seamless and easy process. Ask our team what products can help you with your flossing.

Indeed, they can! Contrary to what many people believe, braces are not just for kids. Teens and adults can also wear braces. For those who have severe issues when it comes to the alignment of their teeth, braces are often the best option when it comes to correcting this. If you are concerned about the visibility of your braces, you can opt for lingual braces which are placed on the inside of your teeth.

Cleaning lingual braces can be a little tricky, but after some time, you will get the hang of it! You should take extra care to clean the inside of your teeth and a smaller, electric head toothbrush may make this easier for you. Special dental floss can also be used to floss your teeth with lingual braces or you may opt for water flossing. You should also use an interdental brush to clean between your braces.

Those who wear lingual braces will need to book appointments with their orthodontist on a fairly regular basis. Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s needs. Most patients wearing lingual braces are seen every 5 to 10 weeks. Speak to your orthodontist to determine how often they will need to see you to monitor your individual case.

Yes. Thumb sucking can lead to a variety of issues such as an open bite. If your child is in the habit of thumb sucking, it is in their best interest for you to step in to try and break this bad habit for the sake of their teeth.

There are a variety of ways in which an orthodontist may correct malocclusion. This ranges from orthodontic elastics to headgear. In extreme cases, surgery may be required.

This is a highly individual matter and differs greatly from patient to patient. The time in which it takes to correct your bite is dependent on the severity of the malocclusion as well as whether or not it is coupled with any other issues. Treatment can range from anywhere between a few months to a few years.

Hard foods such as peanut brittle and hard, thick bread crusts should be avoided. These foods can break your braces. Instead, try eating softer foods that will be gentle on your braces. You should also avoid sticky foods such as toffees and chewing gum.

When in doubt, soft food should be your “go-to” selection. Pasta, yoghurt and sandwiches are all good options. Hard foods that you need to bite into such as apples and raw carrots should be cut into smaller pieces.

If you find yourself in the situation of your braces breaking, don’t panic! Simply contact your orthodontist to schedule the soonest appointment so it can be repaired. Try not to fiddle with your broken braces in the interim and take extra care to not cause any further breakage before you see your orthodontist!

Unfortunately, Invisalign cannot fix all problems. Invisalign is a great adjustment method for those who experience mild to moderate overcrowding and spacing issues.

If your orthodontist determines that Invisalign is not a good option for you, don’t lose hope! There are other types of orthodontic treatments which are less visible than traditional braces such as ceramic braces which are made to be the same colour as your teeth or lingual braces which are placed on the inside of your teeth.

This varies from patient to patient and is dependent on the extent of the work that needs to be done to shift your teeth into their ideal positions. For some patients, treatment may be as little as two months, for others it can be a few months to a year. Your orthodontist will be able to give you a good estimate of this after an initial assessment.

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