Choosing to undergo orthodontic treatment to enhance your smile is an exciting journey.
However, we know that many of our patients have lots of questions that need to be answered. Below you will find a list of frequently asked questions so that you can be armed with knowledge before your first appointment.
If you have a question that isn’t listed below, don’t hesitate to contact us and one of our highly trained professionals will be able to help you.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialised avenue of dentistry that is dedicated to straightening teeth and correcting jaw disharmonies. An orthodontist is a registered specialist who diagnoses, prevents and treats problems of alignment or development of your teeth and jaws. An orthodontist is a dentist who has undertaken a three year full time postgraduate training program, which includes clinical, academic and research thesis components, to obtain a masters degree in orthodontics. The Dental Board of NSW recognises as specialists those dentists who have this masters degree and who limit their practice exclusively to orthodontics.
What are the benefits of orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontic treatment has a number of benefits, such as:
- Straighter, better positioned teeth
- A more attractive smile
- Better oral health because of easier to clean teeth, leading to better long term health of the teeth and gums
- Less tooth wear
- Improved jaw alignment, making chewing and speaking easier
- Improving tooth position prior to implants or bridges
Optimisation for other dental treatment procedures
What is the best age to see you for an initial consultation?
By 7 or 8 years of age, the blueprint for the face has been established. Some problems are more successfully treated at a young age and it can mean the treatment is cheaper and simpler. Some problems are best left until the person is older when growth and development has completed. A consultation can help determine the nature and severity of the problem, and importantly the timing of treatment. It is common to be assessed at 8 or 9 years of age.
Can adults have orthodontic treatment?
Age is no barrier to orthodontic treatment! There are now invisible methods of orthodontic treatment available, meaning a larger number adults are seeking comprehensive treatment. These include tooth coloured braces which are less visible than the standard stainless steel version, or invisible clear plastic aligners.
Adult treatment can range from simply cosmetic, to more complex problems that have accumulated over a lifetime. Either way, we can provide you with a beautiful new smile. Problems may include tooth wear, tooth decay or tooth loss, gum problems, bite discrepancies, growth abnormalities, facial asymmetry, muscle aches, and jaw joint problems.
Often adult treatment requires our orthodontist to co-ordinate treatment with your own dentist, or other specialists, to obtain the optimum aesthetic, functional and stable treatment result.
Does your practice offer Invisalign clear aligner plates?
Dr Coombe is Invisalign accredited and has been using clear aligner plates for many years, particularly on our adult patients. Please see our Invisalign page for further information.
Do I need a referral?
You do not need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist. All you need to do is contact us to arrange a suitable appointment for your initial consultation. If however, you do have a referral, we will work in conjunction with your dentist to provide you with the best possible treatment.
Will I need to have x-rays taken?
When you initially contact us to arrange your consultation, we will send you a referral to have radiographs taken prior to your visit. Your general dentist may also have given you a referral for x-rays if you have been referred to us.
What will happen at my first visit?
We believe that the first time you visit us with your orthodontic concerns is very important. Your initial 30 minute appointment will consist of a thorough examination and a discussion of potential treatment options. A full dental and orthodontic history is taken and a complete clinical examination is carried out. We will also view the x-rays which had been taken prior to your appointment.
Following your consultation and examination, we will provide an assessment of your concerns, with the treatment options that will give you the best possible result. The cost of the treatment will also be discussed at this time. We will also talk about whether or not this is the best time to begin treatment, or if further growth and development is needed.
A written report will then be sent to both yourself and your general dentist to summarise the orthodontic problems and the treatment recommended. A letter explaining the financial details, item numbers and payment procedures will accompany the report.
How much will orthodontic treatment cost?
We aim to provide quality treatment using the latest techniques and the best materials available, at a fair and reasonable fee.
The cost of Orthodontic treatment will depend on individual treatment requirements and the type of appliances used in treatment. The complexity and the estimated length of your treatment will also determine the fee for treatment. The cost of your treatment will be advised at the initial consultation, and we will provide you with a letter outlining costs and item numbers so that you may check your rebate entitlement with your Private Health Fund.
What are my payment options?
We appreciate the financial demands made on families and our fees are structured so that they may be paid in instalments. The amount paid and the number of instalments will depend on the type of treatment you are having. As a rule, however, you will be required to pay a deposit at the beginning of treatment, with the remainder of the fees being spread out over the average period of treatment. We work in conjunction with an interest free direct debit company, to make payment easier for you. For further information, please see our Payment Options page.
If you wish to pay in full at the commencement of treatment, or have had other members of your family treatment by Dr Coombe, you may be entitled to a discount.
Will my health fund cover orthodontic treatment?
Health funds vary in waiting times, levels of cover and amounts that are reimbursed to the patient. For this reason, we are unable to give comprehensive advice as to the cover necessary for orthodontic treatment. We will provide you with a report detailing the item numbers for your treatment and recommend that both the financial and treatment reports be immediately taken to the supervisor of your health fund to ascertain your rebate entitlement.
Can I claim orthodontic treatment through Medicare?
Patients who are under the Cleft Lip and Palate Program may be entitled to claim from Medicare. However, item numbers for treatment under this program are different from Private Health Fund item numbers. It is important you inform reception at your initial consultation if you wish to claim from Medicare, so we can provide you with the correct item numbers. Although you cannot claim from both Medicare and your Private Health Fund, it may be in your interest to check with both as to how much your rebate would be so you can receive the best possible rebate.
How long does orthodontic treatment take and how frequent are the appointments?
Every orthodontic problem is different and the time needed for correction depends on the individual case. It can take anywhere from a few months to two years to correct the position of your teeth. The time period varies depending upon the severity of the case, the type of appliance used, the cooperation of the patient and the body’s response to the treatment.
An indication of the time frame for your orthodontic treatment will be given at your initial consultation.
Throughout their treatment, most people will only need appointments every six to eight weeks. The long gap between appointments, made possible because of advances in modern orthodontics, gives your appliance time to operate, and ensures that you do not need to readjust your schedule too often to come in for your appointments.
When will my appointments be scheduled? Will I have to miss school?
We share your concern about missing valuable time at school or work and will make every effort to ensure that appointments are scheduled at convenient times. Once treatment has commenced the majority of appointments are of a shorter duration, approximately five to ten minutes each at six or eight week intervals. These shorter appointments are normally scheduled outside of school hours, however, we are happy to schedule these at other times.
Some longer appointments will be needed, for example when the appliances are fitted and removed, or when more complicated adjustments are performed. These longer appointments are normally scheduled in the middle part of the day. It may also be necessary for emergency appointments to be scheduled at your convenience.
Do you use up-to-date sterilisation techniques?
We use state-of-the art sterilisation procedures fulfilling the Australian law requirements.
Our clinical staff rinse the instruments and then they are placed in an ultrasonic cleaner. They are then run through a steriliser for patient safety. All members of our clinical team wear masks and gloves and are trained in infection control procedures.
Should I continue to visit my dentist during my orthodontic care?
DEFINITELY! It is very important to continue to see your general dentist for regular check-ups and a clean. This helps to prevent decay and monitor the health of your gums.
Can I still wear a mouthguard for sport while I have braces?
It is always essential to wear a mouthguard during any type of contact sport to protect both your teeth and your braces. A custom made mouthguard is available through your dentist. Over the counter mouthguards are available at sports stores and pharmacies. We can supply you with a thinner mouthguard, which will cover the braces, for lesser contact sports e.g. basketball, netball, soccer.