FAQs

This page answers some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from our patients.

To have your FAQs about braces and orthodontics answered, please read below:


How long will it take?

The length of treatment depends on the severity of the problem. Simple cases may take as little as 2 months, whereas more complicated ones can take as long as 30 months. With normal braces however, the average treatment time is 18 months.


Can I speed up treatment?

Yes. By maintaining excellent oral hygiene, wearing your elastics all the time as instructed, avoiding hard foods which can break brackets, and keeping all your scheduled appointments, you can speed up treatment by 2-3 months!


How often do I need to have my braces adjusted?

Appointment intervals are usually every 6 to 8 weeks. Each adjustment appointment is commonly a short 30 minute visit.


Will it hurt?

It is painless to have your braces fitted. No pliers, drills or needles are used. The braces are simply ‘stuck’ on using tweezers and glue. The reason why the appointment can take a while is that the orthodontist needs to spend time making sure the braces are accurately positioned. 2 hours after your appointment, you will start to feel some pressure on the teeth as the wire begins to work. Discomfort usually peaks at the 24 hour mark, after which the pain tends to subside. Braces are like new shoes, at first it will take some getting used to, but after a week or so you won’t even realise you have them on!


How much does it cost?

Orthodontic treatment is an investment for life. Please see our orthodontist for an estimate of your individualized treatment cost. Our fees will vary depending on the severity of the case, the method of treatment, and the anticipated treatment duration. However, our standard braces cost is only $6500*.


Do I have to pay for my treatment all at once?

No. We offer payment plans for all our patients so that you can comfortably spread your treatment fee over the duration of treatment. An initial deposit is paid when the braces are first fitted, then the remaining balance is paid in regular instalments over the next 18-30 months.


What painkillers should I take?

The best pain relief regime is to take a Nurofen 1 hour prior to the braces fitting appointment, and then take a Panadol immediately after the appointment. Keep alternating between Nurofen and Panadol every 2 hours for the next 48 hours. After this, most patients will be fine. Remember to alter the dosage for children under 12.


Will my speech change with braces?

Yes, your speech will change temporarily with braces. However your tongue will readjust and within a few days you will be speaking like normal again. The speed up this process, please practice speaking out loud in front of the mirror.


What do I need to do before braces?

It is important that before you visit the orthodontist, you get a full check-up (with bitewing x-rays) and clean with your dentist. This is to make sure that there are no cavities or gum disease prior to starting orthodontic work.


Should I continue to see my family dentist while in braces?

Most definitely! During braces your mouth is more prone to cavities and gingivitis, so it is important you see your dentist regularly for 6 month check-ups and cleans to keep on top of your dental health.


Will I need teeth removed?

We do not take the decision to remove teeth lightly, and every attempt will be made to treat our patients without the removal of teeth. Fortunately, with modern orthodontics there is a much lower requirement for extractions, and if treated at the correct age, teeth may only need removal in a low number of cases.


When should my child see the orthodontist?

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends that children be seen at 7 years of age. This is the time when certain orthodontic problems (thumb sucking, impacted canines, crossbites, and early loss of baby teeth) start to appear and are best managed! Early treatment can prevent these problems from becoming more serious ones later on. The orthodontist can also monitor the growth of your child and the development of their teeth and advise you on if anything needs to be done.


When is the best time to start braces?

The best time to fit braces is usually when all the adult teeth erupt, which is around 11-12 years of age.


Are there alternatives to braces?

Yes. At Westside Orthodontics we believe firmly in providing our patients with all the options and the most modern treatments. Nowadays orthodontic treatment is becoming more invisible and more high-tech. We offer most our patients Invisalign® (clear plastic aligners), ceramic (clear) braces, and Incognito lingual braces (or braces at the back of the teeth).


Should I take out health insurance cover?

Health funds cover some of the cost of braces. The rebate depends on the health fund and the level of cover. Please carefully check premiums, conditions, and waiting periods to see if you and your family are better off with or without insurance.


Is orthodontic treatment different for adults?

Yes. In adults the teeth tend to move slower so treatment generally takes longer. Also, there is no more jaw growth, so jaw problems are best treated with surgery. Adult patients may also have other issues with their teeth (worn dentition and periodontal or gum disease), so to get the best possible result a referral to other dental specialists may be needed.


Do I need a referral?

No. At Westside Orthodontics, no referral is required to see the orthodontist.


Can I play contact sports with braces?

Yes you can play contact sports but you MUST wear a mouthguard. We recommend a mouthguard for both training and games.


Can I get braces even though I have crowns and root canals?

Yes. A tooth with a crown or a root canal will move just like a normal tooth. In fact, recent studies show that they respond the same and if anything are less prone to some of the side effects of braces. The process to bond a bracket to it may be more involved, but once the braces are attached everything will proceed as normal.


What is two phase treatment?

Two phase treatment is when the child is treated in two stages. This is because different problems are best treated at different times. The first stage involves fairly minor treatment at about 7 to 10 years of age to correct a developing orthodontic problem like a small upper jaw or cross-bite. The second phase usually involves comprehensive treatment with braces at about 13 years of age to line up all the teeth. Two phase treatment makes orthodontics more manageable and a lot of the time more effective!


Do I need a needle?

No. Needles/injections are not necessary for braces.