Facts & Questions

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Are metal braces the only option?

There are reasons why metal braces are the most common form of orthodontic treatment. They’re one of the most cost-effective options, they’re able to perform the full range of complex tooth movements, and their results have been proven to be both safe and predictable. However, metal braces are not the only option. Ceramic clear braces, lingual braces or clear aligners (such as Invisalign®) can be just as effective in achieving an optimal result. Your Orthodontist will help you select the best type of treatment for you. You can read about different treatment options here>

Have metal braces changed in the last 20 years?

Absolutely! We might call them traditional metal braces, but the reality is that they have evolved a lot since they first came into use. These days they’re smaller and more subtle, but more effective. With each helpful technological advancement in the field of orthodontics you can rest assured that your Orthodontist is across these developments and knows how to best use them.

How long does treatment take?

Orthodontic treatment can last anywhere from 6 months to over 2 years, depending on your case. For example, rotating a single tooth may be achieved in a few short months, but guiding an impacted tooth down into alignment with the rest of your teeth may take longer. Correcting jaw alignment and fixing your bite may also take longer to correct.

A number of companies claim to be able to treat all orthodontic cases in as little as 6 months. However, they tend to only straighten the front teeth without correcting underlying bite issues.

No matter the length of your treatment, a successfully completed treatment will generally be far better than one that is rushed.

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic treatment is an investment in you or your loved ones’ future. There is no set fee for orthodontic visits in New Zealand. Fees will vary depending on the type of treatment required, the length of treatment and the Orthodontist you see.

Many Orthodontists will provide all-inclusive treatment quotes so you can work out your budget ahead of time. They also offer payment plans so you can spread the cost of your treatment over time.

Do I need a referral to an Orthodontist?

You don’t need a referral to see an Orthodontist. But it’s a good idea to first see your family dentist for a check-up before requesting a referral. Check that your orthodontic treatment provider is a registered Specialist Orthodontist.

What’s the difference between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

All Orthodontists have completed training to be a Dentist. After completing their dental degree, they have gone back to university for 3 years full-time orthodontic study to become a registered Specialist Orthodontist.

This training covers all types of orthodontic diagnosis and treatments, giving a deep understanding of all that is needed for safe orthodontic advice and treatment.

Only a Specialist Orthodontist has the experience and knowledge to deliver safe and effective orthodontic treatment.

Read the full explanation here: Dentist or Orthodontist – What’s the difference?

Why doesn’t my local Orthodontist offer shorter treatments?

To help teeth transition to their new position and correct the bite safely, orthodontic treatment needs to be a gradual process. Placing too much pressure on teeth can cause damage to the roots and gums. If something is worth doing, it is definitely worth doing properly!

Most marketed quick treatments are, in fact, identical to the initial alignment stage of regular orthodontic treatment. This means that while the front teeth will appear straight, any underlying bite issues will often be left uncorrected.

Only a Specialist Orthodontist has the training, knowledge and clinical expertise to distinguish which types of patients can be safely finished in a faster-than-average timeframe and which patients require a longer treatment time to safely correct the bite.

How do I make sure that I’m seeing a Specialist Orthodontist?

An Orthodontist is a registered dental specialist with the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ) after and additional 3 years of specialist training in orthodontics.

You can use the DCNZ website to check whether the clinician you are seeing is an Orthodontist or use our handy Orthodontist search tool here.

Kids & Teens
Will my child need braces or a plate? What is the best treatment option?

The best thing about seeing a Specialist Orthodontist is that they are familiar with all the different methods of orthodontic treatment – there is no “one size fits all”. You can be confident your Orthodontist can help you choose the best treatment for you or your child. If there is more than one option, your Orthodontist will be able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make the best decision.  You can read about different treatment options here.

Will my child need teeth extracted as part of their treatment?

We are all individuals and unsurprisingly, there is no ‘one size fits all’ treatment plan thanks to our genes and the many external factors that impact on our development.

In some cases the removal of teeth is indeed required to ensure safe and stable treatment outcomes. This is not a decision that is taken lightly, and depends on many clinical and radiographic factors that will be discussed with you prior to proceeding. For most Orthodontists, the proportion of patients who require extractions is generally quite low – around 10-20%.

Some dentists who offer orthodontic services claim they “never” extract teeth. Be careful of generalisations such as these and see a Specialist Orthodontist regarding your specific case.

What’s the optimum age to start treatment?

The ideal time to start treatment is unique to the patient’s specific set of orthodontic problems. Generally speaking, comprehensive treatment with braces can begin when all the permanent teeth have erupted (12 years and over). However, there are some cases which are suitable to start earlier than this, and some cases that are best left until growth is complete (16 years +).

The best time to see an Orthodontist is as soon as you notice something wrong with your child’s bite or smile. Your child’s Dentist or Dental Therapist may also refer your child if they notice a problem – this allows the Orthodontist to determine the best time for starting treatment.

When’s the best time to start treatment as an adult?

The best time to see an Orthodontist is as soon as you or your Dentist see any problem with the alignment of your teeth or your bite. Only a Specialist Orthodontist can advise you on what treatment is best, and when it is appropriate to start.

If I had braces as a teenager, why do I need orthodontic treatment again?

Orthodontic treatment is something many of us had as teenagers and then expected our smile to go the distance. However, in some cases we may need to consider orthodontic treatment again later in life. Reasons why your teeth may shift over time may include: accidents, tooth loss, not wearing retainers as recommended, or gum disease.

If your smile has become uneven again, contact your local Orthodontist and have it checked out.

Read more here: As an adult, why do I need to get orthodontic treatment for a second time?

What happens after my Invisalign treatment is complete?

After you’ve finished your Invisalign treatment, your dentist or orthodontist may recommend using a retainer to prevent your teeth from gradually shifting back towards their initial position.

How often should I wear my Invisalign aligners?

For the best results, Invisalign aligners should be worn for 20-22 hours a day, only being removed for eating, drinking, brushing and flossing.

Does Invisalign treatment hurt?

Some people may experience temporary discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure.

How long does Invisalign treatment take?

Invisalign treatment time varies greatly depending on the complexity of the case, but on average it ranges from 12 to 18 months. However, simple cases can be completed in as little as 6 months, while more complex cases might take over two years. It’s also important to note that the success of the treatment heavily relies on the patient wearing the aligners for the recommended 20 to 22 hours per day.

How much does Invisalign treatment cost?

The cost of Invisalign treatment will vary depending on:

  • How long you require Invisalign for
  • The complexity level of your particular situation
  • The Invisalign provider you choose and the plans that they provide
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