What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a special area of dentistry that deals exclusively with the growth and development of the face, jaws and teeth and the interrelationship they have with each other. Producing a nice smile and correct bite requires a team effort, which is why it is important you and your orthodontist work as a team to produce the best result.
For more information on any of our orthodontic services why not call us today to find out more.

What is the difference between a dentist who undertakes orthodontic treatment and an orthodontist undertaking orthodontic treatment?

Dentists are able to undertake any form of dental treatment they desire. All have undergraduate dental qualifications or general dental qualifications. Most will have received some exposure to basic orthodontic principles and simplified treatment modalities during the course of their undergraduate studies. Some may have undertaken further studies in orthodontic principles and delivery of orthodontic treatment following graduation. In addition to orthodontic treatment, most dentists will deliver a range of dental services.

Orthodontists are specialist dentists that have undertaken a formal orthodontic postgraduate qualification at a university or similar institution. Postgraduate training involves extensive and comprehensive exposure to orthodontic principles and treatment modalities. An orthodontist is recognised by the Dental Board of Australia to have the necessary qualifications to deliver specialist orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists are limited to their area of specialty – namely the delivery of orthodontics or orthodontic treatment. Registration as an orthodontist ensures patients receive the highest level of orthodontic treatment.

What are modern braces?

Braces come in many different forms, shapes and sizes. Traditional or standard braces are rather large and bulky. Dr Carty uses miniature or low profile braces which compared with traditional or standard braces look much less bulky and noticeable. Some braces are ceramic or clear, making them very difficult to see, meaning people might not even notice that you are wearing them. Our modern braces have the same purpose as traditional braces, which work by gently pressing on your teeth and moving them over time.

For more information on any of our orthodontic services, call us today.

How can I clean my teeth with braces on?

You can clean your teeth like you normally would but you do need to pay special attention as it is a lot more difficult to clean your teeth with braces in place. Use a toothbrush with softer bristles and a smaller head in order to clean your teeth properly without affecting the integrity of braces. For more information regarding oral hygiene with braces, contact our friendly reception team and hey will endeavour to assist you with your questions.

What are the services offered at Glenn Carty Orthodontics?

Dr Carty uses the latest orthodontic techniques, the highest quality materials and skills to provide you with the best functional and aesthetic results. Dr Carty provides the following services:

What kind of treatment can I get for straightening my teeth or correcting my bite?

Correcting your bite pattern and straightening teeth are both orthodontic treatments. At Glenn Carty Orthodontics, we offer the latest technology in orthodontic treatment including removable aligners. Aligners are clear, plastic, removable appliances that can produce tooth movements similar to braces. For more information on any of our orthodontic services why not call us today to find out more. 

What are the advantages of aligner treatment?

Aligners are removable plastic appliances. Being made of transparent, thin plastic material means aligners are less noticeable than traditional metal braces. Aligners are taken out for cleaning making it easy to clean both the teeth and the aligners.

Are attachments glued to the teeth with aligner treatment?

To assist with aligners moving teeth, especially with complex tooth movements, attachments glued to some of the teeth or groups of the teeth are necessary. These attachments are made from tooth coloured ‘filling materials’. They are most commonly stuck to the outside of the teeth. Once placed the attachments usually remain in place for the balance of treatment.

Gluing of attachments to individual teeth or groups of teeth with aligner treatment is therefore similar to gluing of brackets or braces to teeth with traditional orthodontic treatment. The difference between braces and aligner treatment is that wires are not used to move teeth with aligners.

Do my teeth need to be ‘prepared’ with aligner treatment?

Aligners work by covering the teeth much like a beanie covers your head. To free up the teeth to move within the confines of the aligner requires some space to exist between adjacent teeth. Where the teeth are crooked and overlapping this space has to created. This is done by a combination of expansion and slenderizing or thinning the teeth a little. Slenderising or thinning the teeth is variously termed interproximal reduction or IPR, enameloplasty, selective enamel slenderizing or selective enamel thinning. The process removes a fine layer of the hard outer enamel coating of the tooth.

Treatment with braces can also require IPR, although typically the process is less ubiquitous with braces than it is with complex aligner treatments. The main reason for this is that with braces treatments the wires can be used to produce the minute spaces between adjacent teeth to ‘straighten’ them. As wires are not used in aligner treatment, the space has to be created by ‘sanding’ the contacts between adjacent teeth.

Combined treatments involving braces to start with and aligners to finish with can reduce the need for IPR.

Will I need more aligners than originally made to straighten my teeth?

Roughly ¾ of all complex aligner treatments will need more aligners than were originally made or prescribed to ‘detail’ or ‘refine’ the final tooth positions. As treatment concludes with the original set of aligners the teeth should be much straighter than they were at the beginning. The small discrepancy in ‘fit’ between the aligner and teeth means that in most cases the teeth will still need a little bit more movement to perfect the straightening process.  This is where a ‘further’ group of aligners made from the nearly straightened position of the teeth is often required to produce the final small detailing movements. With conventional braces treatment these fine minute movements are often produced by the orthodontist placing ‘detailing’ bends in the wires.

What are the disadvantages of aligner treatment?

In Dr Carty’s view the co-operation required for successful treatment with aligners is possibly their greatest disadvantage. Aligners MUST be worn 22-24 hours a day, except for when eating, drinking and cleaning the teeth and aligners. That means that in every fortnight [24 hours x 14 days = 336 hours/fortnight] aligners MUST be worn for at least 308 hours. Does this level of co-operation fit in with your lifestyle, your eating and drinking habits? Are you prepared to maintain this level of co-operation for months on end without fail? Are you the sort of person who readily misplaces things, can be somewhat forgetful or absentminded, takes shortcuts or has a predisposition to “it’ll be right, mate”? Anything less than 22-24 hours daily wear will mean additional and ‘prolonged’ treatment times, that treatment may not work and the possibility of extra cost and/or a change in treatment modality to get it back on track.

With braces co-operation is inevitably still required for a successful outcome to treatment. The big difference is that braces are glued to the teeth. Depending on your lifestyle braces could be more suitable in that they rely less on YOU ‘wearing them’.

How long will Orthodontic treatment take?

The length of treatment depends upon the severity of the problem. For some patients with simple problems, six months could be all that is required. For other patients requiring complex treatments three years or even longer is possible to achieve the best results. Typical treatment duration is about 12 – 24 months. Adult treatment tends on average to take longer than teenage treatment due to a number of factors including more complex problems, potentially slower tooth movement and more rigid bone structure.

Can treatment time vary from the initial estimate?

Patients play a significant role in determining the length of time their treatment takes. Good co-operation with wearing elastic bands, wearing aligners for the required time each and every day, minimising/not breaking the braces and attending appointments as planned can lead to treatment finishing on time or even better, ahead of schedule.

When braces are broken off the teeth treatment slows. The teeth become ‘uncoupled’ from the braces. Pressure to straighten the teeth is not being delivered to them. Breakages see valuable treatment time being wasted repairing the braces rather than progressing the straightening of the teeth and fixing the bite.

Failure to wear elastic bands is a significant factor in leading to increased and extended treatment times. Elastics are used to assist with correcting the bite and detailing the fit of the upper to the lower teeth. When elastics are not being worn these changes are not occurring.

Aligners require 22-24 hours wear per day. Not wearing aligners for this amount of time each day doesn’t allow for the movement built into each aligner to be effectively delivered to the teeth. Trying to ‘speed up’ aligner treatment by cheating on time, implying not wearing the aligner for the required time each day and/or changing aligners more frequently than recommended [stepping up to the next aligner in the sequence early or jumping/bypassing an aligner/s] will ultimately result in treatment slowing as each aligner has not had the required amount of wear time to ‘express’ the full range of movements built into it to the teeth. At some stage the ‘next’ aligner in the sequence won’t fit properly. Treatment then has to ‘back-track’ to the last aligner that actually fits. The end result is that treatment time has actually been lost and not ‘sped up’ as the patient had hoped for.

No recipe fits one and all. While people can present with similar problems their treatment times can vary for a variety of reasons. Variation is after all normal. For more information, make an online enquiry today. 

What appointments do I need before starting orthodontic treatment?

An examination appointment is typically the first appointment a prospective patient will require. The patient’s reason for seeking treatment will usually be asked and a thorough examination undertaken. If the patient is ready for treatment records will frequently be collected, at this appointment or a subsequent appointment. At this time it might be possible to provide an idea on the likely treatment required.

Dr Carty believes it is in the patient’s best interest if treatment options are explained face to face and a written summation of this provided to the patient. For these reasons it is normal within his practices for a consultation appointment to be scheduled for treatment options or recommendations to be presented following a detailed assessment of the patient’s diagnostic records. This also allows time for questions to be answered. Occasionally more than one option is available for treatment and this is where the patient’s expectations and the orthodontist’s experience will combine to determine what approach is most appropriate under the circumstances. The decision then rests with the patient as to whether to proceed with the recommendations or seek further opinions.

How much does treatment cost?

There is no default or set fee for orthodontic treatment. The treatment fee will be determined by the orthodontist or the treatment coordinator, and is determined by the treatment requirements. The cost of treatment will vary according to the type of braces that you choose or appliance that you have, how severe your problem is and whether one or both arches of teeth need treatment.

Can I pay for orthodontic treatment via a payment plan?

A detailed quotation is given at the consultation visit. Payment plans are available where the cost of treatment is broken down over the course of treatment to make payment easier. Orthodontics is the oldest specialty in dentistry and is a combination of art, science and experience. Don’t discount the human side of orthodontics – namely the experience, personality and desires of the orthodontist and their staff. While orthodontists might all share the same title, our treatments, experience, personality and expectations are as individual as you are.

Does orthodontics hurt?

Placing braces or issuing appliances is not normally uncomfortable. It is usual for patients to experience slight discomfort for a few days after their orthodontic appliances or braces are first fitted and again for a day or two after each adjustment. This is a sign that the braces are working and that the pressure being placed on the teeth is causing the teeth to move or straighten.

We can recommend ways to decrease your discomfort and ways you can best care for your braces. For more information on any of our orthodontic services why not call us today to find out more.

How often do I need to have my braces adjusted?

Once your braces are in place, you will need to attend adjustment appointments with Dr Carty that occur six to eight weeks apart. Dr Carty uses the latest generation of wire technology in the practice, which allows fewer adjustments, greater comfort and superior results in a smaller time frame.

Why would my child require orthodontic treatment?

There are lots of reasons why children [and adults] could require orthodontic treatment. Straightening crowded or crooked teeth is probably the most common reason people seek orthodontic treatment. Excessive wear of the teeth, missing adult teeth, decayed teeth, spaced teeth, early loss/removal of a baby tooth, submerging baby teeth, top front teeth which stick out, lower front teeth which stick out, poorly formed or hypomineralised adult teeth, adult teeth which are caught in the jaw bone or caught under a baby tooth, wayward teeth, thumb or finger sucking habits, teeth which don’t bite together properly, narrow upper jaws, jaw joint pain, difficulty with mouth opening and pain on biting are just some of a multitude of other reasons people seek orthodontic treatment.

Call us today to experience the difference for yourself

131 Anthony Rolfe Avenue, Gungahlin ACT 2912

Gungahlin (02) 6255 6565

Lvl 10, 1 Hobart Place, Canberra ACT 2600

Canberra City 0466003274