Children’s braces, a dentist or an orthodontist?

Children’s braces, a dentist or an orthodontist?

Children’s braces, a dentist or an orthodontist?

Children’s braces, with a dentist, or an orthodontist, and why?

The Orthodontic Adviser gets 100’s of enquiries based around a simple question about children’s braces, with a dentist, or see an orthodontist? The Australian Society of orthodontics has a great guide on their website about the best age to see an orthodontist, being 8-10 years old. But who do you see first, where do you get advice, do you need a referral, will your dentist be able to do it, will an orthodontist be really expensive?

“Joan” rang the other day after already seeing her family dentist of over 10 years, for her child’s orthodontic treatment. The dentist had already warned “Joan” that seeing an orthodontist will be twice the price, and alternatively she could get “good” treatment from the family dentist. When we talked with “Joan” we discussed some general options, we didn’t advise her not go ahead with her dentist, but to at least get a second opinion from an orthodontist. She didn’t need a referral and if she explained to the orthodontist that she had already had a consultation with her dentist, her initial consultation may be discounted or free. We recommended a few around the area, and gave her some guidelines (If you haven’t already, check out our other blog 10 simple questions to ask your doctor.) on how to choose her orthodontist; they should be suitably qualified, you should feel comfortable with the practice (visit’s are every few months, over 1-2 years), location and affordability.

“Joan” has now had her first consultation with an orthodontist, but is now going to see a second orthodontist, she thought the travel was too far for the first one she saw, but was far more comfortable with the level of experience and the different options offered to her child who is 13 years old. At this first consultation it was explained to her that if she had seen the orthodontist just 2 years earlier, they may have just had phase 1 treatment, instead of now needing full fixed appliances (braces) and a reverse pull head gear.

The price between the dentist and orthodontist came in around the same amount, but she saw real value in the experience her child would have and how comfortable the orthodontist made her and her child feel. Getting orthodontics at any age, whether young or old, is an important decision, and its not a product you buy, but a service that you will invest in. Its important to remember that an orthodontist will only straighten teeth, every single day and will normally see 100+ patients in a week. If you do see a dentist, your first question should be, “how many orthodontic cases do you do a year?”

We always recommend seeing an orthodontist, and for peace of mind it may be worth seeing two, you wont need a referral, and with children they will be able to give you a plan of when and what the next steps maybe, and it’s not always full orthodontic treatment. Timing of treatment is just as important, the earlier you see them the better they can plan your child’s treatment. Don’t wait too long before seeing an orthodontist, while children at the age of 7-8 may seem young, it may save you time and money in the future.

Dental Monitoring

Dental Monitoring

What If you could see your orthodontist without actually seeing your orthodontist?

New to orthodontics is a technology called Dental Monitoring. This revolutionary software is going to allow your doctor and you, to stay in communication about your treatment without the need to visit in person. Every time you have an alert or concerned about your teeth, you can use the app to send them new information.

The software was developed in Europe and is soon to hit our shores and will be available at a select group of orthodontists initially. You will have a personal account that you and your doctor share. Your doctor will be able to set alerts in the software that will give you or them messages. The messages might be about changing aligners, stopping to wear elastics, broken brackets or reminders to brush and many other topics. Basically, anything that’s important to your treatment going smoothly your doctor will be able to set alerts. Meaning you and them don’t miss a thing.

How it works

You will have a 3D scan taken by your orthodontist at their office. The high tech software program maps your teeth, then you take regular photos with your smartphone. Each time you take a photo you will wear the specially provided mouth retractor. This makes the photos easier to take but also acts as the reference point for the software to pick up tooth movements and send alerts.

Why it’s cool

Hopefully this new technology can be used to make treatment for children and adults more convenient and more efficient. By allowing your doctor to monitor you progress more closely, anything not going to plan can be quickly picked up or as soon as you’re ready to advance to the next aligner, or the next wire they will know and you can make an appointment or simply change aligners. Likewise if your teeth are slower to move, you won’t need to go in for unnecessary appointments.

Check out this neat little youtube video and ask us or your orthodontist for more information.

Spreading Smiles – Operation Smile Australia

Spreading Smiles – Operation Smile Australia

Spreading Smiles – Operation Smile Australia

Did you know, every three minutes a child is born somewhere in the world, with a cleft lip or palate? Did you know, that one in ten of these children die before their first birthday?

Operation Smile Australia is a not for profit organisation providing reconstructive surgery to children and young adults born in developing companies with facial deformities. Founded in 1999 by Dr Richard Lewandowski, a plastic surgeon and his wife Sue, a physiotherapist, Operation Smile Australia is part of a global program that has provided life changing treatment for over 115,000 children and young adults.

Fast facts

  • Approximately 1 in 500 children in developing countries are born with a facial deformity. Approximately 1 in 700 children in developed countries are born with a facial deformity.
  • Children with facial deformities who do not receive reconstructive surgery often have difficulty breathing, drinking, eating and speaking. As a result, many suffer from malnutrition, medical and psychological problems.
  • In as little as 45 minutes, one cleft lip surgery can change a child’s life forever.
  • A cleft lip operation costs as little as $300.

A wonderful Australian based charity doing their bit to help thousands smile around the world. Check out their website to learn more and find out how you can help to spread smiles.

Operation Smile Australia

The Value of Orthodontics

The Value of Orthodontics

Whether it is Invisalign or braces, what is the value of having orthodontic treatment?

Lets start in the youngest age bracket, children and teenagers. Prevention is better than cure, and children as young as 6 should visit their orthodontist. Treating any type of malocclusion at a young age has many benefits, functionally for their mouth but also confidence and self esteem as they mature and grow older. From an orthodontic perspective this is the perfect age to start treatment, the jaw and teeth are still growing and their awareness of the aesthetics of braces is not a factor, it’s common place with other students at school, and has become more affordable for families. The Value of orthodontic treatment is 2 fold at this age; straight teeth, a healthy mouth and teeth which will last longer in life, and secondly confidence, self esteem and appearance as they become adults. To put a dollar value on treatment, not during, but as they grow older, is difficult at best.

While treatment as a child or teenager is ideal, its not always the way, budget pressures within a family account for this, but all is not lost. Entering the workforce and earning a wage allows you to make your own decisions. Your jaw and bone structure is still receptive to change and with Invisalign, and lingual braces there are great “invisible” options too. The Value? Like in your teenage years there are the same benefits but being conscious of appearances during treatment mean that invisible options are key, while still getting a great outcome Priceless? not quite but well worth while.

And as you go from 20’s to 30’s up to when you are in your 60’ or older these benefits still exist, but as we age the bone hardens and treatment will take longer compared to your adolescent years, but that shouldn’t put you off. The value now? Having your own teeth, and not removed, is the best option. Rather than having expensive implants or bridging done. Sometimes it will be unavoidable but to remove healthy teeth from your mouth, is the last thing an orthodontist wants to do. Add in the cost of crowns, veneers or implants and suddenly the value of orthodontic treatment, in your more mature years, is valuable!

So orthodontic treatment is valuable, thats easy to see, and while it may seem expensive at the time, it is the immediate benefits during treatment (having Invisalign as an invisible options), after (your new confident smile) and for years to follow, as your now functional, aligned jaw and teeth really show their value.

Our orthodontists make it affordable so that you can realise the true value of having treatment. Why not find out how little orthodontic treatment may cost?

The Treatment Plan and Invisalign

The Treatment Plan and Invisalign

Invisalign is now widely used and seen as an integral part of orthodontic treatment especially for adults. But what really gets you the results you want, and in the most effective time, is the treatment plan.

Whether its braces or Invisalign, a well developed treatment plan, that is successfully implemented, will ensure you get great results at the end of treatment, and in the most time efficient manner. This means that your teeth aren’t moved too quickly over the course of treatment, causing teeth to relapse into their former position (because shift happens), while also making sure that the function and relationship of your mouth, teeth and jaw are spot-on as well. Invisalign is the product, while the treatment plan shapes your results.

With Invisalign you often hear about refinement. Refinement is the opportunity to correct any imperfections from the initial treatment plan with continued use of more aligners. Orthodontists will limit the use of refinement, and would rather lengthen your initial treatment, rather than go through refinement, so that you finish treatment on time and with the results you want. Sometimes refinement is unavoidable, if you have not been keeping the aligners on the required 22 hours a day, the aligners have not seated on the teeth correctly during treatment, and there can always be teeth which are more stubborn than others, they will need some more guidance through refinement.

So while refinement doesn’t sound too bad, you will:

  • Need to have either a new scan or impressions taken
  • Review your treatment plan and results
  • Wear the last aligner for a further 4 weeks
  • Wait 3-4 weeks for the aligners to arrive
  • And finally begin your refinement (which can be as short as 6 weeks but is usually longer!)

So it all comes down to your treatment plan, and an orthodontist who only straightens teeth, whether it is with Invisalign or braces, knows the importance of the treatment plan, and implementing it correctly. It’s what they do everyday and makes the value of seeing a specialist orthodontist, and not a dentist, so much more important.

How do you feel when you smile?

“Being a guy I’m embarrassed to see someone and not sure what to ask. My teeth have always bothered me, but I know if I can have a great smile it will change so many things for me.”
Paul, 25, QLD

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