Wallet burn factor
$4,000 – $8,500
6 mths – 3 years
Straightening your teeth (or as known in tooth doctor land – orthodontics) is a fantastic way to achieve that smile you’ve always wanted and is also kind to your teeth. You’ve probably all heard of Invisalign but did you know that there are alternatives very similar to Invisalign? Or that the good old braces have many benefits – especially for kids? Here we give the low down on all of your options for straighter teeth.
What is it?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock your whole life you probably know what braces are;). But In keeping with our tradition of oversharing, we will tell you anyway.
Braces are small brackets that can either be metal or ceramic that are glued (or in dentist terms ‘bonded’) to the front or even the back of your teeth with a thin wire threaded through them.
There are different types of brackets available these days so you don’t necessarily have to go for the metal brackets (although some kids love these as you can jazz them up with different coloured bands). Ceramic brackets are also available, and these are great for adults as they are teeth coloured, so they are not as noticeable.
Another option is to get braces on the back of your teeth called lingual braces, these are obviously invisible but are tough to keep clean and will seem weird in your mouth at first. Adjustments can also be slightly more time-consuming.
How does it work?
The Orthodontist or dentist will firstly do a smile assessment to see precisely what teeth need to be moved and how to go about this. Traditionally Orthodontists did the smile assessment based on their knowledge and experience in moving teeth but now more, and more dental professionals are moving to digital software to help them achieve a more predictable result faster.
Once the smile assessment and treatment plan has been done the orthodontist or the dentist will then bond the brackets into position onto your teeth and thread the wire. The wire puts consistent pressure on the teeth slowly moving into a big beautiful straight smile.
Great - I'd love a new smile, so now what?
How do I know if I can have Braces?
The brilliant thing about braces is they can move even the most crooked of teeth and also correct other bite issues such as a cross bite, overbite or underbite and sometimes even an incorrectly positioned jaw.
Why should I straighten my teeth?
Having straight teeth is not only amazing because it looks great, but crooked teeth can also lead to other more serious dental issues like tooth decay or even gum disease because it’s harder to keep them clean. This is especially true for kids who may not be as regular as brushing and flossing as they should be (and let’s face it – even most adults!).
Crooked teeth can also affect how you bite together, and if you bite together wrong, this can lead to other more severe issues especially as you get older. Getting braces when you are younger will help in avoiding these more serious problems as you head into adulthood.
How long does it take?
How long it takes all depends on how crooked your teeth are and how much movement is needed to bring them into line. Generally, with braces, it takes anywhere from 18 months to 36 months. Braces are usually a better option for kids as unlike Invisalign they are unable to remove them, which will extend the treatment time or accidentally lose them.
How much does it cost?
Braces can range from approximately $4,500 to $8,000. The difference in cost is dependent on some factors including experience of the tooth doctor and how much your teeth need to be moved. To help you choose the right tooth doctor for your needs download our ‘Interview questions’ that you can ask your prospective tooth doctor.
What about my Health Fund?
Your health fund may well cover a portion of your orthodontic treatment, especially if you have extras cover. Check with your health fund provider on how much they include for orthodontics.
Are there payment options?
Good news – yes! There are a number of options now when it comes to financing your dental treatments. Your Orthodontist or dentist may already have their own payment option service, or there are some options that specialise in payment options for dental treatments.
Does it hurt?
Um, we are not going to lie to you here, they may feel a little bit uncomfortable especially when you first get them on. But don’t worry – you soon get used it. Your brackets may also be a little bit sharp on the inside of your mouth while you are getting used it, this is also normal, your dentist or Orthodontist will usually give you some wax that you can put on your brackets to help this.
Who’s the best at it?
Orthodontists straighten teeth all day every day; it’s all they do, and they are very good at it! Orthodontists do an extra few years tooth straightening training and dedicate their lives to helping patients get the smile they’ll love!
Some general dentists also have a special passion for orthodontics and have done some extra training so they can offer this to their patients. If you are considering going to the general dentist for braces, you can download our ‘interview questions’ so you know what to ask.
What are the alternatives?
Alternatives to braces could be clear aligners such as Invisalign. Some Orthodontists will recommend against Invisalign for kids as they tend not be as compliant with wearing their aligners and also have a habit of losing them.
Some adults will tend not to want to go through the whole process of orthodontic treatment and may instead look into having dental crowns or veneers to straighten their smile. Orthodontics, although it may take ages, is usually the best and most conservative way to straighten that grin of yours so look into and weigh these options up carefully before making any rash decisions.
How do I look after my teeth after I have finished my treatment
The good news is that your teeth are much easier to take care of if they are straight! Normal brushing and flossing and regular check-ups with your dentist will keep your teeth in ship shape.
Sometimes, to stop your teeth from moving back to how they were before your tooth doctor may suggest a retainer or put a wire on the back of your teeth. This is pretty normal, and you won’t even notice it after a while, just remember to keep it clean by using something known as ‘superfloss’. Check with your tooth doctor about this.
Braces are an excellent choice for kids as they can’t ‘accidently’ lose them.
They are also a great choice if you have to adjust your bite or if your teeth need a fair bit of moving.
Let’s be honest – they are not the most glamorous option but kids can dress them up with coloured bands and for the adults – there are now ceramic coloured braces.
They tend to be a little uncomfortable at first, but a beautiful smile is worth the pain;)