1. HOW WILL I KNOW IF I NEED BRACES?
Look at your teeth while biting on the back teeth. Front view –When you bite together the top teeth should leave ± 1/3 of the bottom teeth visible. Side view – teeth must fit like a cog, no spaces on either side of last 4 teeth.
2. AM I TOO OLD FOR BRACES?
If you have teeth supported by healthy bone and gums to move the teeth and a positive attitude, you are not too old for braces.
3. AM I TOO YOUNG FOR BRACES?
Parents are usually concerned about their children’s dental development. Abnormalities are spotted early, but you don’t know how the permanent teeth will develop, therefore it is essential to have an x-ray taken at the age of about 8 years. In most cases it is not necessary to do anything but keep an eye on it so that timing of treatment can be planned in order to do the right thing at the right time.
4. WHAT IS THE IDEAL AGE FOR BRACES?
Normally at the age of 11-12 years – you can ask your dentist if you are concerned. If in doubt a clinical consultation at an orthodontist is recommended. Each one of us is so unique. In some cases it is advisable to start early with preliminary treatment – creating space for permanent teeth, control growth pattern, open or close a bite and in some cases for esthetical reasons. There is a misconception that all treatment should be done only once all the permanent teeth are in the mouth. This is true in the majority of cases but not always. Timing is important as Bob Hope once said: you can have the best joke, but no-one will laugh when you tell it at a funeral.
5. WHAT IS YOUR POLICY ABOUT WISDOM TEETH?
Wisdom teeth are not removed routinely if they do not pose a problem or cause discomfort. Everybody is an individual with different needs and we will prescribe removal only after consultation with patients and parents. In the case where the decision is NOT TO REMOVE them, regular yearly follow up is advisable in order to detect any unwanted complications.
6. MY TEETH ARE STRAIGHT BUT I STILL HAVE JOINT PAIN?
Unfortunately some people still believe that braces are for aesthetic reasons only. If the bite isn’t right – you could develop joint pain due to excessive strain in the joint.
7. I AM GRINDING MY TEETH, WILL BRACES HELP?
Grinding or clenching teeth is as a rule a result of an incorrect bite. With braces we correct the bite that will relieve the grinding and prevent future joint problems in almost all cases.
8. CAN I DO SPORT WITH BRACES?
There is no reason not to do sport. Mouth guards are essential in most sports anyway. If you wear a mouth guard the teeth, lips and cheeks are protected. It also helps to prevent shock to the brain in case of a blow to the lower jaw.
9. CAN I PLAY AN INSTRUMENT WITH BRACES?
Playing some flutes or the saxophone may need some adjustment. We try to help patients initially by giving them wax. Happy to say they all continued playing their instruments. One’s voice is also an instrument, the sound being formed in the mouth. Some patients may have a lot more saliva than usual and others may lisp for a few days. It takes some adjustment, but with a positive attitude and time it can be done.
10. WILL I HAVE TO WEAR A HEADGEAR?
In some cases yes! We sometimes (very seldom) still have to use headgear as part of the appliance. About 2% of our patients wear headgear.
11. HOW LONG WILL I HAVE TO WEAR BRACES?
It depends on the problem, and of course cooperation by patients …and…not missing scheduled appointments.
12. HOW OFTEN DO I HAVE TO COME FOR APPOINTMENTS?
Depending on the treatment plan and kind of appliance that you get, appointments are usually scheduled every 4 to 6 weeks. It may happen that appointments are scheduled in 3 weeks and sometimes in 8 to 10 weeks, depending on what needs to be done.
13. DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM MY DENTIST TO SEE AN ORTHODONTIST?
No you don’t. Talk to family and friends who have had orthodontic treatment, they are the best referral! We will however send a report to your Dentist so that he can make sure that everything is in order in your mouth before we fit the braces. Of course that also makes him part of the treatment and he can also advise you and act as a “watch dog”.
14. HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?
We can ask the question: What is the cost of an investment? How long is a piece of string? Investing in health is your choice, but it is priceless, it is just a matter of priorities.The choice is yours whether you want to spend your money on other luxuries like cell phones, iPads, fancy sunglasses, clothes etc. Payment plans are available and can be arranged to suit most people whether you have a Medical Aid or not.
15. WILL I WEAR A RETAINER WHEN MY BRACES COME OFF? WHY?
Similar care that should be taken after a back-operation, you definitely need to do something to keep the teeth in the new position where they have moved into. We definitely recommend patients to wear their retainers for at least 6 months full time and after that we decrease the hours. There are cases where it is advisable to wear it for longer and the exception is nighttime wear for a lifetime, if you want the teeth to remainin exactly the same position.
16. DO I STILL HAVE TO COME FOR APPOINTMENTS ONCE MY BRACES ARE OFF?
Yes, we definitely want to see you! We do want to make sure that your wisdom teeth don’t cause havoc. After 2 years of treatment we can’t just wave you goodbye and hope to never see you again!. A once a year appointment is recommended until it is not deemed necessary any more.
17. BRACE LESS BRACES: CLEAR ALIGNERS ETC.?
We use Clear Aligners in our practice and it is a saving grace for many adult patients who cannot or don’t want to wear braces. It is more expensive and there are certain limitations to what can be done with them but they are a welcome addition to our “tool box”. Please ask for more information.