Common questions about orthodontics

Got a question about orthodontics? You’re not the only one who does. Our team have compiled answers to the most frequently asked questions we get here in the clinic at Ipswich Orthodontics.

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry which specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of teeth and jaws. Basically, straightening teeth!

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist dentist who is registered as specialist in the field orthodontics and restricts their practice to orthodontics. In Australia, an orthodontist must have:

  • Completed a five-year, full-time bachelor degree in dentistry.
  • Completed a minimum of two years' full-time general practice as a dentist.
  • Complete a three-year, full-time Masters or Clinical Doctorate degree in orthodontics
  • Be registered as a Specialist Orthodontist by a State Dental Board.

An orthodontist is the most qualified person to diagnose, prevent and treat any problems you might have in the alignment of your teeth and jaws.

It is important to differentiate between a specialist orthodontist and a dentist who provides orthodontic services. A dentist who provides orthodontic services is not an orthodontist and has not completed a three-year, full-time Masters or Clinical Doctorate degree in orthodontics and is not able to be registered as a specialist in orthodontics.

Do I need to be referred by a dentist?

No. You can contact us directly for an appointment.

At what age should you first see an orthodontist?

The Australian Society of Orthodontists recommends an orthodontic screening between ages of 7 and 8. By this age, several permanent (adult) teeth will have erupted. It is often not necessary to treat at this time, though occasionally we are able to manage some developing problems early.

Will I need to have teeth extracted for braces?

It is sometimes necessary to remove teeth as part of orthodontic treatment to achieve the best results. We try and keep the need for teeth extraction to a minimum.

How long will it take to complete treatment?

Treatment time depends on each patient’s specific orthodontic needs and can be highly variable. In general, the average time frame for orthodontic treatment with braces is approximately 18-24 months.

How much will braces cost?

It is difficult to give an exact amount, as everyone’s treatment is different. The cost for treatment varies with the complexity of the orthodontic treatment and the amount of time that would be necessary to correct your teeth. As an approximate guide single arch treatment usually start at approximately $4500 with more complex treatment costing approximately $7200. This cost includes 18-24 months of treatment as well as three years' follow-up with retainers. We have several payment plans available to assist you with your needs.

How often will I have appointments?

Appointments are scheduled according to each patient’s specific needs. Appointments are generally made at intervals of 6 to 8 weeks. If there are specific situations that require more frequent monitoring, we will schedule appointments accordingly

Can I schedule all my appointments after school?

As you can imagine after-school appointments are the most popular. We generally schedule longer appointments during the day. Shorter appointments are scheduled in the morning and afternoon. By scheduling appointments in this manner, we can accommodate as many patients as possible

Can I return to school the day the braces are fitted?

Yes. There is no reason you cannot return to school the same day.

Can I still play sports?

Yes. We recommend a mouthguard for all sports.

Do I need to see my family dentist while in braces?

Yes. We recommend the continuation of regular check-ups with your family dentist. A good time frame is at least every six months.

Am I too old for braces?

A large percentage of our patients are adults.

Are there foods I cannot eat while having orthodontic treatment?

Yes. We recommend avoiding the harder foods (such as minties, fantales, redskins, ice and some muesli bars) as well as food and drinks that are acidic (such as soft drinks, sports drinks and energy drinks) or foods that have a high sugar content (eg lollies and chocolate). It is generally necessary to avoid these foods for good general dental health.

Do braces hurt?

You may feel some discomfort as your teeth begin to realign. You’ll still be getting used to the pressure of the wires and elastic ligatures. Over-the-counter pain medication will provide relief from the discomfort. You can also apply wax to the braces to keep them from rubbing against the inside of your mouth. The discomfort is typically gone by day five in most patients.

How often should I clean my teeth while I am wearing braces?

We recommend brushing after every meal.

Ready to start your orthodontic treatment journey? Book your initial consultation at Ipswich Orthodontics today.


Book an orthodontic consultation

  • No-obligation meeting to discuss your options
  • Meet with one of our Treatment Coordinators
  • Find out about our payment plans

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Australian Dental Association

Royal Australian College of Dental Surgeons

Damon Smile

Australian Society of Orthodontists



Ipswich Orthodontics

13 South Street
QLD 4305

07 3812 0865

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