Frequently asked questions

The decision to get orthodontic treatment can be a significant one. Here are the most common questions we are asked and the answers.

What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the area of dentistry that specialises in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of irregularities of the teeth, jaws and face. The technical term for these problems is malocclusion, which means abnormal bite.


How do orthodontic problems occur?

Many orthodontic problems are inherited, such as crowding of teeth, gaps between the teeth, rotated teeth, buck teeth, impacted teeth, size, shape or position of the jaws, or a cleft palate. Some problems can be a result of a thumb or finger sucking habit, premature loss of first or second teeth, or the result of an accident.


What is an orthodontist?

Orthodontists are dental specialists who practice orthodontic treatment only, are registered with the New Zealand Dental Council and are members of the New Zealand Dental Association and the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists. They have extensive knowledge of facial growth, development and tooth movements. We recommend that you see a specialist orthodontist to ensure you receive the correct diagnosis and optimum treatment available.

At what age should a child start visiting a specialist orthodontist?

The time to begin orthodontic treatment varies with each patient and depends on the type and severity of the problem. A specialist orthodontist has the training and experience to determine the best age for the most effective treatment with the shortest treatment time and expense. If you are aware of a problem with either your, or your child's, teeth or jaw, we recommend seeing a specialist orthodontist to determine if treatment is required now or later.

Is there an age limit for receiving orthodontic treatment?

Age is not a barrier to receiving corrective orthodontic treatment as healthy teeth maintain their ability to move within the jaw bone throughout your life. Most orthodontic treatment using braces is undertaken when all second or permanent teeth have erupted during adolescence. However, an increasing number of adults are seeking orthodontic treatment.

Are there any disadvantages of receiving orthodontic treatment as an adult?

One of the main disadvantages of delaying orthodontic treatment until adulthood is the lack of natural corrective assistance from facial growth, which is largely completed during adolescents. Orthodontic treatment to correct mal-aligned teeth and other bite problems will generally take longer for adult patients. Adults usually experience more discomfort during treatment than children.

What is the cost of specialist orthodontic treatment?

Fees for specialist orthodontic treatment are determined by the difficulty of the treatment required and the estimated treatment time. Written quotes are provided and fees are spread over a period relative to the treatment time. This will be discussed with you before starting treatment.


Do I need a referral form?

No, a referral form is not required. If you have any concerns about your teeth or jaw, a self-referral is welcomed.

When a patient is recalled after the initial consult and what is the cost?

If a patient is not ready for treatment, they will be recalled when appropriate. We contact by text and advise you when your next recall appointment is due. Recall appointments do incur a fee.

What happens at the initial consultation?

Dr Green will discuss with you the reasons for your visit, complete an orthodontic examination and decide if orthodontic treatment is recommended to treat your problem. We will go through all available treatment options and outline associated costs. Following your visit, you will receive a report and quote with a payment plan to cover your orthodontic treatment. Your dental surgeon and/or school dental therapist will also receive a comprehensive report with a diagnosis and treatment plan.

What are records and how long does the appointment take?

Records are x-rays, study models and a series of photographs taken of your teeth and face. Records are used to confirm a diagnosis and treatment plan. They are used at each appointment throughout your treatment.

Why do I need teeth taken out?

If possible, orthodontists avoid removing teeth as part of orthodontic treatment. Some patients can be treated without removing teeth. Other patients require the removal of one or more small teeth to provide the necessary space to straighten crooked teeth, improve their bite pattern such as protruded (buck) upper front teeth and improve long-term stability to minimise relapse.

How long does treatment take?

Treatment times are estimated for an individual patient. Tooth movement depends on each patient's response to treatment and compliance during treatment. Adult treatment usually takes longer than adolescent treatment. Following instructions and attending scheduled appointment provides the best results.

Do I still need to see my dentist?

Yes. Regular check-ups are important because clean, healthy teeth are essential for your final result and the long-term health of your teeth and gums. During the course of orthodontic treatment, it is strongly advised that you continue your regular 6-12 monthly dental check-ups as advised by your dental surgeon or school dental therapist.

Do you have appointments out of school hours?

Yes, adjustment appointments can be made before and after school. There will be times when you will be required to attend during school hours.

Can I come in my lunch hour?

Our day is structured to provide adjustment appointments throughout the day, including late mornings and early afternoons. Our longer appointments are scheduled within school and working hours.

Why do dental and facial problems occur?

Hereditary factors may contribute to a malocclusion (abnormal bite), which can result in crowding, spacing, protruding or missing teeth and severe deformities of the face and jaws. Other contributing factors can include habits such as thumb and finger sucking, accidents involving the teeth and/or jaws, dental disease and premature loss of first or second teeth. Many of these problems affect facial appearance as well as teeth.

What happens if my removable retainer is broken or doesn't fit?

Please call 07 853 2300 to make an appointment with Dr Green. You will need to have a new impression of your teeth to make a replacement retainer. Please note: replacement retainers incur a fee.


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