Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully your questions and concerns are addressed below…

Many people find the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist confusing, especially when it comes down to who does what. This checklist should be helpful:

Orthodontist Dentist
5 year University General Dental Training
30 months+ University Specialist Training in Orthodontics
Specialises in the diagnosis and treatment of tooth and jaw alignment problems using braces and related techniques
Addresses bite problems by moving teeth
Specialist in dental and facial growth and development facilitating the orthodontic management of growing children
Restores, replaces or extracts teeth – does restorations (fillings), crowns, bridges and implant work
Includes cosmetic dentistry such as veneers
Does check-ups and monitors your dental health


For example…

Your dentist may give you a referral to an orthodontist for specialist orthodontic treatment. Conversely, an orthodontist will refer you to a dentist for general dental work like a tooth extraction or filling.

It is essential that you continue seeing your general dentist for your regular six monthly checks and cleans during your orthodontic treatment.

Orthodontics is a dental specialty. You might say it relates to general dentistry as heart surgery does to general medicine. The specialty concerns itself not only with the proper alignment of teeth, but also with the total facial structure emphasizing the jaw bones and soft tissues of the mouth.

In general, orthodontic specialists can improve tooth positions can be improved at practically any age. While most people tend to associate orthodontic treatment with children and adolescents, age is not a limiting factor for tooth movement. Today, more and more adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to correct crooked teeth, tooth crowding and more.

The cost of orthodontic treatment depends on each patient’s individual treatment requirements. We provide an orthodontic payment plan to suit your needs.
The cost is based on the degree of complexity of the problem and how many visits are estimated. The cost of orthodontic treatment is relatively small, considering that the benefits of orthodontic treatment can last a lifetime!

No. We provide an orthodontic payment plan to suit your needs – the total cost depends on the complexity and estimated number of visits.

An orthodontist is a dentist who has completed an approved specialty course conducted full-time over a number of years. Only then can dentists call themselves Orthodontists or specialists in orthodontics, and be listed on the National Specialist register.

No. Only a dentist who has completed the required minimum of 2-3 years full-time of training in orthodontics.

Ask your practitioner if he/she is an Orthodontic Specialist.

The opinion of an orthodontist should be sought when you have a concern, question or doubt about a tooth eruption pattern or about jaw/facial growth and development.

Facial development occurs mainly during the pubertal growth spurt. Orthodontic treatment during this phase allows orthodontists the opportunity to influence jaw growth imbalances if needed. Once growth is completed, correction of skeletal jaw imbalances may require surgery.

Some problems must be properly corrected the first time they appear as the problem can increase with growth. As Orthodontic Treatment will permanently change your child’s teeth and possibly even his or her face, you will want a well-qualified professional to treat your child. Orthodontic specialists limit their practices to orthodontic treatment only. Further advanced education has given them the special skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development.

The orthodontist is your specialist in facial growth and development as well as tooth positioning. Most caring, sophisticated general dentists will understand your needs and be more than willing to assist you in making the first appointment with an orthodontist. However, referrals from our patients are becoming more and more common and if you wish you can contact an orthodontist on your own.

Many general dentists are doing advanced orthodontic treatment without the benefit of years of specialty training required of orthodontists. Some general dentists do some limited aspects of orthodontic treatment in conjunction with an orthodontist. If you have any doubt that your case may require the expertise of a specialist, you should not hesitate to request an orthodontic evaluation.

The orthodontist from whom you wish to have a second opinion given can request the records from the first dentist’s office. (Please note: That office is entitled to a fee for any records provided).

Orthodontists can improve smiles at any age, but there is usually an optimum age for treatment to begin. An early examination allows the orthodontic specialist to determine how and when a child’s particular problem should be treated for maximum improvement with the least time of treatment. Early orthopaedic and orthodontic correction of certain growth problems can eliminate jaw surgery later and/or reduce the need for tooth extraction.

Straight teeth will certainly give you a nicer smile and greater self-esteem-but, just as important, teeth straightening makes it easier for you to clean them properly with reducing tooth wear over time.

Clear braces can be used to reduce the amount of metal on the front teeth and enhance the appearance of the patient while he or she is wearing orthodontic appliances. The decision to use metal or clear braces for teeth is a decision to be made by the patient in consultation with the orthodontist, and is discussed at the time of treatment.

No. Removable appliances are used primarily as functional appliances or retention appliances. The reason is simple: removable appliances can only tip teeth. Only braces can make bodily movements of the teeth.

In many cases clear aligners can straighten teeth sufficiently. For some involved problems braces are still needed.

A crossbite occurs when you have improper bite (occlusion) of the upper and lower teeth. In other words, the upper teeth normally overlap the lower teeth. With a crossbite, the lower teeth are outside the upper teeth.

Crooked teeth are often the result of crowding, or too much tooth structure for jaw size. There are two causes for this problem: one is that the tooth size is too large for the jaw size; the other is that the jaw size is too small for the tooth size.

Depending on the problem, expansion can provide enough room. Some of the milk teeth are larger than the permanent teeth that replace them. Extra space can be gained to correct crowding when milk teeth are lost and permanent teeth erupt. If the child is seen at the right time, this can be used to create space. In other situations, tooth extraction may still be necessary to eliminate crowding.

Milk teeth maintain the normal arch form and arch length. If the baby teeth are lost early due to decay or extractions, space can be lost and create a crowding problem.

As a general rule, spacing between baby teeth is not a problem since the permanent teeth that replace them are much larger than the original baby teeth. However, if there isn’t space, this will usually indicate a crowding situation exists in the permanent dentition that will be erupting.

Impacted teeth are teeth that have not erupted into the mouth for one of three reasons: first, because of severe crowding; secondly, because of a bony or hard tissue impaction or thirdly, because of a soft tissue impaction. Sometimes it is necessary to surgically uncover and actively pull the tooth into place. If this is necessary, the tooth is uncovered and then the orthodontist guides the tooth to its proper position.

The growth pattern of a child’s jaw is definitely related to the genetic make-up of the parents. If there is a concern that a weak jaw may be problematic, assessment by an orthodontist for growth guidance is beneficial. Often the growth pattern can be redirected into a normal pattern. However, if the patient is seen later in life, jaw surgery or may need to be considered to correct the jaw discrepancy or imbalance.