Questions from the patients
How do I know if my child is in need of orthodontic treatment?
It is usually difficult for you to determine if treatment is necessary because there are many problems that can occur even though the teeth look straight. Also, there are some problems that look intimidating and complex which will resolve on their own. Asking your dentist is a good reference point, but we are your best source as orthodontics is all we do.
What age should my child see an orthodontist?
The South African Orthodontic Society recommends that your child be evaluated by the age of 7 to 8 years. Early detection of some orthodontic problems is important in order to take early corrective action and avoid more difficult treatment later.
Can you be too old for braces?
No, age is not a factor, only the health of your gums and bone which support your teeth. About 15% of our orthodontic patients are adults and that number is growing.
Will it hurt?
Orthodontic treatment has improved dramatically. As a rule braces make your teeth sore for a few days, but is is not painful. This annoyance can be relieved by an over the counter analgesic. Today`s braces are smaller, more comfortable and use technology that reduces discomfort.
Questions about the treatment
What is Phase I (Interceptive treatment) and Phase II treatment?
Phase I or Interceptive treatment usually starts while the child has most of the baby teeth and a few of their permanent front incisors and back molars. This stage of development is usually at about the age of 8 or 9. The goal of Phase I treatment is to intercept a moderate or severe orthodontic problem early in order to reduce or eliminate it. These problems include skeletal dysplasia, crossbites, crowding and thumb sucking habits. Phase I treatment turns a difficult orthodontic problem into a more manageable one. This may reduce the need for extraction`s or surgery and delivers better long term results and treatment options. Most Phase I patients require Phase II treatment in order to achieve an ideal bite.
Phase II Treatment usually occurs a number of years later. Usually we wait for most of the permanent teeth to erupt and this is usually by the age of 12 to 13. The goal of Phase II treatment is to achieve an ideal occlusion with all the permanent teeth.
Does everyone need Phase I treatment?
Absolutely not. Only certain bites require early intervention. All others can wait until most if not all their permanent teeth have erupted.
What is the length or duration of orthodontic treatment?
Braces may be on between 6 and 24 months, depending on the age of the patient, the severity of the problem, the patients co-operation and the degree of movement possible.
What are extraction and non-extraction therapy and what are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
Extraction therapy is a technique where some teeth are removed to make room for the other teeth in your child`s mouth. This is in contrast to non-extraction therapy where one expands the patients arch and shapes some teeth to make everything fit. Factors that are taken into account when deciding on which approach is preferable for your child is the severity of the malocclusion, the soft tissue lip posture, facial profile and the age of the patient.
Other frequently asked questions
Is orthodontic care expensive?
The cost of orthodontic treatment can range from R7000 for a simple removable appliance to R45,000 for the correction of a severe malocclusion that requires full fixed appliance treatment (braces) and takes 18 to 24 months of treatment. When orthodontic treatment is implemented at the proper time, treatment is often less costly than the dental care required to treat the more serious problems that can develop years later.
Our office offers various payment options that will meet your needs. The Medical Aids often contribute a portion of the costs. The costs of treatment will be fully discussed with you before any treatment is undertaken.