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Benefits and risks of orthodontic treatment

As a rule, informed and co-operative patients achieve positive orthodontic results. While recognising the benefits of healthy teeth and a pleasing smile, you should be aware that orthodontic treatment has limitations and potential risks. Fortunately, in orthodontics these are seldom enough to avoid treatment, but nevertheless, they should be considered when making the decision to undergo orthodontic treatment. The major risks involved in orthodontic treatment include:

  • Tooth decay, gum disease and permanent markings (decalcification) on the teeth can occur if orthodontic patients eat foods containing excessive sugar and/or do not brush their teeth frequently and properly. Inflammation of the gums and loss of the supporting bone can occur if bacterial plaque is not removed daily with good oral hygiene. The same problems can occur without orthodontic treatment, but the risk is greater to an individual wearing orthodontic appliances.

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  • In some patients the length of the roots of the teeth may be shortened during orthodontic treatment. Some patients are prone to this happening, most are not. Usually this does not have significant consequences, but on rare occasions it may be a threat to the longevity of the teeth
  • Teeth have a tendency to change their position after treatment. This is usually only a minor change and faithful wearing of retainers should reduce this tendency. Throughout life, the bite can change adversely or favourably from causes such as growth and/or maturational changes which are outside the control of the

Expanders and Plates

  • Sometimes a tooth may have been traumatised by a previous accident or a tooth may have large fillings which can cause damage to the nerve of the tooth. Orthodontic tooth movement may in some cases aggravate this condition and in rare instances may lead to the need for root canal treatment by your family
  • A typical formation of teeth or insufficient or abnormal changes in the growth of jaws may limit our ability to achieve the desired result. If growth becomes disproportionate during or after treatment, or a tooth forms very late, the bite may change, requiring additional treatment. In some cases it may also involve oral and maxillofacial surgery. Growth changes that occur after active orthodontic treatment may alter the quality of treatment

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  • The total time required to complete treatment may exceed the estimated treatment time. Time estimates are based on average treatment times. Excessive or deficient bone growth, poor co-operation in wearing the appliances the required hours per day, poor oral hygiene, broken appliances or missed appointments can all lengthen the treatment time and affect the quality of the end
  • General medical problems can affect orthodontic treatment. Please keep us informed of any changes to your medical

For some patients, orthodontic treatment is an elective procedure. One possible alternative to orthodontic treatment is not to treat at all. You could choose to accept your present oral condition and decide to live without correction or improvement. However, for the vast majority of patients, orthodontics will provide a beneficial improvement to the bite and function of the teeth and a pleasing smile.

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When you arrive to our practice for your appointments please check in using our sign in screen so that Dr Rhonda and the team know that you’re here. If you’re unable to sign in for any reason or need to update your details please present to reception.

Please call us when:

  • You’re running late to your appointment
    Patients who arrive late but within the scheduled appointment time will be seen after patients who are on time, if you arrive after your scheduled appointment time we may have to reschedule to another day

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  • To reschedule or cancel an appointment
    Our appointments fill up quickly! We will do our best to find you a new time, however this may be a few weeks from your original appointment
  • If you have a long wire that needs trimming or a lost bracket or attachment 
    Call to book an appointment as soon as possible as scheduled times for these are limited
  • If you have lost or broken aligners or retainers
    We can advise you on what to do from here as a visit may not be necessary

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We understand that your time is as valuable as ours, for this reason we have a pre-defined appointment schedule that we adhere to which ensures that all our patients have an equal share in popular appointment times. Long appointments such as starts and finishes are generally scheduled from mid-morning to mid-afternoon as we reserve early mornings and late afternoons for our shorter and more regular appointment types.

It is not possible for us to see all of our patients before and after school or outside of work hours. Therefore, it will be unavoidable for you to miss work/school from time to time.

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