Frequently Asked Questions:

Do I require a referral from my Dentist?

No.  Referral although commonly provided by dentists are not required to see Paul and his specialist practice.  We do require a general dentist to do a check up of patients prior to starting orthodontics and to maintain the general health of the patient’s teeth and gums throughout the treatment.


What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist dentist who works solely in the area of orthodontics.  This is a Masters Degree which is completed as a Post Graduate student at a University in Orthodontics and is registered with the Australian Specialist Registration.  An orthodontist is the most qualified person to diagnose and treat problems you may experience with both the alignment of the teeth and the jaws.  This is a three year degree and the term orthodontist can only be used by a specialist who has such a degree.


How much does it cost?

Orthodontics vary in price from the use of removable appliances or plates to full fixed braces.  A quote is always provided to patients based on a diagnosis which entails taking x-rays, photographs and study casts of the patient’s mouth to analyse the case correctly.


It is covered by Medicare?

Orthodontics is treated under private arrangements through private medical insurers.  Medicare generally does not cover orthodontics unless the patient has special needs e.g. cleft palate scheme.


It is covered by private health?

See above.


What payment options do I have?

Payment options can vary according to the type of treatment that is provided and our staff are only too happy to discuss this with prospective patients, in terms of having break down payments to make it affordable.  Patients are able to have a payment plan to enable them to have this broken down over the treatment time.


How long do I need to wear braces?

Time of treatment will depend on the type of treatment that’s needed.  A full course of orthodontics could take up to two years although there are shortened programs of orthodontics that can be done in certain cases and this would be diagnosed by Dr Kittel.


What can’t I eat?

Generally patients need to modify their diet to protect the appliances (braces) from damage as well as the teeth from sugars in the diet that can cause decay.  A softer diet is advised for all orthodontic patients and a low sugar diet to protect the teeth from acid attack.  At the time of placement of the braces our staff go through the dietary requirements with the patients in detail to ensure that they have a full knowledge of what is required in terms of diet throughout their treatment and to maintain their oral health during treatment.  Generally foods that are high in sugars such as lollies, chocolates and carbonated drinks should be avoided to prevent damage to the teeth as well as having regular check ups with the dentist to ensure that the enamel health can be checked and if need be application of fluoride to protect the enamel applied.


When should I come to see the orthodontist?

Generally an early referral when the complete primary dentition is in place is advisable for an early assessment of orthodontic needs usually about the age of six.  Often treatment is not required at that stage however monitoring can be done from an early age to enable the optimum time of treatment to be undertaken.  This also allows younger patients to familiarise themselves with the orthodontic environment to prevent stress.


What should I do if I have a broken bracket or wire poking my cheek and can’t see the orthodontist immediately?

Generally if a bracket is broken it is best to leave a message on our answering machine to arrange for the earliest convenient appointment to have this repaired.  Wax can be applied to any loose brackets or wires to prevent trauma to the cheeks



Do I have to wear my retainer every night?

Retention after the removal of braces starts off as a full time arrangement generally for the first nine months and the wear is reduced down to nightwear in the long term.  Long term retention is advised to prevent movement of teeth known as relapse and at the completion of treatment a review of the wisdom teeth or third molars is generally undertaken to prevent their impaction or poor alignment into the arch.