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Frequently Asked Questions
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics is a specialised branch of dentistry concerned with the diagnosis and management of irregularities and abnormalities of the teeth, jaws and face. The technical term for these problems is "malocclusion", which means "bad bite".

The aim of Orthodontics is to produce a healthy, functional bite, creating improved resistance to disease and an improved personal appearance. This contributes to both mental and physical well-being.

The potential benefits of undergoing a course of treatment include:
  • improvement in facial aesthetics
  • improvement in the function of the dentition
  • prevention of trauma to prominent teeth and treatment of impacted teeth
  • improved access to tooth surfaces allows for better cleaning and a reduced chance for dental disease
What will it cost?
Orthodontic treatment costs are variable and will reflect both the severity of the problem(s) and the length of treatment. An estimated treatment cost can normally be provided to you at the time of the initial consultation appointment, and these appointments cost $100.

As a general guide a
 typical course of treatment with full braces can cost from $6,000 to $10,000. We always agree to the cost of treatment BEFORE we begin. This way you can be assured that there will be no hidden fees along the way. 

Treatment costs are typically paid off over a period of time by means of a payment plan. This typically consists of an initial deposit being paid at the time the braces are put on, and the balance being paid off by monthly installments. Treatment costs can also be paid for with a single payment if you prefer, and a discount is given for this method of payment. We can also offer other payment options by agreement so feel fee discuss this with the Practice Manager.

What is the difference between an Orthodontist and a Dentist?
It takes five years of university training to become a dentist. A small part of this training involves Orthodontics, but the majority concentrates on other facets of dentistry.

To become an Orthodontist, a dentist must be accepted to undertake a further full-time university-based education in an accredited orthodontic program supervised by suitably qualified Orthodontists. That training lasts at least three academic years in New Zealand and Australia.

Orthodontists don't do fillings, drilling, tooth whitening or extractions. As most orthodontic problems are quite complicated, we specialise in creating individualized treatment plans and completing the treatment appropriately. We aim to provide our patients the highest quality treatment possible.
What causes Orthodontic problems (malocclusions)?
Most malocclusions are inherited, but some are acquired. Inherited problems include crowding of teeth, too much space between teeth, extra or missing teeth, and a wide variety of other irregularities of the jaws, teeth and face.

Acquired malocclusions can be caused by trauma (accidents), thumb, finger or dummy (pacifier) sucking, airway obstruction by tonsils and adenoids, dental disease or premature loss of primary (baby) or permanent teeth. Whether inherited or acquired, many of these problems affect not only the alignment of the teeth, but also facial development and appearance.
Who needs Orthodontics?
Anyone concerned about the appearance and function of their teeth and jaws. Orthodontic treatment is often undertaken in the early teenage years as this is when growth is most rapid, and we can typically start once all the baby teeth have gone. However some limited interceptive treatment can start as young as 7 years old and there is also no upper age limit for starting treatment. 
What are fixed appliances?
This term refers to braces. They are fixed to the teeth and act as handles, allowing the teeth to be moved as directed by a wire.
What are functional appliances?
These appliances use the muscle action of the face to correct the bite and modify growth. They are only used in growing patients.
What are removable appliances?
These refer to plates used to correct the position of one or a few teeth, or the retaining plates worn at the end of treatment.
How long does it take?
Treatment time varies, depending on the pre-treatment problems. The average treatment time with braces is around 18-24 months.
How do I know if I will need teeth out?
You will be advised at the initial consultation whether it is likely you will need teeth out. Confirmation and timing of any extractions will be advised at the treatment consultation, i.e. after orthodontic records have been taken and a treatment plan formulated.
Do you always take teeth out?
Will it hurt?
Several hours after the braces have been placed you are likely to feel some discomfort. This will ease in after the first week, but some discomfort may also be felt after each orthodontic adjustment visit.
How often will I see the Orthodontist?
Betty normally sees all her patients at 6 to 8 weekly intervals throughout the treatment.
What is retention?
After the braces have been removed it is vital that the teeth are kept in their new position.

This can be achieved with the use of an upper removable plate and a fixed wire bonded behind the lower front teeth. You will need to wear the plate full time for 6 months and then only at night for 1-1.5 years. Betty will monitor your retention for 1 year after the braces have been removed.


Protruded Teeth
Deep Bite
Impacted Teeth
Missing Teeth

Open Bite
Cross Bite





(06) 759 0123

258 Courtenay Street
Strandon, New Plymouth 4312
(Onsite parking available)