Have questions about orthodontic treatment?

Explore these frequently asked questions. Discover more about the benefits of orthodontic treatment. And learn more about when to start treatment.

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Orthodontics is the specialist field of dentistry focused on the diagnosis and treatment of issues developing from alignment problems with the teeth and jaws. Specialist orthodontists have extra training, specifically in this field.

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 sucking, dental disease or premature loss of primary (baby) or permanent teeth.

Both inherited and acquired malocclusions affect both the alignment of teeth and also facial development and appearance. 

On top of a general dentistry degree, Orthodontists have to complete a three year masters degree that involves thorough training in all aspects of orthodontic treatment - including treatment planning, dealing with complex cases that involve multidisciplinary treatment with other specialists, facial deformities and cleft palate management, combined orthodontics and facial surgery, and any other aspects of orthodontic treatment.

An orthodontist is registered with The Dental Council of New Zealand as a dental specialist. Orthodontists have their own organisation, The New Zealand Association of Orthodontists (NZAO) who monitor the high standards required for accreditation as an orthodontist in New Zealand. The NZAO also oversee the compulsory requirement for ongoing education through conferences and courses.

Mark Johnson and his staff attend conferences and courses in New Zealand and overseas regularly, so you can be sure that you are receiving the most up to date treatment. 

School dental therapists and dentists are trained to refer cases to an orthodontist, and can give guidance or recommendations. However, you don't need to be referred to visit us. If you have concerns regarding your's or your child's oral health and would like an orthodontic assessment, you can complete the self-referral form online or give us a call on 07 577 0916. From there we will book an initial appointment at a time that best suits you in either Tauranga or Whakatane. 

It’s not unusual these days for adults to get braces or other orthodontic treatments. It can be as successful in adults as it is for children. Treatment time may take longer if you are older, as adults have denser bone tissue. If you're thinking about getting orthodontic treatment, we suggest booking an appointment with a specialist orthodontist. They will be able to assess your teeth and recommend the best treatment option for you.

Don't worry. We can actually treat many of our complex cases without removing any teeth. We usually start around 65-70% of cases without teeth extraction.

The reason that you need teeth extracted is for excessive protrusion, so your teeth can be brought back in your face, or for excessive crowding, when there isn't enough room for your teeth to fit in. Most people end up with the same biting surface or more when teeth are extracted and there is often room for the wisdom teeth to erupt later in life, saving you money and painful extractions.

We will work with you to make a decision about your treatment at your initial consultation appointment.

We always take your profile into consideration when planning treatment. Inappropriate extractions may cause problems, but as specialists we are trained to evaluate and treat cases to gain the best possible result. When we recommend tooth extraction, our patients find the end result much more appealing.

If you have any concerns about extraction, let us know. We would be happy to talk you through those concerns and help you feel more at ease.

In many cases problems are best sorted out when all the adult teeth are through, which is around 10-14 years old. However, we do prefer to see children when they are around 7-9 years old. There are a couple of reasons for this:

1. Certain problems are best sorted out at a younger ages. For example if teeth are very prominent they're more likely to be damaged during sport and activities. We can use a dental appliance when children are at a younger age to harness any available growth to improve facial appearance.

2. Other problems that are best treated early include children who have some of the upper teeth trapped inside the lower teeth (at the back or front of the mouth), and those with very mild irregularities of the teeth. Intervention at an early age will usually make later treatment easier and more successful. In some cases it may eliminate the need for future treatment entirely.

3. At 8 years old, it is possible to predict, with a reasonable degree of precision, the future orthodontic needs of an individual. This also gives you time to financially prepare for treatment. 

To help make payment a bit easier we're happy to offer financial plans for orthodontic treatment. However, we do require an initial deposit on the day that braces are placed. The remaining treatment balance is then spread over the following 18 months. If you have more than one child requiring orthodontic treatment we will give you a discount.