Why have I been referred to the orthodontist?

Your dentist would like specialist advice about the position of your teeth. The orthodontist will advise whether you would benefit from orthodontic treatment.

What is orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontic treatment usually involves the wearing of braces (removable or fixed) with or without extraction of teeth. In certain situations jaw surgery may be necessary and is a part of the orthodontic treatment (Orthognathic Surgery).

Why might I need orthodontic treatment?

There are 3 main reasons for having orthodontic treatment:

  • To improve the appearance of the teeth and your smile.
  • To improve function i.e. to make it easier to chew food.
  • To improve the health of the teeth and gums.

The pictures below show the teeth of a patient before and after orthodontic treatment.



Profile x-ray

What will happen at my first appointment?

It is likely the orthodontist will have a look at your mouth and teeth using a small mouth mirror and a ruler. X-rays (Profile & Panoramic), photographs and staudy models (impressions) may also be taken.

All of these measurements and records will help the orthodontist decide which is the best treatment for you.

Panoramic x-ray

What will happen next?

There are likely to be four possible outcomes, each of which will be explained to you in plain and simple language by the orthodontist.

These include:
  • You are not yet ready for treatment, in which case you may need to see the orthodontist again when you are older.
  • You are ready for treatment but before it can start you need to have some dental work
  • You are a surgical case in which case you might be eligible for treatment with the healthboard if you are a certain age
  • You are ready to start

What happens if I am ready to start treatment?

The orthodontist will explain:
  • The options for treatment and which is the best for you.
  • The advantages and disadvantages of treatment.
  • The length of time the treatment will take.
  • The commitment needed on your part if treatment is to be successful.
  • When you can expect the treatment to begin.

At this point you will be given the chance to ask any questions.
If you would like to go ahead with the treatment, the orthodontist may ask for written consent.

When will treatment start?

This will depend on:

  • How many of your adult teeth have come through. Some treatments are best left until the adult teeth have replaced the first (milk) teeth.
  • Problems with toothbrushing or tooth decay which may have to be dealt with.
  • The degree of urgency for your particular case. For example, certain types of bite are best treated while you are growing fast and would be given priority. Other types of treatment may need to be delayed until growth of the face has almost stopped.
  • Your orthodontist will explain the exact timing of the treatment for you.

If you have any further questions that you feel you would like to ask, then please write them down and bring them with you to your next appointment with your   orthodontist. It is important you fully understand what is involved in having orthodontic treatment before you decide to go ahead, and sign a consent form.