Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?

A Dentist will have completed a 4-5 year Bachelors at University in either Dental Surgery or Dental Science. They diagnose dental disease such as tooth decay, gum disease, oral cancer, and other conditions involving the teeth, gums, lips, and surrounding areas.

An Orthodontist will have completed;

  • A Bachelors in Dental Surgery or Dental Science (4-5 years full time)
  • A Masters in Orthodontics (3-4 years full time)

An Orthodontist must then also be registered as a Specialist in Orthodontics by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (APHRA).

Orthodontists specialise in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of facial irregularities to help correct and align teeth, bites and jaws. This includes the cosmetic straightening of teeth.

If you want treatment in any of these areas, it pays to see a specialist orthodontist. After all, you wouldn’t visit your GP for specialist eye surgery!

Will I need some of my teeth removed?

Having teeth extracted can change your face for better or worse. In most cases when an orthodontist prescribes the removal of teeth, he does so because of severe crowding, or if there is severe tooth decay. Dr Vaughan usually aligns the teeth first then makes a decision. He does not take this decision lightly! Before making this irreversible decision, he carefully studies models, photos, and x-rays to see if there is any alternative.

Will I need a retainer?

Perhaps the happiest day of treatment for orthodontic patients is the day the braces come off. Patients are happy. Parents are happy. Doctors are happy! No matter what treatment was provided, no matter how perfectly the teeth are aligned, the day the braces come off is just the start of a life-long need to retain (or hold) the teeth in the best position possible. Everything continues to grow and change as we age, and our jaws are no different! We offer all of our patients retention solutions as part of treatment, at no extra cost.

How do I care for my teeth when I have braces?

When you have braces it is very important to brush and floss after every meal in order to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout your treatment. Ensure you use the right toothbrush, toothpaste, dental floss and picksters, and this will help achieve the best result.

What is Two Phase Treatment?

Two Phase treatment is when children are treated early, usually before 12 years of age. “Phase-one” is for 1-2 years, followed by a 1-3 year “retention phase” wearing a retainer while waiting for the primary teeth to fall out, and then a final “phase-two” treatment consisting of braces of both arches for another 1.5-2 years to finish the treatment. The total early treatment time can take 5-6 years. It is not needed in most cases, as a typical One Phase treatment will deliver the desired results. Aside from the time and cost of treatment, another drawback can be the difficulty in gaining compliance from the child due to their age. This can result in treatment being extended, as well as putting a strain on family relationships.

Metal Braces or Clear Braces?

Metal braces are strong metal brackets custom made for teeth. They have been around for many years and while they may be used by other practices, here at Live Life Smiling we consider them old fashioned, and so metal brackets are out. We only use clear brackets which are virtually invisible, so you look great and feel great throughout treatment.

Ceramic brackets are just like traditional metal braces but clear! Ceramic braces work in exactly the same way as metal braces but there is one significant difference and that’s in their appearance. Ceramic braces are made of a tooth-coloured material, so they are more cosmetically pleasing, and they are a low profile design so wearing them is comfortable. All of our patients are given clear braces at no extra cost so you can look and feel great throughout treatment. Click here to read more about our invisible braces.

Braces or Invisalign?

While both braces and Invisalign can help to straighten teeth, they each have their pros and cons.

Invisalign is unable to rotate teeth or move teeth vertically and may not address issues with the back teeth. Invisalign Company states that Invisalign will not produce results as good as braces but there will be a significant improvement. While they are more aesthetically pleasing and nearly invisible patients need to be screened to see if they qualify for Invisalign. You can read more about Invisalign at Live Life Smiling here.

Braces are clear ceramic brackets or metal brackets that are glued to the teeth and tied together with small coloured O rings.  These are permanent fixtures that remain until treatment has finished. Braces are able to rotate, move and adjust the heights of teeth. In the right Orthodontist’s hands, you can receive a 10/10 result.

Can we fix Thumb Sucking?

Children suck their thumbs or fingers because it’s comforting and calming. Your child probably practiced this habit while still in the womb and perfected it as an infant, and so now turns to the thumb when they’re tired, scared, bored, sick, or trying to adjust to challenges. Your child may also use their thumb to help fall asleep at bedtime and to lull themselves back to sleep when they wake up in the middle of the night.

Dr Vaughan has an easy solution that children and parents can take ownership of to give up the sucking habit. This simple technique of exercises has a high success rate and costs nothing. It also helps to develop a good relationship between patients and parents.

Will I need Jaw Surgery?

Corrective jaw surgery, or orthognathic surgery, is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMFS) to correct a wide range of minor and major skeletal and dental irregularities, including the misalignment of jaws and teeth. Surgery can improve chewing, speaking and breathing. While the patient’s appearance may be dramatically enhanced as a result of their surgery, orthognathic surgery is performed to correct functional problems.  Sleep Apnoea and snoring are other areas where corrective jaw surgery has been shown to improve these obstructive airway conditions.

Dr Peter Vaughan works jointly with Maxillofacial surgeons to achieve the best results, and you can read more about Live Life Smiling’s approach to surgery here.

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