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FAQ about orthodontic treatment


Orthodontics will loose its magic if you don’t look after your teeth very well during orthodontic treatment.

  • Diet
  • Cleaning your teeth
  • Risks

Diet Rules


Sticky foods such as lollies, toffee and caramel (especially redskins and minties) must be avoided because they can loosen the bonds and wires.

With hard food such as apples and raw carrots are best eaten by cutting them up and chewing on the back teeth.

Sweets and chocolate must be kept to a minimum. A sugary diet will result in tooth decay underneath the bands and bonds (disaster!), and if identified during treatment then the treatment may have to cease.

It cannot be stressed too much how important your diet is while having orthodontic
treatment. Think how healthy you will be in a couple of months!

Snack food, such as plain potato chips are not healthy, but as they do not contain sugar they can be safely eaten while wearing braces. Soft drinks and cordials must be of the “diet” variety. Avoid all colas (yes, even diet coke).

Can’t have and mustn’t do!:
soft drinks
hard lollies
sweet biscuits
chewing on bones
corn chips
pen chewing

Just be very careful!:
raw carrots

Yes, in moderation please:
potato chips
diet soft drinks
diet cordial
dry biscuits

Cleaning your teeth

Yes, you do need to clean your teeth even better when you have braces! We may provide your orthodontic toothbrushes (included in the treatment fee). Make sure you:

  • Take out any elastics or plates first so you can get to all areas of your mouth.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste. The dentist or orthodontist may decide you should also use a fluoride mouthrinse on a daily or weekly basis to help protect your teeth.
  • Get a small toothbrush and brush above and below the brackets and wires on your teeth.
  • Save water. Don’t run the tap when not needed.
  • Make sure you brush your gums. Use a gently small circular motion.
  • Spend time cleaning each individual tooth!
  • Don’t forget to brush the inside surfaces of your teeth. Don’t let that tongue stop you from getting to the gums on the inside. Sometimes holding your breath for the short time you clean next to the tongue helps reduce the “gagging” feeling.
  • Don’t forget the chewing surfaces of your teeth.
  • Rinse with water and have a look in the mirror. Have you missed anywhere?
  • Don’t forget to put the elastics back!

In most cases people have orthodontic treatment without problems.

Prior to commencing orthodontic treatment each patient will receive information that has been prepared by the Australian Society of Orthodontists that outlines the problems that can occur.
This information can be viewed at

Don’t proceed with orthodontic treatment if you believe any of the problems that may occur during treatment are unacceptable to you. In this case, you should accept the current pattern of the teeth.

Some minor orthodontic problems may involve still considerable effort and expense. Thus in some cases, such as minor crowding of the lower teeth, it might be that given the problems, risks and potential for relapse, orthodontic treatment is not indicated.

Patients whose lifestyle is such that they are so busy that attending appointments during the week will be problematic should not commence treatment. Orthodontic treatment involves regular appointments. We do try to assist as far as possible with out of school appointments (but cannot guarantee in all cases – we give preference for VCE students).

Risks that may occur include:

  • Decay
    YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT!!!!! Cleaning and diet are very important especially with all the “plaque” attracting appliances in your mouth. Sometimes damage to teeth is not detectable until after braces are removed.
    Patients who have a poor diet that is high in sugar (soft drinks, lollies etc) should not commence orthodontic treatment until this aspect is addressed.
  • Tooth root changes
    Minor rounding of the tip of the tooth roots may occur. Generally this does not lead to any problems. In a small number of patients the roots can become significantly shorter and may affect the long term health of the tooth. Fortunately, even most of these cases the teeth still seem to be retained in the mouth and remain healthy.
  • Nerve death
    It is possible on rare occasions to have a tooth nerve die during orthodontic treatment. This is usually due to the tooth having received a knock at some stage before or during orthodontic treatment. The nerve would have died at some stage, however, the orthodontics may have unmasked the problem a little earlier.
  • Gum problems
    In adults particularly, gum problems may be accentuated by orthodontics.
    Smokers can experience gum problems and it is our view that smokers should not proceed with orthodontic treatment (a great reason and time to quit – put the savings towards the treatment fees).
  • Relapse
    Orthodontics does carry the risk of relapse whereby the orthodontic correction starts to reverse back to the original pattern. All due care is taken and retainers are provided (see Maintaining Your Great Smile). However, if the potential for reversal of the correction is unacceptable to you, then treatment should not be undertaken and again, you will need to accept the present pattern of the teeth.


Specialist orthodontics involves careful consideration of long term success. Our patients now bring their own children to see us. That is the highest compliment we can get and we love that we are part of their family, their community.


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