This page answers some of the most commonly asked questions we hear from our patients.

To have your FAQs about braces and orthodontics answered, please read on.



Australian Society of Orthodontists




What is an Orthodontist?

Orthodontics is the speciality of dentistry dedicated to the straightening of    teeth. Often the facial bones also contribute to poorly positioned teeth and treatment is directed to influencing the bone structures. This is called Dento Facial Orthopaedics. Orthodontists are specialist dentists who provide orthodontic and orthopaedic care.  They have studied and trained in a university program for at least three years to their basic dental degree, and they have to limit their practice exclusively to Orthodontics for several years before they are registered as specialists.

What age should I send my child to an Orthodontist?

The most favourable age to assess a child is when your child’s baby teeth begin to fall out. For preventable measures we encourage people to bring their children when they reach the age of 6 or 7. By doing this we find that we can prevent a simple problem developing into a major problem, inevitably resulting in braces or other corrective measures when they become teenagers.



Why straighten crooked teeth?

The reasons vary from person to person, these may include:

  1. Appearance
  2. Speech difficulties
  3. Assist with tooth cleaning
  4. Avoiding injury to protruding teeth
  5. To improve the occlusion/ bite


What is the process when getting braces?

When you come to us wanting to straighten your teeth. Records are gathered and X-rays and impressions are recorded. After taking all of this into consideration. Dr Mullins will then tailor a treatment plan to suit your specific case.

Is it better to have treatment as a teenager?

Some problems are best managed in earlier years to avoid having long and sometimes expensive treatment later on in life. If you think your child or teenager needs orthodontic treatment, you should have them seen to, the earlier the better. Prevention is the best medicine.

What happens if I am not treated?

Things don’t generally get better if your teeth are not treated. In the long term it can potentially lead to hygiene problems as cleaning could get difficult which may lead to decay or gingivitis.

How long does treatment last?

Hygiene and difficulty/ severity of the initial problem is also dependent on treatment duration.

Are braces comfortable?

For the most part, YES.  However when you first get your braces you may find that they are uncomfortable or tight in your mouth. This feeling generally lasts around 48 hours and will feel like you have food stuck between your teeth. Eating soft food and chewing sugarless gum are a great help and take an Asprin or Panadol if necessary. The teeth will settle down and return to normal. Sometimes when adjustments are made this soreness is repeated but certainly not at every visit- in fact the less adjustments made the least sore you will be.

What are Elastics?

Your elastics apply a constant force for your teeth to move. Failure to wear your elastics all the time as directed by Dr Mullins will prolong your treatment time and may affect the final result.

  • Elastics are worn in various positions, depending on the direction of movement required for your teeth. Therefore, we will explain to you at the necessary appointment how elastics are to be worn.
  • The only time your elastics should be removed is when you clean your teeth. The elastics are then put on the end of your finger to remind you to put them straight back on again, immediately after cleaning. You will find the elastics will tend to break at odd times, so you will need to carry some wherever you go. To ensure you do not run out of elastics between appointments ask us for more at your appointment
  • Unless instructed otherwise, your elastics must change every second day.
What are Retainers?

Initially worn FULL time and gradually the wear is reduced to night time only, then as advised by Dr Mullins.

Can I still play sport with Braces?

Yes, you can still enjoy playing and you can purchase a bite and boil mouthguard that is suitable for braces. If you are involved in contact sports to avoid breakages or damage to the braces and your lips and cheeks. You will also be able to play wind musical instruments after a short adjustment period.

Do I need a Referral?

You do not have to have a referral, however it is usual for your dentist to give you a letter of referral to bring with you to your appointment that outlines their concerns.

Do you have payment plans available?

We offer an extensive range of payment plans.  We strive to suit your requirements, however, once the plan has been agreed upon, it is expected that payments be made in accordance with the plan to ensure continuation of treatment.