Frequently asked questions


Does age affect orthodontic treatment?

You can have orthodontic treatment at any age but treatment tends to take longer as we get older. While many patients come to us as teenagers, there is an increasing trend for people in their 30s and 40s (and beyond) to have treatment to ensure their natural teeth last and look great later in life.

Do I need a referral from my dentist to see an orthodontist?

No, there’s no need for a referral – simply phone ethos for an appointment. Of course, your dentist might be the person who discovers a problem and suggests you visit an orthodontist. If you haven’t seen your dentist for six months, your orthodontist may ask you to have a check up before treatment begins.

Will the orthodontist remove teeth?

No, your ethos orthodontist will always try to design a treatment that does not involve removing any teeth. If it is essential to remove a tooth, the orthodontist will refer you to a dentist for the removal.

Is orthodontic treatment painful?

Having braces or a retainer device fitted doesn’t hurt. However, sometimes you may notice some discomfort in the first few days after fitting and adjustment as your teeth start to move to a new position. You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen if you need to.

How long does the treatment take?

It all depends on your teeth and treatment plan. The orthodontist will give you an estimate but treatment may take a little longer for some people. Your orthodontist will also give you clear instructions for wearing and maintaining your appliance, which will help the treatment work as quickly as possible.

Will I need more treatment in the years ahead?

Teeth continue to shift throughout life but the change usually slows down after your early 20s. To help prevent your teeth moving, we will fit you with a high-quality titanium alloy retainer that will keep your teeth in place. Your orthodontist and oral health therapist will make sure you get all the information you need to care properly for your new smile.

What will happen when my wisdom teeth come through?

Wisdom teeth do not contribute to the crowding of lower incisor teeth. The main reason to remove wisdom teeth is if the gums around them are infected or inflamed.

Are there any risks to orthodontic treatment?

Normally orthodontic treatment is straightforward and leads to a very successful result. As with any sort of medical or dental treatment, in rare cases, things don’t quite go according to plan, or there may be a complication. Ask your orthodontist about the risks and how best to avoid them.

At what ages should my child see an orthodontic specialist?

The ideal age to review your child’s teeth is between 8-10 years old. Orthodontists can monitor growth and development and intervene when necessary.

What qualifications do orthodontists have?

Orthodontists are all very highly trained. First they must qualify as a dentist, with first class honours from university. Then they are required to practise as a dentist for at least two years before returning to university to do a three-year master’s degree in orthodontics.

How do I choose a good orthodontist?

Always choose an orthodontist who belongs to the Australian Society of Orthodontists, ethos orthodontists are all members. You should also try to see an orthodontist with a passion for new and emerging technologies so you know you’re being offered the latest and best treatments. At ethos, we have a strong focus on ongoing training, attending conferences to update our knowledge and practice.

Can I eat anything I like while I’m wearing braces?

With braces, you can eat most things but should avoid hard sticky sweets like toffees. You may also need to cut up some foods, like apples, raw carrots and crusty rolls, and avoid gnawing meat on the bone or corn on the cob. Your orthodontist and oral health therapist will give you full instructions when you have your braces fitted..

What do I do if my braces break?

Braces may occasionally break or become loose. Please contact us  to make an appointment as soon as you can to have them fixed and to keep your treatment on track.

How do braces get fitted to your teeth?

Firstly, our oral health therapists clean the tooth surface, where the braces are to be placed. Then the orthodontist will prep the tooth surface and place each individual brace onto each tooth. Each brace is set with a light curing technique, followed by placement of the soft initial archwire. The small rubber modules (clear/coloured) are then placed over the wire and brace. View this video to see for yourself.

How do braces get taken off my teeth?

Our qualified oral health therapists use a special brace-removing instrument that applies a small amount of pressure when placed over the brace, allowing it to be removed. Any adhesive residue is then removed and your teeth are cleaned, revealing your beautiful new smile.

Can I have my braces taken off for a special event?

Yes, for a very special event we can remove some or all of your braces. A small fee may be charged. Discuss with your orthodontist for further details.

Is there anything I won’t be able to do with braces on?

Braces shouldn’t hold you back in life. These days they’re relatively low maintenance which means you can still work, eat, drink, kiss and sing! You can eat most foods too, as long as you avoid hard or sticky lollies, corn on the cob, crunchy or hard foods and sugary drinks. Playing certain instruments (like a trumpet or flute) might be a little difficult at first but can be improved with practice.

How do I clean my teeth with braces on?

Pretty much the same way you do now. Flossing and using interdental brushes will also help reach the parts that toothbrushes can’t. Our oral health therapist will explain how to care for your braces at your fitting appointment.

Can I take my Invisalign aligner out?

Yes. Invisalign is designed to be removed when you eat and when you clean your teeth. You should keep it in at other times, including at night.

How do I clean my Invisalign aligner?

At your insertion appointment, you will be shown all the cleaning procedures required to keep your Invisalign looking great!

Is Invisalign right for everyone?

No, not everyone. If you need more complex treatment, braces may be more effective. This doesn’t mean you have to endure the big clunky metal braces of the past. These days, there are other discreet treatment options to suit your lifestyle, such as Incognito and Clarity. Talk to your orthodontist about the best options.

Can Incognito help all orthodontic conditions?

Yes. Incognito can be used to correct all orthodontic conditions in both adults and teens. To find out what makes Incognito such a successful treatment option, visit our Incognito page. For a cost comparison with other options, take a look at some of our different  treatment types.

Can I eat anything I like with Incognito fitted?

You can eat most things with Incognito, but you should avoid hard sticky sweets like toffees. You will need to cut up some foods, like apples, raw carrots and crusty rolls, and try to avoid gnawing meat on the bone or corn on the cob. Your ethos orthodontist will be happy to give you full instructions.

Why is treatment so fast?

Ethos lite is fast because it only treats relatively minor cases. It’s designed for people who already have a good bite and don’t require any major structural changes. In fact, ethos lite only focuses on your front six teeth – your ‘smile teeth’. These aesthetic adjustments don’t take as long to take effect as changes to the bite, and dramatic results can usually be seen in the first 3-6 months. Of course, another reason why the treatment is so successful, so soon, is because we know exactly what we are doing – and have the streamlined systems and established practice network to keep things running smoothly. To find out whether ethos lite is right for you, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. At ethos, that’s something we excel at, because we don’t want anyone in braces longer than they should be!

Is quick orthodontic treatment as effective as traditional cases?

Absolutely! If you qualify as an ethos lite candidate, you can still expect amazing, long-lasting results. You just won’t have to wait as long because you don’t need the full treatment required in complex cases. And because ethos are experts in retention, you will also have the best post-treatment care, keeping your teeth in place and your ongoing treatment on track.

If it’s simple, can my dentist perform my treatment?

We would always recommend seeing a specialist. While some dentists may have basic training in some of the treatment products, it’s not their specific area of expertise. Ethos orthodontists have studied for a minimum of three extra years to qualify as orthodontists, and do this kind of work every day. We will listen carefully to your needs and take a genuine interest in the outcome. We also guarantee accurate diagnosis and an all-inclusive quote at the start of the treatment – so there are no surprises with costs.

I don’t really need orthodontics, is it worth it?

Only you can answer this question. Ethos lite is an aesthetic treatment option that patients choose to have but don’t need to have. It can be a great idea for anyone who wants to straighten crooked teeth, close gaps, enhance a smile or boost confidence. It’s also a great way to improve speech difficulties, and avoid injuries caused by protruding teeth. Of course, having perfectly aligned teeth will help you keep your teeth clean too, which is great for oral health. Talk to your ethos orthodontist to discuss your options.

Can I set up a payment plan for my ethos lite treatment?

Yes. Ethos offer a variety of payment methods, including our interest free monthly payment plans that help to spread out the costs of your treatment. You can find out more about your options here.

Am I too old for treatment?

You are never too old to take control of your life and make the changes you want. ethos lite is a suitable treatment for people of all ages, from teens and children with less complex needs to adults who are seeking small, but significant changes. Many adults get braces these days and there are some very discreet treatment options available, such as Incognito and Invisalign. We’ve recently had an 80-year-old patient undergo ethos lite treatment to improve her teeth for her granddaughter’s wedding!