ORTHODONTICS TREATMENT PROCEDURES AND COSTS
PRE – TREATMENT:
In order to change your smile from its crooked state to a thing of beauty, your orthodontist will
need to perform a detailed investigation of your mouth and figure out how to make the teeth
and jaws move into the most pleasing and functional position. Orthodontic treatment begins
with X-rays and molds of the patient’s teeth and progresses to a detailed treatment plan.
After you have made the decision to have dental braces and, importantly, your orthodontist
feels that dental braces are necessary, you will have a records appointment. A diagnostic
records appointment is basically a dental visit in which you have all of the studies performed so
that the orthodontist can determine the best orthodontic treatment plan for you.
A records appointment includes specific X-ray studies including panoramic and cephalometric
X-rays. Just like other X-rays, these orthodontic treatment X-rays are not painful but they do
provide a wealth of information for the orthodontist. Panoramic X-rays take a single image of
both rows of teeth while cephalometric X-rays give the orthodontist a picture of the roots and
Your orthodontist will often take several pictures during the pretreatment phase of orthodontic
treatment. These will include detailed images of the face with the mouth open and closed.
These dental photographs will include intraoral (inside the mouth) and profile photographs as
well. These photographs will be used to document orthodontic treatment progress and may be
used as “before and after” photos if you agree to allow them to be used in that way.
ACTIVE TREATMENT FITTING AND FIRST DAY:
Dental braces are a new experience and create new sensations in your mouth—there is no
getting around that fact. For the most part, you will experience a feeling of pressure rather than
pain. This pressure is from the forces of the dental braces on your teeth. The edges of the
brackets, wires, and other objects in your mouth will feel strange and foreign at first. As with
most sensations, you will get used to it. Think about your clothes. You felt them when you put
them on this morning but you don’t really notice them as you go through your day. The parts of
braces are like any other foreign object. If it is a continuing problem, try applying wax to
irritating parts of braces.
Active treatment – The first week
Your dental braces may actually cause a bit of pain over the first week. Again, there is no
getting around this except to take over the counter pain medicine. The pain comes from the
large amounts of pressure needed to move your teeth. This pressure/pain does not last very
long and many people say that it goes away within the first couple of days after getting braces
Every three to six weeks you will need to return to the orthodontist for an adjustment to your
dental braces. The orthodontist will examine your teeth for progress and make adjustments to
the parts of your braces to keep active treatment moving along as it should.
Caring For Your Teeth While Wearing Braces
When you get traditional braces, oral health care becomes a little different. Traditional braces,
with various metal components and cemented pieces, will stay on your teeth for months or
years. As such, the way you take care of your mouth will have to change in order to
accommodate these things. If you follow some simple steps and are properly prepared, the
changes you make to your daily dental care routine should be easy to implement. In fact, the
oral hygiene habits that you learn and practice when you are wearing braces will serve your
mouth well after the dental braces are removed.
Improving your at home tooth cleaning regimen
Most of us learned to brush our teeth with a regular, straight (probably hard or medium bristle)
toothbrush. Flossing was done intermittently if at all. If this is your current routine, you will
need to step up your game, especially if you are getting dental braces. First of all, if you are
going to use a toothbrush, it should have soft bristles. Hard or medium bristle toothbrushes
will wear away the enamel of your teeth and irritate/damage your delicate gums.
A better solution is to invest in a water pick (Or similar products by Waterpik, Sonicare, and
Panasonic, etc.) for cleaning your teeth. A dental irrigator forces a narrow jet of water through
a fine tip. In a way, a water pick can be thought of as a high pressure hose for cleaning the
mouth. The irrigator has the advantage of being able to reach more crevices and places than a
The other useful investment that you may not currently use in your home oral care routine is an
interdental cleaner. While there are several different designs, the basic concept to all
interdental cleaners is that they can be placed directly between teeth at any spot. This is in
contrast to dental floss which needs to be slid in between teeth all along its length. Obviously
the arch wire of traditional braces makes flossing more difficult. Interdental cleaners are an
affordable quick way to get around this issue (literally).
Always have a way to clean your teeth
People that wear braces are encouraged to buy or compile a travel kit for keeping their teeth
clean. At a minimum, a travel kit for orthodontics patients should include:
• A toothbrush or battery operated water pick or cordless oral irrigator
• A small tube of toothpaste
• Interdental cleaners
• A bottle of mouthwash
THE COSTS OF BRACES:
• If you are researching the cost of braces you have probably found that it is difficult to
get an accurate estimate of what braces cost. This is mostly because the cost of braces
will vary considerably based on a number of factors.
• The average cost of braces will vary from practice to practice and would estimate
anything around R30000 for the period of treatment and should include checkups and
will take up to 20 months to complete
• Orthodontic treatment is a little more expensive in adults than it is in adolescents.
Likewise, braces are more expensive for adolescents than for children.
• The type of braces that you choose will dictate the cost of braces. Traditional braces,
that is, braces with metal brackets on the front of the teeth, can cost between R30000
to R50000. This includes consultations, X-rays, active treatment and retention,
depending on the practice or instituion.
• If you would like ceramic brackets, which look more like the color of natural teeth than
metal, expect to pay an additional R20000. In addition to the composition of the
brackets, there are a number of add-on features that can be purchased which increase
the cost of braces.
• If you are interested in hiding your braces as much as possible, there are two main
choices, clear dental braces and lingual braces. Invisalign braces cost about the same as
traditional braces. In fact the lower range of Invisalign braces cost is about the same as
the lower end of metal bracket braces and the higher end of the Invisalign braces cost
range is equal to the upper range of ceramic bracket braces.
• For patients that want their orthodontic treatment to be discreet and have fairly
misaligned teeth or malocclusion, lingual braces are the only real option. Lingual braces
are similar to traditional braces except that the brackets are on the tongue side of the
teeth. Lingual braces tend to be rather expensive and not every orthodontist is trained
to install them.
Complexity of orthodontic treatment
• Only your orthodontist can give you an estimate of how difficult your particular case will
be to treat effectively, but it stands to reason that if your teeth are nearly straight and
mostly well-aligned that your cost of braces will be lower than someone with a severe
malocclusion and extensive crowding. Your orthodontist can give you a rough idea
about the complexity of your case at the first full examination.