Our aim at South East Orthodontics is to provide the highest quality of orthodontics care in a friendly, fun environment, with harmonious staff and a constant drive to improve all aspects of our treatments and service.

Orthodontic First Aid

True orthodontic emergencies are very rare, but when they do occur, we are available to you. As a general rule, you should call the office when you experience severe pain or when you have a painful appliance problem that you can’t take care of yourself. We’ll be able to schedule an appointment to resolve the problem.

You might be surprised to learn that you may be able to temporarily solve many problems yourself until you schedule an appointment with our office. When working with your appliances, you need to know the names of the parts of your appliances so you are able to identify what part is broken or out of place. After alleviating your discomfort, it is very important that you still call our office as soon as possible to schedule a time to repair the problem. Allowing your appliance to remain damaged for an extended period of time may result in disruption to your treatment plan.

Loose Bracket or Band

If your bracket or band is still attached to the wire, you should leave it in place and put wax on it. If the wire comes out entirely, remove the loose bracket from the mouth.

Poking Wire

Using a pencil eraser, push the poking wire down or place wax on it to alleviate the discomfort. If a wire is long, you can carefully remove the segment by utilising nail clippers.

Loose Wire

Try to put the wire back into place using tweezers. If doing this and using wax doesn’t help, as a last resort use a small nail clipper to clip the wire behind the last tooth to which it is securely fastened. If your discomfort continues, place wax on it.

Loose appliance

If your appliance is poking you, place wax on the offending part of your appliance.

Headgear does not fit

Sometimes headgear discomfort is caused by not wearing the headgear as instructed by your orthodontist. Please refer to the instructions provided by your orthodontist. If the facebow is bent, please call our office for assistance. Surprisingly, the headgear may hurt less as it’s worn more, so be sure you’re getting in the prescribed hours.

Herbst or Cantilevered Bite Jumper (CBJ)

Herbst/CBJ emergencies are rare but when they do occur it is usually related to one of two things:

  1. Loose frame – usually this would involve a stainless steel crown which is no longer cemented to the molar tooth.  As the appliance is custom made, the stainless steel crowns fit very snugly around the crown of the molar tooth.  Should the frame be mobile, refit the frame on the appropriate tooth and it should stabilise the appliance temporarily.  Don’t eat chewy or sticky foods until the appliance is recemented.
  2. Loose arms – this can be reattached by screwing the loose arm portion back to the appropriate part of the frame.  You should have been supplied with a small Allan key to enable this.  If you do not have the Allan key, one can be purchased from a hardware store such as Bunnings.  The screw itself is housed within the end of the arm and cannot fall out.

General Soreness

When you get your braces on, you may feel general soreness in your mouth and teeth may be tender to biting pressures for three to five days. This can be relieved by rinsing your mouth with a warm saltwater mouthwash. Dissolve one teaspoonful of salt in 250ml of warm water, and rinse your mouth vigorously. Placing Bonjella or Orabase on the affected area may help; this can be found in a pharmacy. If the tenderness is severe, take whatever you normally take for headache or similar pain.

The lips, cheeks and tongue may also become irritated for one to two weeks as they toughen and become accustomed to the surface of the braces. You can put wax on the braces to lessen this. We’ll show you how!

First visit

At your first appointment with South East Orthodontics you will initially have photos of the teeth and face along with an x-ray of the teeth and one of the jaws, once this is completed you will see the orthodontist for a thorough examination where they will ascertain your specific concerns and then undertake a full examination of your face, teeth and jaws to prepare the appropriate treatment options for you.

Once the orthodontist has looked at your mouth, they will then discuss with you the options that are available to you including treatment time and costs involved and answer any questions you may have about this. Once the orthodontist has completed the discussion, you will then see our treatment coordinator who will give you a letter and financial documents and also discuss any financial changes you may need to make to the proposed financial agreement.

What do orthodontists do?

Orthodontists specialise in correcting problems relating to the arrangement of the teeth and jaws. You do not need a referral to see an orthodontist; however we will refer you back to your family dentist whenever necessary.

Why straighten teeth?

These days, with regular dental care, teeth should last a person’s lifetime. Crooked teeth and jaws can interfere with jaw function and speech, and lead to long term dental problems such as tooth wear and gum damage. Orthodontic treatment can help fix these problems. An attractive smile can also boost self-esteem.

What are records?

We will collect photographs of your face, teeth and bite; moulds of your teeth if necessary; and radiographs of your head, jaws and teeth. These are thoroughly analysed and an individualised treatment plan is formulated.

What is an orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a specialist dentist who has completed a 3 year full time specialist training course at a University, after their 5 years of dental training. They must be registered as specialists with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency. Orthodontists have undergone in-depth training to learn the skills necessary to manage the complexities of tooth movement and facial development guidance.

What is the best age for orthodontic treatment for children?

People of all ages (including adults) can have orthodontic treatment. The ideal time to commence treatment will depend on your individual problem. Some forms of treatment are best started when some baby teeth are still present, while other treatments require all permanent teeth be present. We suggest the age of 7-10 is an appropriate time for a child’s first orthodontic assessment. Coming at an early age will enable us to optimise all opportunities to get the most from all treatment available. Early treatment can sometimes be carried out to simplify later treatment, prevent the extraction of permanent teeth, or even prevent the development of problems that may require surgery to correct.

What are the signs that your child may need Orthodontic Treatment?

  • Breathing problems or snoring
  • Their teeth do not meet when their jaw is closed
  • Protruding front teeth
  • Speech difficulties
  • Early loss of teeth


How are appliances maintained?

Our staff will give thorough oral hygiene instruction for all the different appliances. We continually assess and monitor the oral hygiene and care of appliances as they are worn by patients and continue to give oral hygiene advice throughout treatment. Ongoing good oral hygiene is vital during orthodontic treatment.

If I have braces, do I still need dental check-ups every six months?

Yes. This is even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit their dentist regularly. With braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush can’t reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis and gum disease. Your dentist should work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while wearing braces.

Are braces guaranteed to fix my teeth?

Generally, braces have a high success rate, but the longevity of the results mainly depends on how well you take care of your teeth after the device is removed. Once your braces are removed, you will be given a removable retainer custom made for your mouth. This device will ensure that your teeth do not move out of place since your gums will still be soft and allow easy movement. If you do not use the retainer for the time instructed by your orthodontist (this will depend on your case), then your teeth will likely shift.

What can I do to ease the pain after I have my braces wire tightened?

The pain that follows after having your wires tightened should typically last for about 2-3 days. During this time, you can take over the counter pain killers to help ease the discomfort. Eating soft foods, using ice packs and drinking cool water may also help in relieving your pain for a short while.

Can braces weaken my teeth in the long run?

Teeth are moved within the gums during the course of braces treatment, but this will not weaken the tooth support if you have been good in maintaining the hygiene around the gums, teeth and braces.

Do I have to wait for my child's baby teeth to fall before seeing an orthodontist?

No. First phase orthodontics is carried out while your child still has their baby teeth in place. The treatment aims to correct alignment and bite problems, preventing it from escalating further. We advise that your child visit an orthodontist before 7 years old.

Do braces have an age limit?

No. Braces can be put at any age, as long as your gums and teeth are healthy.

Do you want straight teeth?

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  • Find Us
    2/31 Clyde Rd, Berwick VIC 3806
  • Phone
    03 9796 2794
  • Fax
    03 9796 1759
  • Email
  • Opening Hours
    Mon - Fri 8:30am - 5:30pm

Glen Iris Treatment Room

1564 Malvern Road,
Glen Iris VIC 3146

Available for all treatments with Dr Kip Homewood once every month on a Wednesday from 1.30pm to 6.30pm. Please contact our Berwick practice to make an appointment or enquiry.

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Early intervention often takes advantage of the fact that your child’s jaw is still growing and can reduce the likelihood of future definitive orthodontic treatment with braces, to learn more download our free children's orthodontics guide!
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