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.

Can you use activated charcoal with braces?

You are able to use activated charcoal on your teeth with braces, however, be careful as brushing too hard with charcoal teeth whitening powder can hurt the enamel. This mineral is rather abrasive and you should only lightly graze the teeth when brushing with charcoal in order to avoid chipping or scratching the teeth surface.

Does removing your braces hurt?

Getting your braces off can feel a lot like getting them to put on. The oral health therapist will remove the brackets off your teeth and glue off your mouth. While it doesn’t hurt, the sensation may not feel any different than how your teeth feel after you’ve had a wire adjustment. You may experience some tooth sensitivity after having your braces removed.

How to tell if you have a cavity with braces?

In the early stages of a cavity developing there may be no feeling or discomfort. There are no nerves in the tooth enamel therefore when the decay is in that layer it is possible you won’t feel anything. However when the decay progresses, you may feel sensitivity and some pain. It is best to see your dentist and South East Orthodontics if you suspect you may be developing a cavity.

Can braces correct overbite for your child?

Yes, they can. First, the braces are fastened to your child’s teeth and then connected to a metal wire to straighten and align their teeth. Once that step is successfully done, your orthodontist will work on fixing your child’s overbite. Rubber bands, coils and springs are added to the braces to shift the jawline into place. The whole process depends on your child’s teeth and can take from six months up to two years. During the process, it’s extremely important to maintain good oral hygiene so as to prevent any bacteria and decay.

Can retainers fix crooked teeth?

For some people, yes retainers can straighten their teeth, but it depends on how much straightening needs to be done. For adults, retainers will only be viable if overcrowding of the teeth is limited and the straightening needed or desired by you is minor. Otherwise, you might have to look at alternative straightening methods. For children, you can only get retainers if you are experiencing malocclusion. This is when your bite is out alignment, the other condition is if you have an underdeveloped palate or narrow upper jaw.

Am I too old for braces?

No, you’re not. It’s often looked at as a treatment for teenagers and younger children but the fact is adults can also go for this treatment to straighten their teeth. Regardless of age, the process is the same, through physiology the teeth are moved through bone. At an older age, your bones might be denser but they can definitely still move. The only thing that might be different is the time period. Due to the higher bone density, it might take a little longer to move around the teeth. It’s import to be treated by an Orthodontist as they have years of formal training and experience in such cases.

Should I stop taking medication that is causing me bad breath?

It is advisable to never stop taking medication until you’ve consulted with your healthcare professional. They might be able to change your medication or dosage without you having to stop treatment. Discussing your concerns with them will make sure they are better equipped with dealing with your bad breathe side effect and treat you accordingly.

Why does my tongue have to brushed? Is this recommended medically?

Your tongue, like your teeth and gums, is susceptible to being infected with plaque and bacteria that can cause infections and yes, bad breath. A thrush can overtake your tongue if its not cleaned regularly and that can produce a bad odour. The thicker the layer of thrush on your tongue, the worse the odour becomes.

Can menopause cause me bad breath?

Unfortunately, yes menopause can cause you bad breath, as any fluctuation in one’s hormones puts them at risk of developing bad breath. The fluctuation also puts you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. During the menopause period, your saliva being produced can get affected and cause you dry mouth which results in bad breath. Your bone density also gets affected and that affects your jaws, that can lead you to suffer from tooth decay and ultimately tooth decay also causes bad breath.

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.

When is it too late for braces?

There is no age limit on getting braces. In the past, it was more popular for children to get braces; however, it has become more and more common for adults to get braces than ever before. Getting braces in adults is not only for superficial reasons but also to better their overall oral health and combat common dental issues such as cavities and gum disease. Braces are an easily manageable way to correct your teeth and there are many options available to adults that are more discreet than metal braces such as Invisalign™ and lingual braces.

Why do adults wear braces?

Most adults get braces to improve their smile’s appearance and in many cases, they were not able to get braces as children or young adults. If you have crooked or uneven teeth, not only this does not only make for an uneven smile but it also makes it more difficult to clean your teeth. Not being able to clean your teeth properly can cause a plethora of oral health issues such as tooth decay, gum disease and bad breath. If this irregularity persists it may cause an uneven bite which can cause jaw and neck concerns as well as making it difficult for you to chew.

What are my choices for adult braces?

The first is traditional braces which have evolved as much as any other treatment and are still the most effective way to treat major orthodontics concerns. They are now far more comfortable and can be easily integrated into your smile. The second is lingual braces which are the same as traditional braces except for them being fitted to the interior of your teeth so they remain unseen. The last kind is Invisalign™ which is similar to mouthguards and are replaced every 2 weeks. They are a set of 16-30 custom aligners that are detachable and fitted over your teeth.

Are there foods I cannot eat while I have braces?

To make sure that your braces aren’t damaged and your progress halted, there are certain foods you should avoid. Patients are advised to stay away from foods that are sticky, chewy and hard such as toffee, chewing gum, ice and nuts. The reason for this is that these foods often damage or completely break braces, which naturally is something that you should prevent wherever possible so that your treatment can be completed timely. Repair appointments can be easily avoided if you properly take care of your braces. If you have more questions about your dietary requirements while you have braces, please let us know.

How often should I brush my teeth while in braces?

Practising good oral hygiene is imperative while you are undergoing any orthodontic treatment because it could lead to major complications if you don’t. Tooth decay, cavities and periodontal disease are all major concerns when you neglect your oral hygiene. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day though a good rule of thumb would be after every meal, but before sleep, so roughly 3 or 4 times a day. However, once you start your

treatment, your we will give you all of the tools to aid you with your oral care. These items include a mouth rinses, toothpastes, flossing aids and special toothbrushes to make looking after your smile simpler and easier.

What’s the best age to visit the orthodontist?

The fantastic thing about orthodontics in the modern age, is that you can receive treatment at any stage of your life. With the developments in the comfort and efficacy of braces and orthodontic treatment, we can treat you more quickly and more discreetly than ever before. We usually recommend that you bring in your child somewhere around 7 years old and even though orthodontics are more effective in your child’s teen years, our adult orthodontic treatments can help you achieve your dream smile. Many patients decide to receive treatment later in life because they may not have had the opportunity or necessity to do so and they benefit greatly from their smile being straight.

What happens when your braces are put on?

During your first consultation with us, we will thoroughly assess your smile in order to formulate a customised treatment plan that will address your orthodontic issues. We will also answer any questions you may have concerning your braces and will continue to educate you about how to keep them clean and comfortable. Firstly, we will polish your teeth so that your teeth are primed for the adhesive. Then the bonding glue is applied connecting your brackets. The archwire is then slid through and held in place by the elastics and you are on your way to a straighter smile.

How much do braces cost?

The cost of your treatment will depend on a number of factors including the complexity of your case, how long you’ll need to wear them, how well you follow our instructions and take care of your braces and the type of braces you choose. At our first consultation, we will work with you to find an option that suits your budget, expectations and unique requirements. Braces are a long-term investment in you or your child’s oral and dental future and can end up saving you money further down the line by preventing any potential concerns before they become too severe.

What are the benefits of braces?

There a number of fantastic benefits to having braces and there is a common saying that is rooted in truth and it says, “A straight smile, is a healthy smile”. This is because when your teeth and jaws are properly aligned you at less risk of suffering orthodontic issues later in life. The purpose behind braces is to alleviate any present or future dental health problems and of course to straighten your teeth if they are crooked or misaligned. Having braces also means that when your teeth eventually straighten, they are much easier to clean and maintain.

How do I wear my elastics?

When you have your braces fitted, we don’t only rely on the metals and wires that are attached to your teeth. We also use elastics to provide a constant source of correcting force for your teeth and they are incredibly simple to use. Every time that you come in to see us we will also ensure that you know exactly what to do with them and how to use them effectively.

Am I too old for braces?

The answer to this is a simple one. You are never too old for braces and even though orthodontic treatments are more effective in your adolescence, they can still provide you with excellent results and a smile that you can flash with confidence everywhere you go. In fact, there has been significant growth in the number of people who are opting for adult braces and other orthodontic treatments. Most adult braces patients choose to get braces to correct aesthetic concerns but they can also make dramatic changes to more severe problems concerned with your teeth and jaws.

Do you want straight teeth?

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  • Find Us
    2/31 Clyde Rd, Berwick VIC 3806
  • Phone
    03 9796 2794
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  • 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.

Invisalign offers a discreet and effective way to straighten your teeth. If you are looking for more information about how Invisalign can help to improve your smile, download our free guide!
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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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