How do you know if you’re seeing the best person for your orthodontic care?

When considering orthodontic treatment as an adult, you want to be confident that you’ve selected the right practitioner for your smile. As well as specialist orthodontists, there are also many general dentists who offer basic orthodontic services so knowing who you should see can be confusing. There are also potentially dangerous mail-order “DIY” treatment options appearing on the market – these should definitely be avoided.

While there might be a number of factors that help you decide which provider is right for you, there are some important differences to consider when deciding whether to see a specialist orthodontist or a general dentist.

Why should I see an orthodontist for my orthodontic treatment?

Orthodontists are fully trained and registered specialists. After completing their general dental degree, they returned to university for another 3 years of full-time study to become a specialist in orthodontics. This means that they are trained to provide all types of orthodontic treatments, from plates, braces and lingual “inside” braces through to clear aligner treatments such as Invisalign®.

This additional study allowed them to focus their attention on straightening teeth, as well as diagnosing and correcting irregularities of the face and jaw. This is what they do best. In fact, it’s what they do all day, every day.

How to tell if you’re seeing an orthodontist

There are many ways you can be sure what type of practitioner (i.e. general dentist or specialist Orthodontist) you’re seeing and to feel confident in making the best decision for your smile, whether you’re in their waiting room or searching online.

See what services they offer. While Orthodontists were once dentists, they no longer practice general dentistry, instead focusing solely on orthodontic procedures. If your orthodontic practitioner also offers general dental services, such as cleanings, fillings and teeth whitening then they are almost certainly not an orthodontist.

Look for the Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO) or the Orthodontics Australia logos. These logos will be clearly displayed at their practice or online, and only qualified orthodontists are eligible to become members of the ASO and have access to these materials.

Check their official registration details with AHPRA at www.ahpra.gov.au. This government regulatory body keeps track of all practicing health practitioners and their qualifications. An orthodontist will be registered with AHPRA as both a general dentist and a specialist dentist. If your orthodontic provider is missing the second qualification (i.e. no “specialist dentist” registration), they’re obviously not a specialist Orthodontist.

Check you’re seeing an orthodontist now

Whether you have a provider in mind and want to check if they’re really a registered specialist Orthodontist, or are just beginning your search for a practitioner and want some suggestions for one near you, you can use our new tool to search the ASO database here.

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