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Considering orthodontic treatment? Here’s what you’re missing out on by not seeing an orthodontist

June 29, 2018
Considering orthodontic treatment? Here’s what you’re missing out on by not seeing an orthodontist

If you’ve been doing your due diligence ahead of making an appointment for yourself or your child to have an orthodontic assessment, you may have heard of some orthodontic companies opening up shop in Australia. But by not seeing a specialist orthodontist for your child’s orthodontic treatment, you may be putting the health of their teeth and gums at risk.

What is short-term orthodontics?

A number of short-term,”quick” orthodontic treatment products and methods have appeared on the dental landscape in recent years. These treatments are often promoted as a quicker and more cost-effective alternative to the orthodontic treatment options provided by specialist orthodontists. These orthodontic treatment alternatives are commonly referred to as ‘fast’, ‘rapid’, ‘quick’ or ‘six-month’ orthodontic treatments, or more generically, short-term orthodontics.

These braces products do not move teeth any faster than the conventional metal or clear braces provided by specialist orthodontists.

These treatment methods are marketed as more rapid treatment, however, the actual mechanics of tooth movement and speed of  alignment of the teeth is exactly the same as traditional orthodontics.  The major difference between the two is that “quick” braces only aim to align the front six teeth, therefore “quick” braces are simply removed sooner. Premature removal of braces generally results in an incomplete correction of the orthodontic problems.

Short-term orthodontic treatment options are predominantly only offered to consumers by general dentists because in most cases the outcomes from these procedures would be considered incomplete, compromised or an “under-treatment” by specialist orthodontic standards.

What do you miss out on by not seeing an orthodontist?

If you want your child to have the most successful and effective orthodontic treatment possible, then you should make an appointment with a specialist orthodontist. Here’s what you or your child is missing out on by not seeing an orthodontist:

Expert adjustments

Whether it’s a change in wire, removal of a bracket or the addition of elastics, having an orthodontist in your corner give you confidence that your child will always receive the best care. Their knowledge and experience helps them to make the right decisions at every stage of the orthodontic treatment, to help their teeth move into their new position safely and efficiently.

Regular monitoring

While years of study and practice helps orthodontists predict what will be the best method for straightening teeth, every person is different. Regular appointments with an orthodontist are required throughout the course of an orthodontic treatment so that adjustments can be made to keep the treatment on track in case anything unexpected happens. This is something that is often missing from mail-order and DIY options.

Early intervention

Orthodontists are experts at identifying early orthodontic issues. Whether you want to bring your child in for an early assessment to see if they’ll require Phase I (ie. early) treatment, or are concerned that your child’s braces aren’t progressing correctly, an orthodontist is the best person to give you qualified advice.

Peak industry knowledge

Orthodontists focus on straightening teeth and correcting bad bites. It’s what they do – all day, every day. This extends to help them focus on learning more about orthodontics, keeping them at the forefront of new technology as well as the advantages and disadvantages of all treatment options.

How to tell if you’re seeing an orthodontist

It’s a common misconception that anyone who is offering orthodontic services is an orthodontist. A specialist orthodontist actually starts out as a fully qualified dentist, who then goes on to complete an additional three years of full-time university study to specialise in orthodontics. General dentists who provide orthodontic treatment have often only completed short courses over a single or a few weekends, which is precisely why the Australian Health Practitioner’s Regulation Agency (AHPRA) does NOT recognise these part-time or short courses as true and proper specialist training.

The best way to tell if you’re seeing an ASO member and registered specialist orthodontist is to use our Finder Tool. You can search by name or practice to see if they’re registered with the Australian Society of Orthodontists, or search by location to find a specialist orthodontist near you.

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