Questions to ask your orthodontic provider to check they’re right for you
Finding the right orthodontic provider can help you to feel confident that you’ve made the best decision for your child’s smile. But much like any good working relationship, you need to consider all your options to ensure you’re making the right choice for your family. It can be hard for people to tell the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist, but in a complicated area like orthodontics, the distinction is an important one.
To ensure you’re seeing the right person for the job, here are 5 questions to ask your potential orthodontic provider before beginning treatment.
What qualifications do you hold?
An orthodontist must have completed a recognized general dental degree and be qualified as an AHPRA registered specialist in the field or orthodontics. To be properly qualified, an orthodontist must hold both of these degrees.
Where did you study orthodontics?
To become an orthodontist, you must complete an AHPRA approved university course, specialising in orthodontics. There are currently only five universities in Australia and one in New Zealand offering this specialisation: University of Adelaide, University of Melbourne, University of Sydney, University of Western Australia, University of Queensland and University of Otago in Dunedin, NZ. As several overseas universities are recognised by AHPRA as accredited institutions, you can always check the AHPRA website to ensure that your orthodontic provider is a specialist.
How long did you study to become an orthodontist?
After completing their general dental degree, an orthodontist returns to university to complete their specialisation in orthodontics. This is a 3-year full-time course. Anything less than that and they are unlikely to be an AHPRA registered orthodontist.
What is AHPRA?
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) keeps a record of all medical professionals and the type of registration they have. This details the scope of their registration and what they’re legally entitled to offer. For example, an orthodontist should be registered as both a general dentist and a specialist dentist, whereas a dentist offering orthodontic services will only be registered as a general dentist per their qualifications.
Are you a member of the ASO?
The Australian Society of Orthodontists is the peak body representing the orthodontic profession in Australia. While not all Australian orthodontists are members of the ASO, all ASO members are AHPRA registered orthodontists. Any orthodontic providers who are not specialists will not be eligible for membership within the ASO.
Consult a specialist orthodontist
You can use our new Orthodontist Finder Tool to search by location and find a specialist orthodontist near you. Already have someone in mind? You can also enter your orthodontic provider’s name or practice and we’ll be able to tell you if they’re a registered specialist orthodontist who is a member of the Australian Society of Orthodontists.