Orthodontic treatment usually involves 1.5-2 years of active treatment (when the appliance is in the mouth), followed by 2-3 years of retention and follow up. During the active treatment phase, you will usually see the orthodontist every 6-8 weeks therefore it is important to find the right orthodontist for you and your children.

An orthodontist is a specialist who has undertaken extra three years of post-graduate studies on top of their general dental degree. In Australia, the Orthodontics program is offered only at the following Universities – Adelaide, Melbourne, Queensland, Sydney and Western Australia. Most doctors will complete a minimum of 3-4 years of general practice before embarking on their specialist degree.

Some general dentists will offer orthodontics and refer the more complex cases. Orthodontists do not undertake fillings or extractions. They limit their practice to orthodontics only.

It is important to find out whether the orthodontist is a member of Australian Society of Orthodontists (ASO). If you are ever in a situation whereby you have to move interstate and transfer to another orthodontist, orthodontists that are part of the ASO will be able to transfer your records as well as the fees received to the transferring orthodontist. All members are bound by a transfer formula which means a smooth transition for the patient.

You may also want to ask whether your orthodontist is board certified. The Australasian Orthodontic Board members submit treated cases for peer review to ensure they are always up to date with the latest orthodontic practice, standard of care and clinical developments.

Free consultations may not be done by an orthodontist and therefore does not involve a full assessment of the teeth and the jaws. Ask which part of the treatment will be carried out by the orthodontist versus other staff members. Fees should be transparent. Finally, make sure that you feel at ease with the orthodontist. You should never feel rushed when asking questions or making enquiries.