An orthodontist is a dental specialist who has completed 5 years of study as a dentist, then an additional 3 years full time training in the specialist field of orthodontics. All orthodontists are required to be registered in the Specialist Registry of the Dental Board of Australia.

An orthodontist is the most qualified health professional to diagnose, prevent and treat problems you may have with the alignment of your teeth and jaws.

The Australian Society of Orthodontics recommends your child see an orthodontist by 7 years of age to assess whether orthodontic treatment is needed, and if so when to start.

The first permanent molars and incisors have usually come into the mouth by this time and cross-bites, crowding and other problems can be evaluated.

If your child requires treatment and it commences early, the orthodontist can guide the growth of the jaw and the incoming permanent teeth.

The type of early orthodontic treatment varies between patients and may include removable or fixed appliances that can provide more room for crowded, erupting teeth; preserve space for unerupted teeth; create facial symmetry through modifying jaw growth; reduce the possibility of tooth extraction; and reduce overall treatment time in braces.

In other words, early treatment can simplify, or even remove the need for, treatment required later.

No, a referral is not necessary in order to see an orthodontist.

The majority of cases do not require extraction so the decision to remove teeth is not taken lightly.

A thorough diagnosis and assessment of the face, smile and mouth is required to decide on the need for extractions. A small percentage of patients will benefit from teeth extractions.

The aim of orthodontic treatment is to give you the best smile now and in the future.

Everyone is different – treatment varies between people.

Your orthodontist will discuss the costs and length of treatment with you after assessing your teeth and discussing the available treatment options.