Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry which concentrates on the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of problems in the alignment of the teeth and jaws.
‘Ortho’ means correct, right or straighten and ‘dontic’ refers to teeth.
‘Occlusion’ is the alignment of the upper and lower teeth when the jaw is closed. (Also known as “bite”). Malocclusion refers to an abnormality of the bite.
Orthodontic treatment involves the use of corrective appliances (such as braces, plates and functional appliances) to bring the teeth and jaws into ‘normal’ alignment.
What is an orthodontist?
Any dentist can practice orthodontics (to varying degrees) but to become a specialist orthodontist you must successfully complete of a further 3 years of additional university training, research and examinations.
An orthodontist not only straightens teeth but is also interested in the bite, facial profile and facial growth.
Some members of the public are often confused as to whether they are seeing a specialist orthodontist, or someone who has an interest in orthodontics. Some general dentists have an interest in orthodontics and are competent to treat various simple orthodontic problems. More comprehensive treatment is generally performed by specialists.
We would suggest an orthodontist checklist as follows:
Hold university degree of Master of Dental Science or equivalent.
Registered as a specialist with the Dental Practice Board of Victoria
Member of Australian Society of Orthodontists
Certified/Accredited with the Australian Orthodontic Board