The value of seeing a specialist Orthodontist

You may have typed ‘Invisalign Sydney’ into a Google search and found a great practice with great reviews. Or maybe your friend recommended the dentist where she had her veneers. Perhaps the dentist you’ve seen every six months for the past 3 years has asked you if you wanted to straighten up those front teeth that have been bothering you - ‘did you know he could do that for you’?

More than ever, general dentists are taking 3 day courses in orthodontics, learning to design a smile plan through commercial companies rather than universities or professional bodies. Such courses could not possibly provide the breadth and depth of knowledge that a Specialist Orthodontist acquires in the 3 years they spend completing a Master of Orthodontics. This rising trend for general dentists to perform orthodontics impacts patients in a number of ways:

1. The number of complaints to AHPRA, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Industry, is rising rapidly, with complaints relating to this issue being the highest of any type of complaint in the dental industry. Patients are sadly suffering the consequences of this, with botched orthodontic treatments and unsafe practices on the rise - the Australian Society of Orthodontics regularly reviews these commercial courses and has failed to find any that adequately train dentists to plan or perform complex orthodontic treatments.

2. Patients are also suffering financially, although often unknowingly; many health funds pay a lower benefit to their patients if the practitioner providing the treatment is not a specialist orthodontist.

3. Another financial consequence is that, as an orthodontist is far more skilled at planning orthodontic treatment, specialist orthodontists are often able to perform a shorter course of treatment, saving the patient both time and money.

4. Major regulating bodies recommend seeing a specialist for any orthodontic care. The rise in dentists offering cheap, one-size-fits-all treatments is leaving a gap in patient care as some cases are better treated with braces or functional appliances than simple clear aligners, which may be the only appliance your general dentist can recommend. Having a regular general dentist is crucial to your overall dental health, and for the most part, dentists and orthodontists can collaborate to ensure you have both a straight, beautiful smile and a healthy set of teeth too. Edgecliff Orthodontics is a specialist only practice, and each time* you come in to have your braces adjusted or your Invisalign™ checked, you will be seen by one of our qualified orthodontists, Dr. Christine Underhill or Dr. Medy Liong.

*excludes basic diagnostic record appointments such as having photographs taken or 3D scanning, which are done by our talented treatment coordination team.