Choosing the Right Orthodontist

Orthodontists help you achieve a healthy, beautiful and functional smile. This involves straightening teeth and moving the jaw into their correct alignment to restore correct biting and chewing function and to improve aesthetics.

Like any dental or medical professional, the orthodontist you choose will have a significant role in your well-being. This makes it important to choose an orthodontist who is experienced and fully qualified, and who you feel comfortable with. Here are a few considerations to help you choose the right orthodontist.


Orthodontic treatment usually involves 1.5 to 2 years of active treatment (where the appliance is in the mouth) followed by 2 to 3 years of retention and follow up. During the active treatment phase, you’ll usually see your orthodontist every 6 to 8 weeks.

Returning to the clinic every few weeks is important for your treatment as it gives the orthodontist the opportunity to make tiny adjustments as necessary and ensure everything’s on track and going well. These regular visits mean it is ideal for you to find an orthodontist in your area.

Referrals and Recommendations

If you’re unsure about how to find an orthodontist in your area, ask your dentist for a recommendation. You don’t need a referral to book an appointment with an orthodontist so there’s no need to see a dentist first if you don’t want to.

Keep in mind that a dentist recommendation doesn’t always guarantee a quality service. Always do some independent research and interview the orthodontist to ensure you’re being treated by someone who is qualified, experienced, professional and ethical.

At the very least, an orthodontist should:

have a Bachelor degree in Dentistry (a 5 year full-time university course)
have a Master’s degree in Orthodontics (a 3-4 year full-time university course)
be registered as a specialist in orthodontics by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA)

A good way of finding a qualified orthodontist is to search the Australian Society of Orthodontics directory for an orthodontist near you.

What to Ask

When you meet potential orthodontists, there are key things to consider or ask about. For example, not all orthodontists provide the same services, while others are more experienced in certain techniques or more proficient with newer technology.

Other points to ask about include:

Previous work – do they have before and after photos or client testimonials? These can be handy when determining the experience and expertise of an orthodontist

Treatment options – developments in orthodontic technology mean there are a range of treatment methods available. Look into these on their website and ask about them in detail when you meet them

Treatment process – do they use the latest technologies and best materials? do they offer multiple choices and tailor their treatment to individual cases? What’s their availability like and how big is their team?

Cost and finance – orthodontic treatment is a significant financial investment. Good orthodontists understand this and provide payment plans to help with the cost. Make sure you get full quotes and compare these with others

Communication methods – does the orthodontist explain the problems and treatment clearly? You have a right to understand the treatment process and the results and feel comfortable speaking with them about it

Number of patients – while a restaurant with people lining up can be a good sign of quality, the opposite is true in healthcare. An orthodontic clinic with a waiting room packed full of frustrated patients and agitated kids is a bad sign.

Beware of orthodontists who claim to offer quick fixes. Creating healthy, brilliant smiles takes time and investment. Fast treatments can lead to unsatisfactory results or worse – could cause more damage.

Orthodontist in Newcastle

An orthodontist has a responsibility to minimise discomfort and achieve the best possible results. This is something Dr Peter Vaughan and his team prioritises and values highly. If you need an orthodontist in Newcastle, get in touch with us to find out more about our practice and our treatment methods.

Call 02 4956 2020 or schedule an appointment online.

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