Learn more about everything from common orthodontic issues, to ongoing care and treatment. When should my child see an orthodontist?

The best time is when you first notice an irregularity in your child's teeth or bite. Your child's dentist or dental therapist may also refer you to see an orthodontist if they notice a problem. A check up while there are some baby teeth present may reveal that while immediate treatment may not be needed, orthodontic treatment may be required in future. In these cases, the orthodontist will see your child periodically to monitor their growth and development. This allows the orthodontist to determine the best time for starting treatment, as they can take advantage of your child's growth and intervene to ensure you get the best results possible. There are some issues that are much more difficult to treat once growth has stopped, so it is better to take your child in earlier rather than too late.

How do I make sure that I'm seeing a specialist orthodontist?

An orthodontist has had an extra 3 years full-time University based training focused solely on orthodontics. This makes them the person you can trust with your orthodontic treatment. To be able to call themselves a specialist orthodontist, they must be registered with the NZ Dental Council. You can use their website here to check whether the clinician you are seeing is an orthodontist. Or use our handy tool here (link pending)

Do I need a referral to an orthodontist?

The good news is no, you don’t need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist. Just check that your orthodontist is a registered specialist. If you need help to find an orthodontist or check they are a specialist you can use the tool on the bottom of this page.

How do I choose the best type of orthodontic treatment?

The best thing about seeing a specialist orthodontist is that they are familiar with all the different methods of orthodontic treatment - there is no "one size fits all". You can be confident your orthodontist can help you chose the best treatment for you or your child. If there is more than one option, your orthodontist will be able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make the best decision.  

How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment that can help you or your child make a great first impression with a confident smile. A number of factors determine the cost of treatment. The best way to determine the cost is to see your local orthodontist and ask. Most orthodontists will offer payment plan options to help spread the cost of treatment into more manageable chunks. Your orthodontist will be able to discuss the best payment option to meet your needs.

Will my child need teeth extracted as part of their treatment?

Your orthodontist’s recommendation will depend on many factors. The only way to get reliable information is to consult a specialist orthodontist. Your orthodontist will assess your child’s teeth, airways, and facial profile, and carefully measure the x-rays they take. They’ll give you a detailed explanation of the best treatment plan for your child.

We are often asked by parents if their child will require teeth out as part of their overall orthodontic treatment plan. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ response. Every patient who walks into an orthodontist’s clinic is unique. Thanks to our genes and the many external factors that impact on our development, everyone’s face and teeth grow differently. That’s why corrective orthodontics need to be fully customised to each person’s individual needs. Orthodontists never recommend teeth be extracted lightly. But there will always be a small percentage of cases where having teeth out is necessary to achieve the best results. For most orthodontists, the proportion of patients who require extractions is generally quite low – probably 10-20%.

My friend says their kids go to someone who "never" extracts teeth.

Be careful of such sweeping generalisations and make sure to get an opinion from a specialist orthodontist. Your smile is important, and it's important to get the best care possible. Sometimes tooth extractions are necessary to ensure that you have healthy teeth and gums that will last a lifetime.

If I transfer to a specialist will I have to pay extra?

Consultation fees vary from practice to practice, but a second opinion from a specialist orthodontist will commonly be charged at their usual initial consultation fee. All NZ orthodontists abide by fair and reasonable practice principles so you will only be charged for the appropriate proportion of the treatment you receive.  You will not be recharged for the portion of treatment completed by a different provider. If you have pre-paid for your treatment, you should be entitled to receive a full or partial refund from your provider. Everyone should expect honesty and transparency from their orthodontic provider. This extends to the practitioner telling their patient their actual qualifications and practicing all aspects of dentistry within their true and actual abilities depending on their level of training.

Why doesn’t my local orthodontist offer shorter treatments?

To help teeth transition to their new position and correct bad bites safely, orthodontic treatment needs to be a gradual process. Placing too much pressure on teeth can weaken their placement and cause damage to the roots and gums. This is why most orthodontic treatment plans take between 18 months to 2 years. If something is worth doing, it is definitely worth doing properly!

Most quick treatments are, in fact, identical to the initial stage of regular orthodontic treatments. The only difference is that rather than the patient completing a full course of regular orthodontic treatment  (where jaws and all teeth are properly aligned), a quick treatment generally does not extend beyond the early cosmetic stage. This means that while the front teeth will appear straight, any underlying bite issues will often be left uncorrected. Only a specialist orthodontist has the training, knowledge and clinical expertise to distinguish which types of patients can be safely finished in a faster than average timeframe and which patients require comprehensive management.

  • When should my child see an orthodontist?
  • How do I make sure that I'm seeing a specialist orthodontist?
  • Do I need a referral to an orthodontist?
  • How do I choose the best type of orthodontic treatment?
  • How much does orthodontic treatment cost?
  • Will my child need teeth extracted as part of their treatment?
  • My friend says their kids go to someone who "never" extracts teeth.
  • If I transfer to a specialist will I have to pay extra?
  • Why doesn’t my local orthodontist offer shorter treatments?

When should my child see an orthodontist?

The best time is when you first notice an irregularity in your child's teeth or bite. Your child's dentist or dental therapist may also refer you to see an orthodontist if they notice a problem. A check up while there are some baby teeth present may reveal that while immediate treatment may not be needed, orthodontic treatment may be required in future. In these cases, the orthodontist will see your child periodically to monitor their growth and development. This allows the orthodontist to determine the best time for starting treatment, as they can take advantage of your child's growth and intervene to ensure you get the best results possible. There are some issues that are much more difficult to treat once growth has stopped, so it is better to take your child in earlier rather than too late.


How do I make sure that I'm seeing a specialist orthodontist?

An orthodontist has had an extra 3 years full-time University based training focused solely on orthodontics. This makes them the person you can trust with your orthodontic treatment. To be able to call themselves a specialist orthodontist, they must be registered with the NZ Dental Council. You can use their website here to check whether the clinician you are seeing is an orthodontist. Or use our handy tool here (link pending)


Do I need a referral to an orthodontist?

The good news is no, you don’t need a referral from a dentist to see an orthodontist. Just check that your orthodontist is a registered specialist. If you need help to find an orthodontist or check they are a specialist you can use the tool on the bottom of this page.


How do I choose the best type of orthodontic treatment?

The best thing about seeing a specialist orthodontist is that they are familiar with all the different methods of orthodontic treatment - there is no "one size fits all". You can be confident your orthodontist can help you chose the best treatment for you or your child. If there is more than one option, your orthodontist will be able to explain the advantages and disadvantages of each to help you make the best decision.  


How much does orthodontic treatment cost?

Orthodontic treatment is a long-term investment that can help you or your child make a great first impression with a confident smile. A number of factors determine the cost of treatment. The best way to determine the cost is to see your local orthodontist and ask. Most orthodontists will offer payment plan options to help spread the cost of treatment into more manageable chunks. Your orthodontist will be able to discuss the best payment option to meet your needs.


Will my child need teeth extracted as part of their treatment?

Your orthodontist’s recommendation will depend on many factors. The only way to get reliable information is to consult a specialist orthodontist. Your orthodontist will assess your child’s teeth, airways, and facial profile, and carefully measure the x-rays they take. They’ll give you a detailed explanation of the best treatment plan for your child.



We are often asked by parents if their child will require teeth out as part of their overall orthodontic treatment plan. There is never a ‘one size fits all’ response. Every patient who walks into an orthodontist’s clinic is unique. Thanks to our genes and the many external factors that impact on our development, everyone’s face and teeth grow differently. That’s why corrective orthodontics need to be fully customised to each person’s individual needs. Orthodontists never recommend teeth be extracted lightly. But there will always be a small percentage of cases where having teeth out is necessary to achieve the best results. For most orthodontists, the proportion of patients who require extractions is generally quite low – probably 10-20%.


My friend says their kids go to someone who "never" extracts teeth.

Be careful of such sweeping generalisations and make sure to get an opinion from a specialist orthodontist. Your smile is important, and it's important to get the best care possible. Sometimes tooth extractions are necessary to ensure that you have healthy teeth and gums that will last a lifetime.


If I transfer to a specialist will I have to pay extra?

Consultation fees vary from practice to practice, but a second opinion from a specialist orthodontist will commonly be charged at their usual initial consultation fee. All NZ orthodontists abide by fair and reasonable practice principles so you will only be charged for the appropriate proportion of the treatment you receive.  You will not be recharged for the portion of treatment completed by a different provider. If you have pre-paid for your treatment, you should be entitled to receive a full or partial refund from your provider. Everyone should expect honesty and transparency from their orthodontic provider. This extends to the practitioner telling their patient their actual qualifications and practicing all aspects of dentistry within their true and actual abilities depending on their level of training.


Why doesn’t my local orthodontist offer shorter treatments?

To help teeth transition to their new position and correct bad bites safely, orthodontic treatment needs to be a gradual process. Placing too much pressure on teeth can weaken their placement and cause damage to the roots and gums. This is why most orthodontic treatment plans take between 18 months to 2 years. If something is worth doing, it is definitely worth doing properly!



Most quick treatments are, in fact, identical to the initial stage of regular orthodontic treatments. The only difference is that rather than the patient completing a full course of regular orthodontic treatment  (where jaws and all teeth are properly aligned), a quick treatment generally does not extend beyond the early cosmetic stage. This means that while the front teeth will appear straight, any underlying bite issues will often be left uncorrected. Only a specialist orthodontist has the training, knowledge and clinical expertise to distinguish which types of patients can be safely finished in a faster than average timeframe and which patients require comprehensive management.