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Looking to find the right orthodontic provider? Find out how to start your search What's the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

All orthodontists were dentists first. After completing their dental degree they have gone back to University for 3 years full-time study to become an orthodontist. This training covers all types of orthodontic treatments, from plates to braces and aligner treatment.   

Only a specialist orthodontist has the experience and knowledge to deliver safe and effective treatment. Orthodontists dedicate their lives to continuously updating their knowledge in the field of orthodontics. This is why seeing a NZ registered specialist orthodontist for your orthodontic treatment will ensure you can have real confidence in the level of care you will receive. 

Orthodontics is what they do best. In fact, it’s what they do all day, every day.

How do I find an orthodontist?

It is usual for orthodontic treatment to take about two years, so it’s essential to find a provider who you’re comfortable with for that period. Here are our top tips for selecting an orthodontic provider:

Go Local

Do a search of your local area, looking for registered orthodontists. You can use our tool at the bottom of the page to do this.  All orthodontists began as dentists, but dentists are not orthodontists.

Check their credentials

Make sure you’re going to a registered orthodontist, not a general dentist. You can ask them directly – only specialist orthodontists have completed both a general dental degree and 3 more additional years of full-time university training. You can also check whether someone is an orthodontist by using our tool on the bottom of this page.

My orthodontic provider is not an orthodontist – now what do I do?

Your next steps will come down to how you feel about your treatment. If you’re happy with the treatment you have received, you can complete your treatment with your current practitioner. However, if you’re concerned that your treatment is not progressing as you expected, or if you’re experiencing any worrying side effects that were not explained to you before your treatment, you may want to get a second opinion from a registered specialist orthodontist. Your orthodontist will give you an accurate and honest assessment to help you decide whether you should continue treatment with your current orthodontic provider.

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. If you have pre-paid for your entire treatment, you should be entitled to receive a 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 practising all aspects of dentistry within their true and actual abilities depending on their level of training.

  • What's the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?
  • How do I find an orthodontist?
  • My orthodontic provider is not an orthodontist – now what do I do?
  • If I transfer to a specialist will I have to pay extra?

What's the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

All orthodontists were dentists first. After completing their dental degree they have gone back to University for 3 years full-time study to become an orthodontist. This training covers all types of orthodontic treatments, from plates to braces and aligner treatment.   



Only a specialist orthodontist has the experience and knowledge to deliver safe and effective treatment. Orthodontists dedicate their lives to continuously updating their knowledge in the field of orthodontics. This is why seeing a NZ registered specialist orthodontist for your orthodontic treatment will ensure you can have real confidence in the level of care you will receive. 



Orthodontics is what they do best. In fact, it’s what they do all day, every day.


How do I find an orthodontist?

It is usual for orthodontic treatment to take about two years, so it’s essential to find a provider who you’re comfortable with for that period. Here are our top tips for selecting an orthodontic provider:



Go Local



Do a search of your local area, looking for registered orthodontists. You can use our tool at the bottom of the page to do this.  All orthodontists began as dentists, but dentists are not orthodontists.



Check their credentials



Make sure you’re going to a registered orthodontist, not a general dentist. You can ask them directly – only specialist orthodontists have completed both a general dental degree and 3 more additional years of full-time university training. You can also check whether someone is an orthodontist by using our tool on the bottom of this page.


My orthodontic provider is not an orthodontist – now what do I do?

Your next steps will come down to how you feel about your treatment. If you’re happy with the treatment you have received, you can complete your treatment with your current practitioner. However, if you’re concerned that your treatment is not progressing as you expected, or if you’re experiencing any worrying side effects that were not explained to you before your treatment, you may want to get a second opinion from a registered specialist orthodontist. Your orthodontist will give you an accurate and honest assessment to help you decide whether you should continue treatment with your current orthodontic provider.


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. If you have pre-paid for your entire treatment, you should be entitled to receive a 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 practising all aspects of dentistry within their true and actual abilities depending on their level of training.