11 August 2019
Anyone Can Straighten Teeth, Right?
by Dr Shaz

Someone once said to me “Anyone can straighten teeth”.

Perhaps there’s a little truth to that? Perhaps. But what if someone said to you, “Anyone can cut hair”. I have enough friends who have had bad hair experiences to know that’s not true. Most people wouldn’t even dare to give themselves a haircut, and those that attempt it are often the butt of hilarious videos on YouTube. Often more research is put into searching for a hair stylist than the person who is going to be moving your teeth through your bone.

If you make a decision to invest in your smile then wouldn’t you want someone super qualified rather than just anyone? Or worse yet, no one? With more and more DIY options and more general dentists posing as orthodontists (believe me, there are quite a few pretenders out there) it has become increasingly difficult to work out who is actually a Specialist Orthodontist.

A Specialist Orthodontist has not only completed a Dentistry degree, but has then gone on to complete an additional three years (with over 5000 hours of clinical training) gaining a Doctorate in Orthodontics. The competition is tough with only 3-4 Dentists in New Zealand making the cut to be selected into the Doctoral training programme to become a Specialist Orthodontist, each year.

For some of my fellow colleagues, those three years can be a ride or die for personal relationships - so doing an online course or a two day seminar has its appeal - but the achievement of gaining a skill set from high quality training at selective tertiary institutions has value.

Despite the intense training, straightening teeth and correcting bites not only becomes a craft but it becomes a passion. And you know when you’ve caught the orthodontic bug when you watch a show and a person comes across your screen and the first thing you look at is teeth, and then do a quick assessment and treatment plan in your head. I won’t ever be able to watch Top Gun again without focusing on Maverick’s midline deviation and his rotated lateral incisor. The perfect man with the not-so-perfect teeth. But hey, how many people can fly inverted above a MIG? He gets a free pass.

Be particular about who you choose, just like you would be particular about who you choose to cut your hair. A smile is for LIFE.