What is orthodontics?

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry concerned with the development and management of irregularities and abnormalities of the teeth, jaws and face. The technical term for these problems is “malocclusion” which means “bad bite”. Orthodontists treat malocclusions with braces, aligners or appliances to help patients achieve a beautiful smile. 

At Dan Smethurst Orthodontist, we specialise in teeth straightening treatments using metal and clear braces and Invisalign. We see children, teen and adult patients at our practice in Tauranga. 


What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

The very first thing that sets orthodontists apart from dentists is the specialisation. Orthodontists are required to become a dentist first. Orthodontists attend five years of regular dental school, but then spend another three years of additional specialty training (masters or doctorate) in orthodontics at a reputable university. 

An orthodontist is registered with the Dental Council of New Zealand as a dental specialist. Orthodontists are also certified by professional organisations like the New Zealand Association of Orthodontists (NZAO). 

Orthodontists treat patients for jaw re-alignment, teeth straightening and other related procedures. They also have the expertise to recognise and manage potential complications that may arise during (or following) treatment. Orthodontists do not do fillings, drilling, tooth whitening, cleans or extractions. That is what you will need to see your dentist for. 

What is orthodontics

Who needs orthodontic treatment?

At Dan Smethurst Orthodontist, we love seeing the difference orthodontic treatment can make in the lives of our patients. We treat minor and major cases and leverage our expertise with the latest technologies to help treatment run as smoothly as possible. 

If you are curious whether orthodontics can improve your teeth, bite or jaw, here are some of the most common problems we treat.

What is orthodontics

Cross bite with crowding


Crowding is a very common problem and occurs when there is not enough space in your mouth for your teeth. This causes teeth to fight for space and overlap each other. 

Cross bite with crowding


The opposite of crowding is a spacing problem. If there is too much space in your mouth, therefore too much room for your teeth, gaps can appear and are prime locations for plaque to build up. 

Cross bite with crowding


Orthodontics is not only focused on correcting problems associated with teeth, but with your jaw alignment as well. If your top teeth sit out over your bottom teeth, this is a sign of an overbite. 

Cross bite with crowding


The opposite of an overbite is an underbite, where your bottom teeth jut out past your top teeth. Problems with your bite can lead to poor oral health, digestive issues from not chewing food properly, and impacted teeth. 

Cross bite with crowding

Open bite

If your teeth don’t meet when you bite down on your back molars, this is known as an open bite. This can be easily corrected with orthodontic appliances. 

Each of the problems above can easily be treated by our specialist orthodontist at our practice in Tauranga. Book your consultation with our friendly team today to get started.