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Study Orthodontics at Otago

    Orthodontics at Otago

    The Discipline of Orthodontics aims to provide high-quality education, research, and clinical services in the field of Orthodontics and Craniofacial Anomalies.

    What is Orthodontics?

    Orthodontics is an area of dentistry that prevents, diagnoses, and treats dentofacial growth anomalies, as well as misalignments of teeth and jaws.

    A qualified specialist in orthodontics is able to manage a large variety of malocclusions including craniofacial syndromes, combined orthodontic-orthognathic surgery cases, and complex interdisciplinary cases.

    Orthodontic Internship

    There is an increasingly growing demand for postgraduate orthodontic education in New Zealand, especially from junior dentists who want to enrol in an orthodontic programme, or senior dentists who have an interest in expanding their basic orthodontic skills in an accredited academic institution, which is delivering evidence-based orthodontic education.

    An orthodontic internship at Otago is currently available to registered dentists with the aim to provide a full-time (37.5-40   hours per week) educational experience in clinical orthodontics in a world-class academic institution, under the guidance of knowledgeable and renowned academic educators.

    Find out more about the Orthodontic Internship

    Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) in Orthodontics

    Postgraduate education and training in Orthodontics at the University of Otago consists of an advanced and intense three-year programme that includes significant clinical and research components, the successful completion of which leads to the award of a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orthodontics), and registration as a specialist in Orthodontics in New Zealand and Australia.

    The aim of the programme is to educate and train highly qualified orthodontists who are able to manage a large variety of clinical problems including craniofacial syndromes, surgical cases, and complex multidisciplinary cases.

    During their programme, students will receive comprehensive training in orthodontics, with a broad evidence-based academic background, and a high-quality clinical experience with orthodontic patients under the guidance of expert supervisors in a safe and efficient work environment.

    You will have the opportunity to familiarise yourself with many different orthodontic mechanics, philosophies, and treatment techniques including: straight wire, low-friction, segmented arch, and lingual mechanics, along with clear sequential aligners, and various functional appliances.

    On completion of the course you will be eligible to register as a specialist orthodontist, with competency in treating a wide spectrum of simple and complex malocclusions.

    The DClinDent in Orthodontics at the University of Otago has been developed to comply with international standards for a high-quality postgraduate education in orthodontics, which are described by the World Federation of Orthodontics (WFO), and endorsed in New Zealand and Australia.

    Start your application on the DClinDent regulations page

    Skills you will learn and develop

    • Diagnose anomalies of growth of the craniofacial skeleton and the resulting discrepancies of jaw relationships and functional abnormalities
    • Diagnose anomalies / abnormalities of the dentition
    • Assess the need for orthodontic treatment for an individual patient
    • Develop an appropriate treatment plan, including potential risks and complications, as well as any alternative treatment plan with the advantages and disadvantages of each treatment plan
    • Demonstrate the ability to execute the treatment plan to the highest quality result obtainable
    • Practice orthodontics according to standards of ethics
    • Treat all types of malocclusion
    • Understand interceptive orthodontic procedures and determine when they can be used for the benefit of the patient and the treatment outcome
    • Understand orthognathic surgical procedures, when they are appropriate, how to coordinate the orthodontic requirements with surgical requirements, and the timing of treatment
    • Evaluate the psycho-social aspects that may be relevant to orthodontic treatment
    • Collaborate with other dental specialists in the orthodontic treatment of complex patients who may require interdisciplinary procedures
    • Collaborate in the interdisciplinary treatment of medically compromised patients and patients with craniofacial anomalies or syndromes
    • Formulate a research hypothesis, design and conduct an experiment to test its validity
    • Organise, present, and publish research findings
    • Understand, comprehensively review, and evaluate literature pertinent to orthodontics, and in other disciplines where relevant to the practice of orthodontics
    • Continue to improve professional skills and lifelong learning by capitalising on the opportunities for professional development throughout your professional career

    Staff expertise

    Our staff have extensive expertise in both clinical practice and research. Our clinical supervisors are highly skilled in the management of complex malocclusions, including interdisciplinary and combined orthognathic-orthodontic treatment, and the care of patients with special needs or craniofacial anomalies, temporomandibular dysfunction, and sleep apnoea.

    The high quality of research produced by the Discipline of Orthodontics at Otago is internationally regarded. Areas of research strength include:

    • Clinical research
    • Craniofacial biomechanics
    • Mechanobiology of the periodontal ligament
    • Biofilms in orthodontics
    • Growth modification treatments
    • Sleep disordered breathing
    • Clinical oral physiology, including the function of the masticatory muscles and the temporomandibular joint

    Important emerging lines of research include craniofacial genetics, carried out in conjunction with Genetics Otago, and craniofacial imaging in conjunction with the Department of Computer Science.

    Staff profiles


    ORTH papers

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    Contact us

    Department of Oral Sciences
    Faculty of Dentistry

    Studying at Otago

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    Regulations on this page are taken from the 2024 Calendar and supplementary material.

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