Orthodontic practices in Australasia: practice activity

OBJECTIVE: To collect baseline data on practice types and services provided by orthodontists in Australia and New Zealand.

METHOD: A total of 510 questionnaires was sent and 258 were returned. The response rate was 53 per cent.

RESULTS: The average age of respondents was 50 years (SD: 9.8 years) with female orthodontists being younger (Mean: 42.3 years; SD: 6.5). The ratio of responding female to male orthodontists was 1:8.8. Overall, more orthodontists were in solo private practice than associateships or partnerships. New Zealand orthodontists were more likely to be in associateships. Australian orthodontists had twice the number of practices (Mean: 2.4; SD: 1.4) than their New Zealand counterparts (Mean: 1.1; SD: 0.3). Orthodontists estimated they saw a mean of 21.3 (SD: 11.3) patients per day. Older orthodontists saw few patients in a day and spent fewer hours in any practice activity in a week. The mean waiting time for a consultation appointment in the private sector in New Zealand was nearly twice that in Australia. There was a significant association between male orthodontists and referral of patients by general dental practitioners. More than three quarters of respondents incorporated retention fees into the treatment fee. Overall, orthodontists were satisfied with the workload and did not want more orthodontists in their geographical area.

CONCLUSION: This study provides a sound basis for consideration of challenges in practice and changes over time.

Mathew R, Sampson WJ, Spencer AJ.

Aust Orthod J. 2005 May;21(1):1-10.

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