With one of the busiest specialist orthodontic practices in Australia, Dr Ashley Smith and Dr Chris Turnock of ToowoombaOrthodontists.com.au have put smiles on the faces of thousands of Darling Downs folks.

Now it is their turn to smile as their advanced skill and expertise are recognised internationally. They have been asked to be worldwide trainers for a leading edge orthodontic company, Ormco. The duo were obvious choices to train others internationally, with the achievement of their Margaret Street practice outperforming all other Australian practices – including those in Sydney and Melbourne – in custom-made braces using Insignia Technology.

“It’s definitely an honour to be asked to assist with worldwide training and it’s an honour to be working directly with companies at the forefront of the industry,” said Ashley. “We know the treatments are outstanding and they will give fantastic results – but only in the right hands. Training is the key.”

While the technology is a great improvement, the most important aspect of treatment is still the skill of the treating clinician, Chris believes. “Someone still has to plan the case correctly and drive the software.” He likens this technology to golf clubs. “While Adam Scott can drive a ball very well with his Titleist equipment, very few golfers can achieve the same distance or accuracy with the same club.” Preliminary research shows that Insignia treatment provided by specialist orthodontists significantly reduces treatment time and the number of visits for patients, when compared to conventional braces.

Within months of their new appointments the two specialist teeth straighteners had speaking and training engagements in the US, UK, Asia and Australia. For the next few years, they will be the “go-to” team for orthodontists interested in Insignia technology. “We’ve always been a progressive and busy practice,” said Ashley. “We offer a range of treatments including traditional braces, custom-made Damon and Insignia Braces and the latest Invisalign system. Getting the best results is about catering to the individual.”

“We take an impression or digital scan of the teeth in Toowoomba. Insignia technicians then use sophisticated imaging software to create a 3-D digital representation of the patient’s bite. Robots in California then fabricate braces and wires to the exact prescription for each individual tooth, to match the overall plan.”

As well as travelling interstate and overseas to provide training sessions, orthodontists from all the over the world will be coming to the Toowoomba practice, to learn first hand from Ashley and Chris. “We are proud to be able to invite international professionals to come to Toowoomba and see that we are a modern progressive city offering the very latest in treatments for our patients,” said Ashley. “It’s great for Toowoomba’s reputation as a regional health hub too.”

Ashley and Chris have both completed a three-year full-time post-graduate specialist training course in addition to their five-year general dental degree. Both are registered specialist orthodontists with AHPRA.

Words by Ally Martell | Images by Emily Yseult Taylor and Andrew Coates