Scope of practice for orthodontic auxiliaries

This page lists the scope of practice for orthodontic auxiliaries.

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003 (the Act) describes a scope of practice as the health service that a practitioner registered in that scope of practice is permitted to perform, subject to any conditions for the time being imposed by the responsible authority.

The Council publishes a scope of practice as a Notice in the New Zealand Gazette under section 11 of the Act.

Scopes of practice for orthodontic auxiliary practice


Orthodontic auxiliary practice is a subset of dental hygiene practice that involves implementing orthodontic treatment plans prepared by a dentist or orthodontists, by performing orthodontic procedures and providing oral health education and advice on the care and maintenance of orthodontic appliances in accordance with this scope of practice an orthodontic auxiliary’s approved education, training, experience and competence. 

Orthodontic auxiliaries practise under the direction of the dentist or orthodontist who is responsible for the patient’s clinical care outcomes and who is on-site at the time. 

Orthodontic auxiliary practice includes:

  • taking clinical photographs for records
  • taking impressions. Obtaining a record of occlusal relationships
  • tracing cephalometric radiographs
  • placing separators
  • sizing of metal bands and their cementation including loose bands during treatment
  • supragingival polishing of teeth (as part of oral hygiene, before bonding and after removal of fixed attachments)
  • preparation of teeth for the bonding of fixed attachments and fixed retainers
  • indirect bonding of brackets as set up by the orthodontist
  • providing oral hygiene instruction and advice on the care and maintenance of orthodontic appliances
  • placing archwires as formed by the orthodontist when necessary and replacing ligatures /closing self ligating brackets
  • removing archwires after removing elastomeric or wire ligatures, or opening self ligating brackets
  • removing fixed orthodontic attachments and retainers
  • removing adhesives after the removal of fixed attachments using burs in slow speed handpieces where there is minimal potential for the removal of enamel
  • trial fitting of removable appliances – this does not include activation
  • fitting of passive removable retainers
  • bonding pre-formed fixed retainers
  • making study models, and fabricating retainers, and undertaking other simple laboratory procedures of an orthodontic nature
  • taking intra-oral and extra-oral radiographs.

Practice in this context goes wider than clinical orthodontic auxiliary practice to include teaching, research, and management, given that such roles influence clinical practice and public safety. Areas of orthodontic auxiliary practice which were not included in a practitioner’s training should not be undertaken unless the practitioner has completed appropriate training and practises to the standards required by the Standards Framework for Oral Health Practitioners.

Prescribed qualifications for the orthodontic auxiliary scope of practice.