The Hong Kong Society of Orthodontists Limited was founded in 1981 by a small group of orthodontists. Its founder was the late Dr. P.C. Kwong, a graduate of Northwestern University class of 1939. Dr. Kwong was originally from Mainland China and had received his degree around the time World War II was about to begin. After World War II, he returned to a Hong Kong, a place plagued by poverty and destitute. At the time, orthodontic treatment was considered an extreme luxury for most, if not all people. For many years, he was forced to practice general dentistry in order to keep his practice afloat even though he was, for a long time, the only person in town who had obtained the full qualifications in the field of Orthodontics. He was and still is, considered as the pioneer (or in the eyes of many, the father) of Orthodontics in Hong Kong. He gave us the insight to allow us to go forward and develop this field of dental specialty.
Throughout Hong Kong's steady growth in economy in the two decades that followed the 1950s, there were only a handful of orthodontists in the territory. In 1965, there were only two orthodontists in the private sector and two in the Government Dental Services. Since the early 1960's, the demand in orthodontic treatment has risen sharply, due to the improvement of Hong Kong's socio-economic status and the excellent dental health education program that was sponsored by the Government Dental Services. During the subsequent decade, more bright young dentists were being sent abroad by the Government or by other private scholarships to be trained in the art of Orthodontics. The Hong Kong Society of Orthodontists Limited was formed in 1981 and Dr Kwong became its first President. At the beginning, the HKSO started with 18 members. By the end of1981, this figure was 20 orthodontists. Today, the membership has grown to 56 Full, 5 Honorary, 10 International and 8 Student Members. However, for Hong Kong's population of seven million, the number of orthodontists serving the community is still highly inadequate.
Ever since the birth of the HKSO, members have become more active in arranging seminars, short courses and study groups. Dr. Vic Alexander and Prof. Ib Nielsen were among the first leaders to conduct courses in the Straight Wire Technique. In addition, through the close cooperation of the HKSO with the HKDA, the Australian Orthodontic Association used Hong Kong as their venue to hold their 1986 Congress. Apart from meeting up with old and new friends, everyone who attended the Congress undoubtedly benefited from keeping abreast with the new advances in Orthodontics.
The establishment of Post Graduate Studies in the Dental Faculty of the University of Hong Kong has greatly enhanced the number of Hong Kong Orthodontists. An established Orthodontic programme has been in place since 1988, with the conferment of the Master Degree in Dental Surgery (Orthodontics). This was later replaced in 1997 by the Master Degree in Orthodontics.
Furthermore, since 1996 a co-joint examination towards the Membership in Orthodontics of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh has been conducted in Hong Kong, leading to a number of locally trained, highly qualified Orthodontists, with more following in due course.
As in all aspects of life, in order to grow, we all need nourishment. This must come from here and afar. The holding of international or regional professional congresses forms one of the vital essences' in leading to our Society's full maturity.