A high need for orthodontic treatment was recorded in 74.0 per cent of the subjects. Although orthodontists rated 51.4 per cent of the patients as having a severe malocclusion on aesthetic grounds, only 33.6 per cent of parents rated their child malocclusion as severe. Although socio-demographic factors were not related to the parents' perception of malocclusion, they had an influence on orthodontic treatment need as assessed by the orthodontist. Parents, in this study population, rated their children's orthodontic treatment need less severely than the orthodontist regardless of their socio-demographic characteristics. Thus, orthodontists should involve parents in the orthodontic treatment decision-making process.