Eleven years training to be a ‘specialist orthodontist’.
From entering Dental School at age 19, right through to completion of specialist training at age 30, it’s a long road.
What does “specialist” mean?
Orthodontics is not covered very much in a basic dental degree. Dental students are are not trained how to plan treatments or to how use fixed braces.
As an orthodontist-wannabee you have to first become a dentist (which takes five years) and then complete more training and exams (another three years). Then you can become an orthodontic trainee… for another 3 years!
As a trainee specialist, you have to complete brace treatment on a wide variety of cases, you are subjected to rigorous examination during and at the end of the course and you have to demonstrate that you have the skills to call yourself an “orthodontist”.
Benefits of a specialist-led team
So what does this mean for our patients at Cleveland Orthodontics?
Treatments planned by specialists with experience and training
All new patients, both children and adults, are seen initially by a specialist orthodontist for treatment planning.
Treatment planning is the most important stage of brace treatment. Some teeth are easy to straighten, other are more tricky! Our specialists have the training, skills and experience to spot which are the easy ones…and how to treat the tricky ones!
The actual treatments may be then undertaken by various members of our team, including dentists with experience in orthodontics and orthodontic therapists.
It’s what we do… all day, every day!
Our practice is dedicated to orthodontics.
That means that all of our policies and procedures, our skill mix as a team, even the design of our surgeries and coordinator rooms…all are focused on delivering high quality orthodontic treatments.
It also means we see a lot of orthodontic patients every week, every month, every year. And as with most things, the more you do, the better you get!
We are committed to providing safe and effective treatments.
This means understanding the body of scientific evidence behind treatments and being able to tell whether “new” treatments actually work.
Specialists are trained in interpreting scientific research and so can ensure that our treatments are appropriate.
We routinely measure how well we do our NHS treatments to ensure that quality is maintained.
This is done by looking at models of teeth before and after patients have had brace treatment. There are measurements that we can take to give a value on how “well” the treatment has been done.
These results are regularly discussed at team meetings which give an opportunity to continually improve on our performance.
Does it matter if my own dentist is doing my brace treatment?
Most NHS treatment on children in England is overseen by specialist orthodontists. In fact the completion of specialist training by at least one clinician is often a condition of a practice being allowed to hold an NHS Contract.
Some general dentists have an “interest” in orthodontics. They may have taken further training which means that they have the required skills for providing safe and effective treatment.
If you are thinking about having orthodontic treatment (or for that matter ANY type of dental, medical or surgical treatment!), you may want to ask the following questions:
- How much training have you taken for this type of treatment?
- Have your skills been assessed by others in your field e.g. in professional examinations leading to registered qualifications
- How many treatments like this do you do each month? Or each year?
- How do you measure the results of your treatment?
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