Orthodontics for general practice.


  • Little training in Orthodontics
  • Don’t let it hold you back
  • Getting good results is exciting
  • Learning new skills
  • Full support is on line

Many GDPs have little or no training in orthodontics – they just have a basic understanding of when a patient has a malocclusion.

Consequently, most children with some sort of malocclusion are referred to a specialist orthodontist who then assesses the child in relation to the severity of the case as defined by the IOTN scale. Most of us don’t understand this scale so some inappropriate referrals are made which the orthodontist has to reject because the NHS will not fund the correction of these relatively minor deformities.

The NHS also does not fund orthodontic treatment for adults.

This opens the door for any practitioner to undertake some relatively ‘simple’ orthodontics to improve the patient’s smile. By treating the patient within your own surgery it keeps them in familiar surroundings, and most patients do prefer to remain in the premises they know with staff they know rather than be referred elsewhere which is unfamiliar and maybe at some distance.

By increasing the practice offering, the benefits are that the team members get to do something with which they are not familiar so it breaks the routine and there is a strong probability that practice profits can be increased which also helps the team. It also has the same effect on the dentists who get to learn a new range of skills – always exciting! Added to this is the satisfaction of doing treatment which makes people feel better as their appearance improves.

I was always thanked more when completing aesthetically oriented treatment than at any other time – even when relieving toothache.

So, if you decide that you would like to explore this interesting world and take your dentists with you, how do you go about it?

Well, the first thing to do is to evaluate the patients you normally treat and test out if any of the adults would be interested in getting their teeth straightened. If, so would the minimally invasive technique of orthodontics be more acceptable than, say, crowns or veneers? From the point of view that there is virtually no loss of tooth substance and therefore no discomfort (despite modern analgesia drilling is not nice!) it has to be more acceptable both to us, as professionals, and to the patients.

The only downside is that it is a more protracted process than the surgical alternatives. But there are more and more adults wearing orthodontic appliances than ever before and with aesthetic brackets and wires they are less noticeable than ever before – more acceptable even when all metal brackets are used.

Next step when decided to embark on ‘simple’ orthodontics is to learn about it and ensure that your dentists, preferably with their nurse, attends a course to learn the basic of the techniques.

Let me stress that we are not trying to make them into orthodontists just equip them with the skills to carry out the procedures.

Oralign, via our registered specialist orthodontists, does the diagnostics and the treatment planning with follow up to ensure that all goes well right to completion. And the named orthodontist is available on– line to deal with any queries during the treatment process. So, it doesn’t matter where the practice is our secure on-line system can be accessed at any time for advice and reassurance.

A typical malocclusion in a young adult who possibly declined treatment when she was young and now realises that this is marring her appearance. Fortunately, correction with a fixed appliance and no extractions can rectify the position in a relatively short time. Above are the position at the start and next to it part way through the treatment – Quite an improvement; how much pleasure would that achievement give your team?

So much progress has been made in a short time!