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What is orthodontics?

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What Is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics is the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite and jaw.

What do Orthodontists do?

Trainees completing this programme should be able to:

  1. Diagnose anomalies of the dentition.
  2. Detect deviations of the development of the dentition, of facial growth and occurrence of functional abnormalities.
  3. Formulate a treatment plan and predict its course.
  4. Carry out interceptive orthodontic measures.
  5. Execute simple and complex treatment procedures.
  6. Understand the multi-disciplinary approach for the treatment of compromised (adult) patients, orthodontic surgical cases and cleft palate patients.
  7. Evaluate the need for orthodontic treatment.
  8. Understand psychological aspects relevant to orthodontics.
  9. Develop a scientific attitude and an inquiring mind and the stimulation of professional curiosity.
  10. Undergo training in scientific methodology.
  11. Be capable of interpretation of literature.
  12. Carry out research activities.
  13. Prepare oral and written presentations of clinical and research findings.

What skills should I possess prior to applying to a Specialty Training Programme in Orthodontics?

In order to be accepted onto an orthodontic training programme as a specialty registrar:

  • You will need to gain a broad experience in dentistry as a whole – hospital, community and general dental practice. Completing a vocational training (DF1) scheme (one year) and a General Practitioner Training (DF2) scheme (one year) will help you gain some of the necessary experience. You will gain your VT Number during this time, which you will need if you eventually want to work in the primary care services
  • You would be advised to study for the MJDF/MFDS/MFD examination, which can be taken within two years of basic qualification. This is no longer essential to enter specialist training but the majority of applicants will have one of these memberships
  • You should try to get one or two articles published in a good dental journal, carry out some audit projects and present at meetings. These types of activities will help when applying for a specialty training post.

What is involved in the Orthodontics Training Programme?

Once you have a minimum of two years post basic qualification and are fully registered with the GDC you can apply to train in the specialty of Orthodontics.

The courses take three years (or equivalent part-time) and consist of clinical training (in a hospital) alongside academic study (at the university). After three years you will sit the examination for the Membership in Orthodontics (MOrth) and, if successful, you will gain a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). This will allow you to apply to the GDC to be included on the specialist list and be known as a Specialist in Orthodontics. Trainees are also required to study for a higher degree, such as the MSc or DDS, during their training. You will normally receive a salary during your training, although you will be required to pay tuition fees. Some posts are unfunded (i.e. you will not get paid).

On completion of Specialty Training what are my career options?

  • Enter specialist practice, usually as a performer (previously known as an associate). Eventually, you may become a partner or own your own practice. You can work under an NHS contract in primary dental care or undertake treatment privately
  • Become a salaried specialist in the community or hospital dental service
  • Train for a further two years in a hospital, sit the FDS (Orth) exam and apply to become a hospital consultant
  • In combination with consultant training, you can train for three to four years in a hospital/university, perhaps gain a PhD/teaching degree and follow a university career. You could eventually become a Professor of Orthodontics.

Training Programme Director

Sarah Merrett – Orthodontics Consultant University Dental hospital Cardiff

Specialty Training Committee Chair

Jeremy Knox – Morriston Hospital, Swansea

Specialty Training Administrator

Gabby Boyland – Dental Postgraduate Section, Wales Deanery

Further information

Useful information about general professional training and orthodontic training can be found on the Royal College of Surgeons of England website.

P.E.Ellis, S.G.S.Ellis, K.D.O’Brien and R.I.Joshi. So you want to be a specialist registrar?- What to put in your CV. BDJ 2002;192:133-136.

Information taken from