Gaining skills and experience in orthodontics increases your treatment options, quality of patient care and potentially your income! Joseph Allbeury spoke to Dr Geoff Hall about the opening of The OrthoED Institute's 2022 enrolments and why this is the must-do program for the new year.
Dr Hall, please tell us about The OrthoED Institute.
The OrthoED Institute is a private training institution for general dentists that covers the entire gamut of orthodontics, from diagnosis and treatment planning through to early treatment intervention and on to fixed braces. And obviously we also cover what's very popular now, aligner therapy. It's the ideal program for any general dentist that wants to learn more about orthodontics. It's a comprehensive, structured learning program backed up with practical work and full support over a two-year period and beyond.
The system we teach is well-balanced and based on sound orthodontic principles. It's not based on any specific appliances, bracket systems or aligner types. We're purely providing orthodontic education to dentists so that they feel comfortable and confident in treating the majority of patients that walk through the door, reducing the need to refer simple cases out. Even more moderate cases can be completed in-house.
We also have an optional accredited post-graduate diploma program which is examination-based to add further weight to your studies.
We've tried to cover all the bases so our graduates have both the knowledge and practical experience to confidently treat the majority of the orthodontic needs of their patients.
Why do dentists need to learn more about orthodontics?
The reality is that every patient that comes in to see you should be orthodontically assessed, but quite often they're not. This may be because the dentist doesn't want to refer the patient out, but most of the time it's because they don't have the training to see that there is a problem in the first place.
Orthodontics is a fundamental part of any type of diagnosis for a patient, whether it be a young child or an adult, but it is often discounted in favour of more "destructive" dentistry like using crowns and veneers, because the dentist is more comfortable with restorative procedures. We want to equip dentists with more conservative techniques, whether it be using fixed braces, appliances or aligner therapy to achieve quality, predictable results efficiently.
At what stage of your career should you complete the OrthoED program?
That's an interesting question because when we started, we thought the program would be taken up by dentists in their forties looking to expand their skills. But what we're finding is that a lot of new graduates are participating because they now realise that orthodontics can be a big part of the treatment completed in general practices. And they want to learn these skills while they're working for other people. I use the analogy that it's a bit like referring out an upper central incisor endo case. An endodontist would laugh at it. And there are lots of those types of cases in orthodontics that are really best dealt with in the hands of the general dentist. But rather than referring them out, they're being overlooked or dealt with in less ideal ways. Equally, it's important to know when it's best to refer a patient to a specialist colleague.
Who teaches the program?
The faculty are all specialist orthodontists and we're here to support our students both throughout the program and beyond through our alumni program. One of the questions general dentists often ask me is what happens if a case they are treating orthodontically goes awry and this is where being educated and backed by specialists is important. If there is ever a problem with a case in the future, then we're here to support you with your diagnosis, planning and treatment delivery, as well as in any other way you may require.
Apart from the core faculty, we also have guest lecturers as well. We have some exciting things happening in 2022 with international lecturers coming out on behalf of OrthoED including Dr Donna Galante, who was the number one Invisalign instructor back in 2000 and 2017. She's lecturing exclusively for us on aligner therapy. Dr Galante is probably one of the top five aligner providers in the world.
We also have Dr Peter Sheridan, the expert on dental photography, giving a one day programme.
So we have lots of guests to make the programme even more balanced. We also have optional webinars at night and optional weekly treatment planning sessions, plus on-demand recordings you can watch any time. There is literally as much or as little extracurricular material and support as you want or require.
Is this a face-to-face program or virtual?
It's a face-to-face learning program and there are eight modules to complete over a two-year period. There is the opportunity to do it online as well, but we can only offer intensive clinical support to students who are doing the course face-to-face.
It sounds like an amazing program. I believe you also have a treatment planning service for aligners anyone can use?
That's correct. It's not just for OrthoED members to use. Aligners are such a big part of general dentistry now and for the future. So we've set up a treatment planning service purely for aligner providers whereby we do all of the setups and optimise the case for the dentist. We call this service CAPS - Complete Aligner Planning Service - and it's open to any dentist. We work with Invisalign, SureSmile, Angel Align and SmileStyler and help general dentists offer aligners without having to worry about the set-up and optimising the digital treatment plan.
Thank you very much Dr Hall.