Orthodontics & Orthodontists Specialists

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Orthodontics is a specialist field of dentistry focusing on the development and growth of the face, teeth and jaws. The job of an orthodontic specialist is to protect against any abnormalities or other problems with the position of the teeth and jaws or any problems involving the way in which the upper and lower teeth connect, known as your 'bite' or 'occlusion.' Orthodontic specialists also correct any existing problems or abnormalities with the face, jaws or teeth using a variety of tools. Orthodontic specialists may operate in specialist clinics or provide treatment on the NHS (through the general dental services). Some orthodontic specialists are also employed in community dental services and provide orthodontic care to the population in a certain area or as a consultant in an NHS hospital. Other orthodontic specialists have academic positions in dental schools and hospitals to assist with both undergraduate and postgraduate training.

Orthodontic Treatment

An orthodontic specialist's job is concerned with diagnosing abnormalities in the development of the face, teeth and jaws. Orthodontic specialists assess the extent of the development problems and then plan ways to prevent or correct these issues using a variety of orthodontic treatments and tools. Most orthodontic corrections are performed using a variety of braces. This dental appliance is fixed to your teeth and corrects growth problems by applying gentle but constant pressure to your teeth. Due to innovations in dentistry, there are more kinds of braces than ever before, some fixed, others removable. Braces are often used in children as the developing muscles of the face and mouth can be used to successfully correct problems with the jaws. Orthodontic procedures aren't just used to correct serious dental issues, but also for aesthetic purposes. A patient's smile can often be improved by straightening or repositioning the teeth so that they match the arch of the mouth. In many cases, orthodontic treatment can help with both aesthetic issues and growth or development problems.

Qualifications of an Orthodontist

In addition to being a registered dentist, an orthodontic specialist also needs to attain an extra postgraduate qualification, the Membership In Orthodontics, to enable them to apply to be included on the orthodontic specialist list. There is not a requirement to have a Membership of the Faculty of Dental Surgery or to one of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons, but memberships are often helpful when trying to become an orthodontic specialist. Similarly, a Diploma of Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties, is another qualification often sought after by orthodontic specialist trainees. This diploma will typically take two or three years to attain, but it is highly beneficial to have one when applying for postgraduate training programs.

Once training is completed, potential orthodontic specialists sit an exam for Membership in orthodontics and if they succeed, gain a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). Having this certificate means that dentists can apply to be registered on the GDC's orthodontic specialist list and be known as an orthodontic specialist. If an orthodontic specialist seeks to be appointed as an NHS consultant, they must also complete another two years of a specially approved training program working as a specialist in orthodontics. This allows them to attain the Intercollegiate Fellowship in Orthodontics.

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Guide to Orthodontics