What is an orthodontic therapist?
An orthodontic therapist is a dental clinician registered with the General Dental Council; and is an integral member of the team who works alongside our orthodontic specialists.
Our orthodontic therapists have undergone special rigorous formal university-based training that allows them to fully understand the treatments that are being provided and how they work. They are able to perform routine orthodontic treatments. However, an orthodontic therapist cannot diagnose, treatment plan or carry out any procedures that are irreversible in nature. They also follow a detailed unambiguous prescription from the specialist orthodontist.
Orthodontic therapy is a relatively new concept in British dentistry and only adopted by modern specialist orthodontic practices. We believe that having therapists as part of our team has helped us to be more forward thinking and innovative. It has enabled us to have a more focused approach with a whole team overseeing the treatment plan. This ensures great results and better attention to your care.
Benefits of having an Orthodontic Therapist:
- They enable more focused care.
- There is better personal attention from and more time afforded by the operator, therefore clinical care is enhanced.
- They also help the orthodontists to be more efficient and organised for the patient. This way the specialist orthodontists can devote more time to diagnosis and Treatment Planning.
- There is more attention to maintaining high oral hygiene which is very important during orthodontic treatment.
- Their presence enables better emergency cover.
- We are also able to provide greater flexibility with appointments, especially at peak times.
- Our therapists are amazing with children and hence we find better cooperation from children during treatment. This is very important for the efficacy of the treatment.
The following describes orthodontic therapists’ “scope of practice” as determined and mandated by the General Dental Council, the governing body of the practice of dentistry in the UK:
See also: Orthodontic Dictionary
- clean and prepare tooth surfaces ready for orthodontic treatment
- identify, select, use and maintain appropriate instruments
- insert passive removable orthodontic appliances
- insert removable appliances activated or adjusted by a dentist
- remove fixed appliances, orthodontic adhesives and cement
- identify, select, prepare and place auxiliaries
- take impressions
- pour, cast and trim study models
- make a patient’s orthodontic appliance safe in the absence of a dentist
- fit orthodontic headgear
- fit orthodontic face bows which have been adjusted by a dentist
- take occlusal records including orthognathic facebow readings
- take intra and extra-oral photographs
- fit fixed braces, place brackets and bands
- repair fixed braces
- prepare, insert, adjust and remove archwires previously prescribed or, where necessary, activated by a dentist
- give advice on appliance care and oral health instruction
- fit tooth separators
- fit bonded retainers
- carry out Index of Orthodontic Treatment Need (IOTN) screening either under the direction of a dentist or direct to patients
- make appropriate referrals to other healthcare professionals
- keep full, accurate and contemporaneous patient records
Additional skills which orthodontic therapists could develop include:
- applying fluoride varnish to the prescription of a dentist
- repairing the acrylic component part of orthodontic appliances
- measuring and recording plaque indices
- removing sutures after the wound has been checked by a dentist
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