5 Best Ways to Learn Orthodontics as a General or Pediatric Dentist

Take advantage of online or in-person orthodontics training.

Dentists get questions about orthodontics every single day. Patients want to perfect their smiles, and sometimes orthodontics is necessary to restore functional health or correct a cosmetic issue. What can you do to effectively answer your patients’ orthodontic questions? Wouldn’t it be convenient for you to learn orthodontics so you could treat your own patients instead of referring them out?

Many general and pediatric dentists have an idea about orthodontics from dental school or residency, but to fully understand orthodontic diagnosis and treatment requires time and education. There are some great ways to learn orthodontics and help you clinically apply the skills besides completing a residency program. When you commit to learning orthodontics by taking continuing education classes or courses from The American Orthodontic Society (AOS), you become a more competent and confident dental practitioner. Here are 5 ways AOS can help you learn orthodontics. 

1. Learn orthodontics by shadowing an experienced instructor.

Sometimes the easiest way to learn a new skill is to watch someone else complete the treatment. When you shadow a highly skilled general dentist who treats orthodontics, you will learn new techniques and how to implement orthodontics into general and pediatric dentistry. It is important to have a good mentor who can teach you, but also guide you through challenges you may face when treating malocclusion cases. 

2. Take a continuing education course with AOS.

The AOS offers comprehensive orthodontic courses for general and pediatric dentists wanting to incorporate orthodontics into their practices. The Basic Straight Wire Course taught by Dr. Brad Williams applies the fundamentals of orthodontics and facilitates the skills needed to help identify Class I and II malocclusions. You will practice hands-on skills using straight wire orthodontics that require little wire bending and saves chair time in the office. 

The course begins with learning how to recognize skeletal and occlusal problems and leaves you with the confidence to treat more complex cases and also to identify when an orthodontic specialist is needed. Workshops are hands-on and address bonding brackets, reading orthodontic radiographs like panoramics and cephalographs, and managing retention cases. 

3. Learn orthodontics by taking an online course.

When you cannot get to an in-person course, this does not mean orthodontic training stops. Consider taking a virtual course at your own time and speed. AOS offers virtual classes with live instruction so that you can work with an experienced clinical instructor from work or home. You will gain access to numerous online journal articles, take a comprehensive didactic course, and learn to apply orthodontics at your pace. What a convenience! 

4. Practice makes perfect. 

Once you have grasped the foundation of orthodontics, build your confidence by starting with simple Class I malocclusions. Straight wire orthodontics is a great way to learn because it does not require a ton of wire bending. Review your panoramic and cephalographs with your patients so you feel comfortable diagnosing their case. Use orthodontic language again and again so that you can approach cases like an orthodontic specialist. The more cases you see, the better quality your treatment will be for your patients. 

5. Read online journals.

The AOS offers dozens of online journals to keep you up-to-date on the latest orthodontic trends in dentistry. In your spare time between patients, read an AOS journal to answer any orthodontic questions or introduce yourself to new clinical treatments. You can learn about an array of topics ranging from new materials to the benefits of early orthodontic intervention. New appliances are discussed as well as scientific research on surgical orthodontic techniques. Even after mastering orthodontics, reading journals should always be a part of your continuing education regimen. 

There are many options if you are committed to learning orthodontics. Depending on your time and budget, you can take an in-person course with the AOS or become a member and have access to numerous online journal articles. The more time you invest into learning orthodontics, the more confident you will feel as a dental provider. 

To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.

1st Session: April 26-28, 2024

AOS Institute
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

July 19-21, 2024

AOS Institute
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

August 23-24, 2024

AOS Institute
1785 State Highway 26
Grapevine, Texas 76051

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