5 Reasons Dentists Hesitate To Practice Orthodontics

The Truth Behind Ortho Referrals

If adding orthodontics to your general dental practice was an easy task, nearly every dentist would do it. But like anything that is highly successful, it takes significant work and effort. Orthodontics is a highly respected field in dentistry because it can alter a person’s life by improving their self-esteem, bite, and nutrition, as well as help them avoid long-term health concerns like sleep apnea and TMD. Yet many dentists hesitate to treat orthodontic cases because they can be challenging and require specialized training through orthodontic classes.

Orthodontics is not an overnight solution or even a service that requires only a few visits. It is a long-term treatment that can transform someone’s smile, and it takes much knowledge and training to diagnose and treat these types of cases. 

Dr. William Proffit said, “In orthodontics, as in all areas of dentistry, it makes sense that the less complex cases would be selected for treatment in general or family practice, while the more complex cases would be referred to a specialist.” This holds true to why many dentists refer out and avoid treating complex orthodontic cases altogether. Yet with enough ortho training and confidence, general dentists, too, can keep these cases in-house to benefit their practices and patients.

Here are some of the top reasons why dentists currently avoid practicing orthodontics.

1. Lack of Confidence 

A dentist may opt to perform most extractions and refer out more complex cases they don’t feel comfortable with, but with orthodontics, dentists generally refer out all cases because they have no formal ortho training or limited confidence in treating malocclusions. In order for a dentist to treat orthodontic patients, they need the self-esteem to diagnose a problem, present the treatment plan, and execute treatment.

But because most dentists have such limited experience in orthodontics, they have no confidence to do so. This is why dentists look high and low for comprehensive courses like orthodontic training for general dentists. The American Orthodontic Society (AOS) offers courses for dentists of all levels and experience to get the basics down and then advance to more challenging coursework. These orthodontic courses give dentists the ability and self-assurance they need to practice orthodontics.

2. Losing Referrals

Many general dentists rely on referrals from other specialists and work on multispeciality cases together as a team. When a dentist decides to practice orthodontics, they may feel like they are stepping on another specialist’s toes. The AOS trains dentists how to identify appropriate cases to treat and when it is appropriate to refer out. This way patients in a general dental practice benefit by being able to get treatment under one roof, but if a case is too complex, they get the expertise of two or more dentists. 

3. Financial Aspect

Adding a new speciality or service to your dental practice is not always cheap. All the new materials and technology needed can seem overwhelmingly expensive. But think of the investment dentists make when learning to do implants and how lucrative and beneficial it is. Orthodontics is similar in that you will see large returns once you get more patients signing treatment plans, and then the investment will be worthwhile. 

4. Too Many Ortho Course Choices

It can be difficult to decide which orthodontic classes are the right fit for you. Most make promises that you’ll be proficient in orthodontics by the end of one weekend course. But the truth is that learning orthodontics is not a fast process. When dentists don’t know which course is going to be worth the investment and time off from work, they simply avoid practicing orthodontics.

The AOS offers a five-session course that takes place over a period of several months to give dentists the opportunities to learn, feel confident, make connections, and understand all areas of orthodontics. When you finish this orthodontic training for general dentists, you’ll be motivated to practice and even want to continue your educational journey.

5. Needing CE Credits

Is taking an orthodontic class valuable? Nearly all dentists would agree that it is, but does taking an ortho course give you the necessary continuing education credits needed to fulfill state licensure requirements? The AOS offers dentists over 100 CEs to go toward their licenses, and their courses are always up to date, giving dentists the latest technology and techniques to employ back in their dental practices. 

More than just CEs, the AOS offers dentists courses for their team members, along with other membership opportunities, so they have the best professional support system. Dentists don’t need to worry about only receiving CEs because you gain so much more when you sign up for an orthodontic course with the AOS. Get started on your journey to adding orthodontics to your practice today!

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

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