Investing in orthodontic continuing education is a major investment for a dentist, both timewise and financially. So, if you have made it through the American Orthodontic Society (AOS) Basic course, give yourself a ton of credit! Taking orthodontic CE courses is exciting for general and pediatric dentists because they get to apply their knowledge and training on their own patients, treating orthodontic needs and boosting production revenue in the office. The Basic course prepares dentists to confidently treat 70-80% of Class I and II malocclusions, but now you have to decide if you want to move forward with getting an education in more challenging, but rewarding, orthodontic cases.
What are the benefits of taking an advanced orthodontics course?
The Basic Straight Wire course is ideal for any dentist with little to no experience so they get a foundation in orthodontics. But, there are several advanced orthodontic topics that are not covered in the Basics course, because like any speciality, it takes time, experience, and education to master a new field.
The advanced course covers more challenging Class II malocclusions using adjunct appliances and also gets you familiar with difficult Class III underbites, which often require lengthy treatments and oftentimes a surgical approach. Other topics that the advanced course will review are mini orthodontic implants for anchoring, 3-D printing and scanning (which is now almost a necessity in orthodontics), and closing spaces for implants.
The benefits of the advanced course are endless because you not only gain the higher level instruction, but you are also surrounded by like-minded colleagues, so you can bounce ideas around and troubleshoot with other dentists—an opportunity you may not have otherwise had.
How do you know if you are ready to tackle a challenging, advanced orthodontic course? Consider the following to feel it out and see if you are up for the challenge.
1. Are you confident in and successful with the basics?
You need to evaluate your orthodontic patient base. Are you seeing only one or two cases per month? Or are you moving at a quicker pace while building your orthodontic practice and seeing a steady stream of new patients each month for consultations and referrals?
Next take a hard look at how confident you are in your treatment skills. If you’re handling all the basic treatment cases that come your way competently, are you ready to move on to a difficult case load? These factors can help you determine if you’re ready to move forward by taking an advanced orthodontic course. It may be the right option for you, but not at this time. Instead, you may also benefit from additional mentoring, journal review, and training before you jump into an advanced course.
2. Is your team on board?
When you have a dedicated team, moving forward with orthodontics becomes more productive and sometimes fun too. This is because you depend on your administrative team and clinical staff with orthodontic insurance, photo and record taking, and even wire changing. Consider signing your team up for the orthodontic assisting training program.
If your team is motivated and wants to push orthodontics in your office, it may be worth the investment to take an advanced course so you’re able to treat more challenging cases and train your staff in more complicated cases as well.
3. What are your long-term goals?
Do you want to professionally grow by learning new orthodontic techniques? If your answer is yes, it may be a good idea to take an advanced orthodontics course so you can get a better grasp on difficult treatments like surgical orthodontics, TADS, electrosurgery, and prosthodontic cases.
Some dentists are content doing simple orthodontic cases and prefer to refer out any severe malocclusion cases, and that’s okay. You have to know your comfort level and where you want to be in your profession. There’s always an option to take more training and advanced courses if or when you feel you are ready.
4. Is orthodontics productive in your office?
We all know how lucrative orthodontics can be, but you have to look at the big picture and find out if it is worth investing in an advanced orthodontic course with all of your materials and overhead. If you are ready to make the big move, go forward and start getting ready to take on more challenging coursework.
Orthodontics, like any speciality, is an investment in the coursework, technology, staff training, and time off from your practice. If you see that your office growth will be productive in the near future by taking on additional cases, it is a great idea to take more advanced courses with the AOS.
5. Are you looking to transition your career?
Some dentists eventually decide to pursue orthodontics full-time, which means they should really understand all the ins and outs of orthodontics. If you are looking to step back from general and pediatric dentistry, it may be worth it to take advanced orthodontic CE courses so you can fully focus on orthodontic patients only.
Are you ready to move forward in your orthodontic career?
Should you immediately take an advanced orthodontics course, or wait until you feel more ready to move forward in your orthodontic career? Either way, the answer is not black and white, and the good news is you are invested in helping your patients in orthodontics and you’re looking to get additional training to become more confident and competent in your practice. The AOS offers a great support system when you have any questions about moving forward or getting any type of additional orthodontic training. Learn more about our AOS orthodontic training courses to see if you’re ready for the next step in your career.
To learn more about our popular orthodontics courses for pediatric and general dentists, check out one of the upcoming events below.