So, what can dental professionals do when patients think they can bypass expert treatment? To ensure patients receive the best care, it is extremely important to position yourself as an authority in orthodontics. It is fairly easy to start this journey by taking on some straightforward cases and learning a system that is doctor-directed. The system itself is less important than developing the confidence necessary to start treating cases.
Learning orthodontics in any capacity is not accomplished by taking a weekend course alone. In dental school, we learn very little about orthodontics and are led to believe it is a mystery that can only be solved by a 2–3-year residency. In reality, like most specialty procedures—root canals, extractions, treating periodontal disease, crown/bridge/dentures, implants—there are times to refer (in the case of an impacted wisdom tooth wrapped around the nerve, for example) and times to treat in your office.
By pursuing further education that not only teaches an alignment system but also teaches diagnosis, tooth movement mechanics, implementation and staff training, and benefits/limitations of all types of treatments including brackets, you can equip yourself to confidently treat patients who present to you with malocclusion, cosmetic issues or everyday crowding.