THE FORCE AWAKENS: ORTHODONTISTS VERSUS GENERAL DENTISTS
I am writing this article with 3 days to go until the launch of the new Star Wars
movie. By the time you read this, most of you will have seen the film, or at least be
familiar with the franchise. Without detracting too much from Mr Lucas’ creative
genius, the story in a nutshell is that of two sides at war. One is good, one is evil and
they are trying to destroy each other, and take control of a galaxy far, far away.
So, scaling this concept back slightly, let’s look at something a little closer to home.
Short-term orthodontics (or whatever acronym you use to describe this novel
treatment approach). How does this relate to the Star Wars universe? Well, whenever
the concept of STO raises it’s head, it seems the orthodontists and general dentists
sharpen their light-sabres, reach for their blasters and civil unrest swiftly follows.
Orthodontics is a complex discipline, and takes years of full-time study to perfect.
There is whispered talk of angles, appliances, cephalometry and tipping/torqueing
forces…a mystical art to the general dentist. With such a wealth of experience, training
and knowledge, it is easy to understand why orthodontists disagree with the
concept of general dentists providing orthodontics. After all, they are best placed to see
what can go wrong.
With a revelation akin to the moment Luke found out Darth Vader was his father, we
therefore introduce the solution – Quick Straight Teeth.
How can QST restore calm and order to the unrest that simmers between these
QST has been developed by specialist orthodontists to be delivered by general
dentists. Because of this specialist insight, the system focuses on four key areas:
- and onward referral when appropriate.
Contrary to popular belief QST do not advocate that our treatments are quicker, like
for like. However, due to the fact that we focus on anterior alignment only, and only
mild cases that can be alleviated by simple forces, this type of treatment is completed
in a shorter timeframe. Our users are strongly advised to relay this to patients to avoid
any confusion with comprehensive orthodontics.
We never profess to replace specialist training with a short course. What we can do
however, is provide a learning pathway to understand and apply basic orthodontic
knowledge. This is backed up with an extensive video library, distance learning, and
treatment of cases on phantom heads, under specialist supervision. This will start
dentists on the right path. With the limited teaching that we can impart in this timeframe,
we then ensure the safety of both practitioner and patient by only allowing treatment of cases appropriate
to the level of knowledge that they have thus far gained.
In turn, these cases are completed with unlimited online support and mentoring via
our forum, under-pinned by our global specialist network. No case will be approved if
it is outside the scope of training and experience of the treating clinician. In these
situations, referral to a specialist orthodontist is strongly advised.
Quick Straight Teeth Short Term Orthodontic Force Awakens
At QST we have three tiers of treatment,
- Q Removable,
- Q Fixed,
- Q Specialist
We reject around 30% of cases as inappropriate for general dentists. We actively try
and bridge the gap between orthodontists and general dentists, and
encourage collaboration to ensure patients are given the best care.
In the UK, where it all began, we have an ever-growing number of specialists joining
our ranks because they have realised several facts about our company:
– We are not trying to steal their business
– We are not treating cases that are inappropriate for the GDP
– We actively encourage referral of difficult cases. We help to grow
specialists practices using this approach of mutual co-operation
– We respect and fully embrace that we need the assistance of our specialist
colleagues to support our dentists
So, is there a civil war brewing between the orthodontists and the general dentists
over short-term orthodontics? It is easy to understand the specialist’s disapproving
perspective on this issue, for the reasons I have outlined.
However, if STO allows dentists to practice minimally invasive dentistry, respecting
the best interests of the patient, and they can do so safely with the correct training and
support, whilst increasing the awareness and referral of complex orthodontics to the
appropriate practitioners – then surely we are all on the same side?
May the (correct and orthodontically appropriate) Force be with us.
If you are a general dentist and would like to learn about short term orthodontics
click on the link below to find out more.