Offering Outstanding Orthodontics – Tim Bradstock-Smith

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  Posted by: Dental Design      3rd May 2018

Smiling is the best way of making a good first impression. According to a recent survey a smile is more powerful than the spoken word[1] and as the face is the first place that others look, it is little wonder that there has been a significant rise in the popularity of orthodontic treatment. One of the factors driving this demand seems to be that the British public have begun to aspire to a ‘celebrity style culture’ and the fascination with fame, which has evolved and influenced the way people feel about their teeth. Another, is the availability of flexible payment plans which make these procedures more accessible to more people and with orthodontic appliances being more discreet than ever before, over 200,000 people now embark orthodontic treatment each year.[2]

For dental professionals, orthodontic treatment is regarded as a sound investment to reposition or align the teeth, to correct the bite, reduce crowding, close gaps and improve function. It can be beneficial and successful at any age and, as well aligned teeth are easier to clean, it lowers the risks of tooth decay and periodontal disease. Similarly, orthodontic procedures can be an effective alternative to more invasive procedures, preserving natural tissue and offering predictable results. However, it is important to understand that patients are often more concerned about enhancing their appearance and gaining self-confidence and social acceptance than they are with improving their oral function or health.[3],[4]

As we are all aware, bright, straight teeth are associated with health, beauty, happiness and success. Therefore, orthodontics can be a lucrative provision for general dental practices. As well as offering patients the treatments that they want, satisfied patients are a walking advertisement for the practice and a valuable source of word of mouth marketing. As well as this, orthodontics can offer an effective gateway to further treatment – once the teeth are straighter many patients consider further procedures such as tooth whitening to perfect their look.

Due to concerns about lack of appropriate training and experience, the subject of delivering safe, effective orthodontics within general dentistry has been widely debated. Although a general dental practitioner (GDP) can provide any treatment in which they are competent, the argument is that the decision about whether they are competent or not, is taken by themselves. Similarly, it has been said that in order to recognise what may be considered as a ‘simple’ case, the practitioner would need to be competent in all areas of orthodontics.[5] However conversely, even newly qualified dentists should be competent in diagnosis and assessment, which means they should have the capabilities required to recognise a simple case or to determine whether or not a patient needs to be referred.

Interestingly, there are now a variety of orthodontic appliances that have been designed specifically to be used by GDPs, which are fairly straightforward to deiver, yet offer impressive results. For instance, removable options such as the ClearSmile Inman Aligner, delivers effective straightening in a matter of weeks for simple anterior cases. Also, there is the Invisalign, a clear, nearly invisible appliance that can move the teeth gradually into position in approximately 9 to 15 months. These appeal to patients because they are competitively priced and offer the assurance of a discreet look but also, they are conducive to modern living because they can be removed for certain occasions as well as eating, drinking and tooth brushing. The other advantage with these types of appliances is that GDPs can attend short training courses to learn how to use them without a significant amount of time or investment. Training concentrates on correct orthodontic assessment and treatment planning, which enables GDPs to prepare and perform treatment accurately with minimal risk.

Of course, it is important to select cases carefully and to ensure that patients understand the limitations of certain orthodontic appliances. Furthermore, all possible options should be explored at the treatment planning stage and if any uncertainties remain, GDPs should seek the advice of a specialist. This is the reason why a good working relationship with a trusted referral practice is worthwhile. Not only can GDPs ask for specialist advice, they can also develop a streamlined and efficient pathway on which to refer patients if the complexity of a case reaches beyond the their skill or experience.

The London Smile Clinic, for example, is an award winning referral centre that works with GDPs to deliver gold standard orthodontic treatment. Specialist Orthodontists, Mr Jigar Patel and Dr Padhraig Fleming are on hand to help with treatment planning and to take on complex cases, while referring dentists remain in control with regular updates throughout all procedures. Furthermore, patients are always returned to their own dentist for on-going care and oral health maintenance.

With a strong, supportive partnership with a referral practice GDPs can propose all types of orthodontic treatments to keep patients smiling from ear to ear.


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[1] Kelton Global 2012. Behind the Smile Perception Study. [Accessed 22nd January 2018]

[2] British Orthodontic Society (BOS). Why Orthodontics. [Accessed 22nd January 2018]

[3] Twigge E et al. The psycho-social impact of malocclusions and treatment expectations of adolescent orthodontic patients. Eur J Orthod (2016) 38 (6): 593-601. [Accessed 22nd January 2018]

[4] Asuman Kiyak H. Does orthodontic treatment affect patients’ quality of life? Journal of Dental Education 2008. 72 (8) 886-894. [Accessed 22nd January 2018]

[5] Kevin O’Brien’s orthodontic blog. Should General Dentists provide orthodontic treatment?


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