By Danny Chan
General dentists and orthodontists undergo a shared curriculum during their dental school years, yet those pursuing specialized orthodontic training must complete a rigorous, three-year full-time program. Such training involves hands-on instruction, guidance from orthodontic mentors, and a series of assessment exams to secure specialist registration.
Unfortunately, limited spaces are available for this program, and committing to three years of full-time study presents significant challenges for practice owners or those unable to leave work or family responsibilities.
But what if there exists an alternative option for general practitioners seeking a comprehensive orthodontic curriculum that empowers them to confidently and efficiently treat a range of cases? This is where OrthoED’ s Mini Masters course comes in.
Comprehensive Training for General Practitioners
The OrthoED Mini Masters is a fully accredited, 9-module, two-year orthodontics course primarily delivered by Australia’s leading orthodontic educator, Dr Geoff Hall.
Dr Hall brings 32 years of experience and over 11,000 completed cases to the course, which is designed to provide general practitioners with a solid foundation in orthodontics.
According to OrthoED’ S Course Coordinator, Robyn Wood, graduates of their Mini Masters program are expected to properly diagnose and deliver realistic and risk mitigated treatment plans, save time and money on every orthodontic case, complete cases quickly and successfully, and gain the confidence to deliver predictable and high-quality cases profitably.
“Our program is based on sound orthodontic principles, and we continually improve it based on the feedback we receive from doctors,” she adds.
“Geoff (Hall) is known as the myth-busting orthodontist. He’s a very real lecturer who calls it as he sees it. So he does break down a lot of the myths that are out there.
“We do not recommend specific systems, and the knowledge gained from our courses can be applied to any system.”
Sold-out In-person Lectures
Attesting to Dr Hall’s popularity as a straight-talking orthodontic lecturer is the strong turnout for Module 1 of the Mini Masters Programme, recently held over three days at the Chadstone Hotel in Melbourne from 1-3 March. Each of those sold-out sessions attracted about 90 course attendees, with many others viewing the Live streamed version from the comfort of their home or office.
One of them is Dr Maria Florou, the Principal Dentist of Casuarina Dental Family and Holistic Care in NSW. Dr Florou first attended Geoff’s online lectures due to the COVID-19 lockdown, and she is obviously impressed enough to travel interstate just to catch the ‘live’ version in Melbourne.
“It’s been two years since I started on Geoff’s course and receiving his support on cases. So far, the quality of the content has been great. I wanted to broaden my view of dentistry through this course, not just focusing on aesthetics but really understanding the bio-dynamics of teeth movement,” she stresses.
“Having (Geoff’s) knowledge and support throughout this new learning journey really gives me the confidence to deliver better care to my patients.”
Module 1 focuses on diagnosis, treatment planning, risk management, and the art of excellent case presentation. Other modules cover conventional and unconventional straight wire mechanics, early orthodontic treatment, clear aligner therapy, aesthetic and accelerated orthodontics, advanced biomechanics, management of severe skeletal and dental discrepancies, ID and management of difficult orthodontic problems and malocclusions, and advanced aligner course.
Dr Farah Hares, a Senior Associate Dentist at Parramatta Dental Avenue, completed Module 4 (on clear aligners) in November, and immediately started applying the newfound knowledge. Now excited to pick up “practical principles” from Module 1, she says:
“I think that Geoff is a great lecturer because he takes out the needless information that you’re never going to use – which if you want, is available as part of the pre- and post-course materials anyway.
“He gets straight to the point and explains the concepts very well – and in very practical terms.”
As OrthoED’ S long-standing Course Coordinator, dentists often ask Robin Wood at what stage of the 9-module course they can start treating patients, to which she would respond: “Immediately.”
“It is important to start implementing the principles learned in module one right away, particularly in diagnosis and treatment planning,” she says.
“Module two has a comprehensive hands-on component that teaches doctors how to bond brackets and tie arch wires. We encourage doctors to start treating patients with braces after completing module two.
“Module three focuses on early treatment of younger children. While some doctors report that it takes until the end of module three to build their confidence, we believe success stories come from doctors who start treating patients early on with our support.
“We hold their hands from the start of treatment until the braces are removed, and even after completing the course. Our alumni membership provides ongoing support to doctors who complete the course."
Keeping Doctors and Patients Safe
The courses are also designed to address another genuine concern of many “orthodontists”, an informal reference to general dentists providing teeth alignment services.
The reason why general dentists don't often refer back to an orthodontist, Wood reasons, is that some orthodontists do not support general dentists doing orthodontic work.
“Although some specialists do support their colleagues, many general dentists are hesitant to seek their guidance for fear of being reported to APRA if their work doesn't meet the orthodontist's standards,” she says.
“However, from OrthoED’ s perspective, general dentists are already treating orthodontic patients and should be taught properly by experts like Geoff.
“The Mini Masters course aims to keep doctors and patients safe by teaching dentists to identify cases that fall outside their scope of treatment and refer them to specialists. Before treatment, doctors are encouraged to send their cases to Geoff, who can assess whether they are suitable for treatment or should be referred out.
“Additionally, the program emphasizes risk management by helping doctors identify potential problems at the diagnosis stage and find ways to avoid them to prevent prolonged treatment times and ensure patients' safety.”
Practical Training and Full Case Support
In addition to comprehensive training, the OrthoED Mini Masters provides practical training and full case support to general practitioners. The course includes a team training day, scheduling and integration plan, practical treatment planning and case management mentoring and support, six 90-minute webinars per year, weekly Q+A/treatment planning sessions for general dentists and hygienists, quarterly lunchtime Q+A sessions for teams, and in-practice training sessions (elective).
The OrthoED Mini Masters course provides convenience of study, with the option of face-to-face learning or livestream with online support during each session. In the last 2 years, the OrthoED Mini Masters programs have sold out within a few months of registrations opening, and soon OrthoED will be taking applications for the 2024 program with early bird specials for the first 30 registrants.
If you wish to be placed on the waiting list for 2024, please contact Mrs Robyn Wood on 1300 073 427 or via email email@example.com