So you’re considering having orthodontic treatment, do you rush in and accept the first communication that you receive or do you perform a little research into the subject.

We are now in a new era where “ information” about orthodontic treatment is widely available ; due to the presence of the  internet, and the change in restrictions on advertising in dentistry in the Republic of Ireland.  Unfortunately however this  “information” varies from being factual as in the results of well conducted research published in reputable orthodontic journals, right down to the possibly less accurate  “marketing type material” as displayed in some  advertisements on websites and the media. There may unfortunately be pitfalls for the unwary.

I think that people should now approach this information with a certain level of skepticism and caution as they would when assessing the claims made in any  advertisement for any  service or  product. I think that few of us would believe claims that a new rejuvenating cream would remove all facial wrinkles overnight.  Sometimes unfortunately  things are  just are as they seem, “too good to be true”.

So where could one start, if you are considering orthodontic treatment ?.

A good starting point is to receive a comprehensive consultation including  examination  and diagnosis from an orthodontist. This may take up to an hour once any x-rays required have been taken and the treatment plan discussed.  (An Orthodontist is a qualified dentist who has completed a further 3 years full time training on a specialist training programme that is recognised by the Dental Council of Ireland. For a full list of orthodontists in Ireland, please go to the website of the  Dental Council Of Ireland  . This inevitably exposes my personal  bias as I am an orthodontist , and certainly does not imply that “non-orthodontists” are incapable of performing orthodontics. It is simply the  advice that I would give to a relative or friend of mine , if they were considering having an  orthodontic consultation.)

Only when your orthodontic problem is  defined can the specific treatment plan tailored to your needs  be discussed in a meaningful way . A very large part of the process in orthodontics is treatment planning and ensuring that the patient understands what is going on. In my opinion this is about 80% of the process . The remaining 20%  of the process is about delivering what was discussed in the treatment plan ,that is performing the actual treatment.Two patients with the same orthodontic problem could end up with different treatment plans. One may opt for comprehensive treatment and an “ideal” result which will take longer to achieve, whereas the other may opt for a more simplified or “compromised” treatment plan because they wish the treatment to be finished quicker.The important point here from my perspective is that the clinician  should be equally capable of doing both  comprehensive and limited type treatment. Otherwise it must be difficult to discuss both options in an informed way with the patient.   This involves deciding on the type of orthodontic appliance to be used , be it a (1)  functional orthodontic appliance e.g. twin block , herbst,  (2) braces =railway tracks , (a) clear or metallic , on the inside of the teeth (lingual braces ) or the outside of the teeth. (3) Would surgery be required if the jaw size needs to be corrected. It is really important  that the practitioner is capable of using  the appliance that the desired treatment plan merits. The treatment plan determines the appliance . The appliance must not determine the treatment plan.

This blog inevitably exposes the biases  which I have picked up along my career and for this I  apologise to anyone who is offended by it .   In keeping with the  theme of this blog I would encourage you to do a little research before you embark on treatment.

This orthodontic blog was written by Dr  John Buckley  who is a specialist orthodontist at Clonmel Orthodontics in Riverhouse orthodontic practice in Clonmel County Tipperary, Ireland. They provide orthodontics to county Tipperary and the neighbouring counties of Waterford, kilkenny, Limerick and Cork , and beyond.

Dr Buckley has practised as a specialist orthodontist in Clonmel for 20 years. In addition to his orthodontic qualifications which he held before he commenced orthodontic practice ,  Dr Buckley was  awarded a First class masters degree in Lingual orthodontics from the University of Hannover medical school (MHH) in 2012.  This masters degree is directed by Professor Dirk Wiechmann who is the inventor of both the incognito and win  lingual appliances. Dr  Buckley was the first orthodontist  in Ireland to be awarded this qualification.  In 2016 he was accepted as an active member of the European Society Of Lingual Orthodontics  (ESLO). To become an active member it is necessary for candidates to submit the records of finished lingual cases. If the cases are deemed to be of a sufficiently high standard then the candidate is accepted as an active member of ESLO. Dr Buckley is the first orthodontist in Ireland to be accepted as an active member of ESLO.