Although qualifications form only part of the rationale for choosing a particular specialist orthodontist, they do however provide the patient with an indication that the specialist orthodontist was undergone peer reviewed clinical training and has passed high level examinations in the subject. In addition the Royal College of Surgeons, British Orthodontic Society and the General Dental Council expect their members to adhere to codes of practice that if not followed can result in the practitioner being removed from the College/Society. If their treatment standards fall below those expect the orthodontist may be prevented from working.
You may have noticed the letters after the name of a dentist. Below is an explanation of the letters after my name and a brief C.V. (please excuse a little self promotion).
I graduated as a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) from Manchester University Dental Hospital in 1992, being one of the few dentists in my year to be awarded the degree with honours (Hons). I decided not to start work as a General Dental Practitioner (GDP) but was appointed as House Officer and subsequently Senior House Officer in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (OMFS). This training post involves managing patients who have been referred to hospital because they suffer diseases/trauma/deformity of the head, face and neck. It was during this two and a half years of further training that I sat the Fellowship Examinations in Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons (FDSRCS) and was fortunate to be awarded the Gold Medal for the best performance in the examination for that year.
On leaving hospital employment I entered General Dental Practice (GDP) and in addition studied part time for a Master of Science Degree (MSc) focusing on Fixed and Removable Prosthodontics. This is a specialist area of dentistry that is concerned with crowns, bridges, veneers and dentures. Although rapid functional and cosmetic changes can be achieved with this type of dental work, it is at a high financial and personal cost for the patient. Treatment involves cutting and drilling the teeth and it inevitably reduces their life span, in addition, the work needs to be replaced periodically as the artificial teeth suffer from wear and tear. It seemed much more sensible to use a non-destructive method of achieving an improved functional and cosmetic result. As a result I decided to pursue a career in orthodontics.
To train as Specialist in Orthodontics I became an Orthodontic Specialist Registrar (SpR) at Birmingham Dental Hospital. In this initial 3 year training period I studied for a Master of Philosophy degree (MPhil) in orthodontics and qualified as a Specialist Orthodontist by sitting the Membership Examination of the Royal College of Surgeons of England (MOrth RCS Eng).
As a Specialist Orthodontist I could now stop training and work in practice as a Specialist Orthodontist, however, my intention was to study further so that I would be equipped to deal with the most severe and complex of orthodontic problems. To do so required an additional 2 years study and another examination, the Fellowship in Dental Surgery (FDSOrth), to qualify as an Orthodontic Consultant.
So 15 years after entering Manchester Dental Hospital as a Dental Student and having sat many examinations I started work as a hospital consultant. It may have taken many years to get there but it was worth the wait!
In addition to my clinical NHS Consultancy I am an Academic Teacher in Orthodontics at the Dental Hospital in Manchester, Speciality Advisor for Orthodontics to the Royal College of Surgeons, Examiner in Orthodontics at the Royal College of Surgeons, Post Graduate Lead in Orthodontics at Manchester University and Chairman of the Orthodontic Clinical Network in East Lancashire.