In order for a Dentist to become an Orthodontist they need to undertake Specialist Training. Entry onto Specialist Training in Orthodontics is competitive and therefore candidates need to undertake the following:

Broad experience of dentistry in the first few years following qualification. This could include a mix of; working in general dental practice, community dentistry and hospital departments. The aim is get a good understanding of the broad nature of dentistry both in primary care (dental practice) and secondary care (hospitals).

Study toward Diploma from one of the Royal Colleges. The Royal Colleges often have a Dental Faculty offering Diplomas in general and specialised areas of Dentistry. The Diploma available to recent dental graduates is the MJDF/MFDS/MFD examination. This is a broad exam consisting of academic and clinical examinations to assess candidates general dental knowledge. Although it is no longer essential to have this examination, most candidates will have obtained the Diploma.

Undertaken some research and/or audit into a area of medicine/dentistry which is then published in a dental journal and/or presented at a meeting. Orthodontic Specialty Training is undertaken by numerous Dental Hospitals in the UK. The academic component is taught by the University employed academic orthodontists and clinical component often taught by academics and consultant orthodontists. Trainees can either be based at a teaching hospital or also based at a district general hospital for their training. Orthodontic Specialist Training is usually undertaken over 3 years (sometimes longer if the candidate is working part-time). The training consists of clinical, hands-on training at a hospital. Trainees learn the diagnosis and management of orthodontic problems. Trainees also undertake academic work involving studying toward a higher University degree such as MSc, MClinDent, MPhil or DDS. Toward the end of the 3 year course Trainees sit the Membership in Orthodontics (MOrth) examination of one of the Royal Colleges. The examination assess the candidates abilities in a number of areas including diagnosis, communication and clinical ability. On obtaining the examination, trainees are given a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). This allows them to be put on the Specialist Register of the General Dental Council, this allows them to call themselves “Specialist Orthodontist”!

We are grateful to Dr. Angus Pringle who kindly wrote this article for the site. Angus can be contacted at

Image © Bartkowski / Fotolia