Orthodontic therapists can act in a similar capacity to orthodontic nurses by assisting orthodontists in carrying out orthodontic treatment but can provide some aspects of the treatment themselves.
In order to start training as an orthodontic therapist, individuals need to be qualified in dental nursing, dental hygiene, dental therapy or dental technology and also need to have a period of post-qualification experience in excess of one year. The training takes a year and involves theory and practical elements both at a dental teaching establishment and whilst working at an orthodontic practice under the guidance of a mentor.
Orthodontic therapists are able to provide a wide range services including; cleaning and preparing tooth surfaces ready for orthodontic treatment, inserting removable braces, fitting headgear, placing brackets and bands, inserting and adjusting arch-wires, removing fixed braces and providing advice on appliance care and oral health.
It is quite likely that some of your treatment will be carried out by an orthodontic therapist if the practice employs one. Although you may not see your orthodontist at every appointment, you can be reassured that they will still be overseeing your treatment whilst you receive high quality care from someone with a great deal of experience and additional training.
The first orthodontic therapist course started in 2007 so this is a relatively new role but one which is likely to prove popular with orthodontic nurses looking for career progression opportunities. The British Orthodontic Society have published an interesting article on the topic charting the history of the development of the course which started way back in 1967!