Aus Fragmental of Belger Corporation
Dentist? Orthodontist? Are they not the same thing? There might be a little bit of confusion concerning the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist, so I have written a series of articles to describe things. This fourth article outlines some of the technical and legal aspects of a person calling themselves an orthodontist, with particular mention of the the united kingdom and Ireland.
In the first article, I explained that orthodontists are dentists that concentrate their activity in one area of dentistry. In the second, we looked at the different special regions of dentistry and the particular stuff that an orthodontist would concentrate on. The 3rd looked at the regulation of dentistry, which article looks at the regulating orthodontics and the utilisation of the description "orthodontist".
All orthodontists are dentists, first and foremost, and are regulated by a company which is set up by government to oversee the laws relating to dentistry - they would be described as a "competent body" in legal terms, and broadly speaking, they're there to protect the very best interests from the public, not the dentists. They observe that dentists have achieved a minimum standard of skill and data, and investigate claims that they aren't conducting the work they do (or their behaviour generally) to an acceptable standard in various areas.
In the UK, this is actually the General Dental Council as well as in Ireland, this is actually the Dental Council.
For that practice of orthodontics, associated with pension transfer other areas of dentistry, any dentist can perform it as long because they are an authorized dentist, and their name appears on the "Dental Register". These dental councils also manage a quantity of "special registers" with the names of dentists they consider to be specialists in a particular section of dentistry. In Ireland there's two specialist registers, in the UK you will find 13. One of these will be the "Specialist Register of Orthodontists".
If a dentist's name is roofed in this specialist register, they have satisfied their dental council they have a competency and knowledge of orthodontics that entitles them to call themselves an "orthodontist" or a "specialist in orthodontics". They are able to still call themselves "dentist" and "dental surgeon".
The Dental Council (of Ireland) summarises its code of practice for dentists in communications and public relations and includes this advice: "Registered practitioners not registered within the Register of Dental Specialists maintained by the Dental Council shall not use any form of words that may reasonably be interpreted by a person in the public to convey that the practitioner is practicing like a specialist."
If your dentist's name isn't on the specialist list, then effectively their dental council doesn't confirm that they have anymore skill in orthodontics than any other area of dentistry. They may still be very good at orthodontics, but there isn't a standardised register or any other method of causeing this to be distinction. Some dentists might do nothing else apart from orthodontics (sometimes they may describe themselves as "limited to orthodontics"), and they might even have orthodontic qualifications from the university, however they can't call themselves an "orthodontist" or perhaps a "specialist" if they aren't on the list.