The first students to become qualified orthodontic therapists have graduated from the University Hospital’s Bristol NHS Foundation Trust’s Bristol Dental Hospital.
Orthodontic therapists are the newest group of dental care professionals (DCPs) created by the General Dental Council (GDC).
They can assist dentists in carrying out orthodontic treatment and provide some treatment themselves.
Six students from the Trust piloted the year-long programme back in October 2007.
The course involves a four-week intensive taught program led by consultant orthodontists combined with a placement treating patients studying under a registered specialist orthodontist trainer.
Sarah Bain, head of dental care professional training, says: ‘I’m absolutely delighted to the see the first orthodontic therapists qualify. They will now make a significant impact on the number of patients accessing orthodontic care.’
This new qualification is part of a government drive to improve the speed and quality of orthodontic care.
Qualified orthodontic therapists will carry out routine and emergency procedures that should reduce waiting lists for more specialised treatments.