Country Report 2017

Name of Member organization

British Orthodontic Society - BOS

When established + short historic overview

The British Orthodontic Society is the largest of the dental specialist groups and is dedicated to advancing the science and practice of orthodontics for the benefit of patients.
The Society was formed in 1994 by the merger of several smaller societies, but its origins go back to 1907 when the first orthodontic study group was formed in the UK. Alongside its traditional focus on research and on promotion of the highest clinical and ethical standards, the Society and its members aim to increase understanding of orthodontics and the benefits offered by treatment.

Number of active members July, 2018

1900 members

  Updated June 2018

President 2018

Secretary 2018-2020

Treasurer 2015-2019

When was orthodontics recognized as a dental specialty


What is the competent authority for specialists registration

General Dental Council

What is the outline of the national specialists training program (as required by the competent authority)

The courses take 3 years (or equivalent part-time) and consist of clinical training (in a hospital) alongside academic study (at the university). After 3 years you will sit the examination for the Membership in Orthodontics (M.Orth) and, if successful, you will gain a Certificate of Completion of Specialist Training (CCST). This will allow you to be included on the specialist list and be known as a Specialist in Orthodontics. Trainees are also required to study for a higher degree, such as the MSc or DDS, during their training. You will normally receive a salary during your training, although you will be required to pay tuition fees.

Is continuous education (CE) mandatory; If so, how organized

CPD (Continuing Professional Development) requirements changed in January 2018. Under the ECPD scheme, dentists will need to complete a minimum of 100 hours verifiable CPD over their five year cycle as well as ensuring they declare at least 10 hours during any 2 year period.​ There is also a requirement for Clinical Governance in the form of Audit and/ or Peer Review.

What is the organization of the delivery of orthodontic care

The provision of orthodontics varies considerably across the UK. In some areas the majority of orthodontics is provided by specialists while, in other areas, general dental practitioners provide a large part of the service, often in close collaboration with the local hospital service.Historically, this is a reflection of how the service has developed and where orthodontists trained. There has also been an increasing demand placed on the service as the population’s awareness of dental health has increased and more people have sought treatment. This increase in demand has not however been met by a relative increase in the number of specialist orthodontists being trained and therefore large waiting lists for treatment have developed in certain parts of the country.To help provide a service in parts of the country where there was a lack of specialist orthodontic provision, a large percentage of the treatment was being provided by general dental practitioners.Since the introduction of the new dental contract, in April 2006, this service has reduced, placing greater pressure on the specialist providers. There is also the introduction of the 18 week wait for consultant led services in secondary care which will be a national target by December 2008. Combined, these place greater onus on the referring practitioner to refer, in the first instance, to the most appropriate provider. This, for some, will be a cultural shift as they may have referred preferentially to one provider for a variety of reasons.

Any further information regarding the position of orthodontics in the country

The Orthodontic Practice Committee of the BOS reports that many specialist practitioners have had several extension to their government contracts and all practices may have to bid for new contracts in the next year to 18 months. There is widespread dissatisfaction with the bidding process in England and patients may have to change orthodontist mid-treatment and the new provider may even be in a different town! The health authorities appear to have little understanding of the contracts they are negotiating in that people who have had their contract values halved are expected to be able to continue to provide ongoing treatment for their population load ‘for nothing’, and in other situations where a specialist has lost a contract they seem unsure as to what is going to happen to the patients in treatment. National Recruitment was a process brought in an attempt to improve equality to those able to access training but with this there have been many different issues arising as to the appropriateness of candidates. A whole new level of bureaucracy has been introduced with the introduction of the Care Quality Commission who now inspect practices on a two-yearly rota. This recent initiative has taken the art of ‘hoop-jumping’ to a whole new level. The General Dental Council in the UK, warned the orthodontic community that misleading information given to patients as to the qualifications of the practitioner or the benefits, or otherwise, of particular treatment modalities, by way of Practice leaflets, websites or verbally will lead to investigation and in serious cases prosecution. The BOS has brought several misleading claims to the attention of the GDC and warnings have been sent out to the relevant parties.