A survey of undergraduate orthodontic teaching and factors affecting pursuit of postgraduate training

Preeti Jauhar, Peter Mossey, Hashmat Popat, Jadbinder Seehra, Padhraig S. Fleming (Lead / Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Background: Undergraduate orthodontic teaching has been focused on developing an understanding of occlusal development in an effort to equip practitioners to make appropriate referrals for specialist-delivered care. However, there is a growing interest among general dentists in delivering more specialised treatments, including short-term orthodontic alignment. This study aimed to assess the levels of knowledge of occlusal problems among final year undergraduate dental students, as well as their interest in various orthodontics techniques and training.
Methods: A 36-item electronic questionnaire was sent to all final year undergraduate students in four dental institutes in the UK (Barts and the London, Kings College London, Cardiff and Dundee). The questionnaire explored satisfaction with undergraduate orthodontic teaching; students’ perception of knowledge, based on General Dental Council learning outcomes; perceptions of the need for specialist involvement in the management of dental problems; interest in further training in orthodontics; and potential barriers to undertaking specialist training.
Results: The overall response rate was 66% (239/362). The majority of students (84.1%) were aware of GDC guidance in terms of undergraduate teaching. Students reported a preference for case-based and practical teaching sessions in orthodontics, with less interest in lectures or problem-based learning approaches. A high percentage were interested in further teaching in interceptive orthodontics (60.3%) and fixed appliance therapy (55.7%). Further training including specialist orthodontic training (36.4%), Invisalign (59%) and Six Month Smiles (41%) courses appealed to undergraduates. Levels of student debt, course fees and geographical issues were seen as potential barriers to formal, specialist training pathways.
Conclusions: Satisfaction with undergraduate orthodontic teaching is high and interest in further training, including specialist training pathways, continues to be high. While short-term orthodontics is not taught at undergraduate level, there appears to be an appetite to undertake alternatives to conventional orthodontics among dental students.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)487-492
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Dental Journal
Publication statusPublished - 21 Oct 2016


  • Orthodontics
  • Education/dental
  • Students/dental
  • Teaching
  • Career choice
  • Knowledge


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