Strength in Numbers
Is there a benefit to being part of a group, or are you better doing your own thing? We all start out dependent, and if we're lucky we evolve on from that to independence. Many would say that there is a higher state of development, interdependence.
In the orthodontic world, indeed in any profession, this is also the case. Clinicians have an obligation to keep learning and staying aware of the ever changing standards in their line of work. And when I say that standards change, they never actually get more relaxed.
In order to keep up to date with what goes on in dentistry and orthodontics, it helps to be part of various groups of dentists and orthodontists. You can see some of the logos of them at the bottom of the page.
- Irish Dental Association - The professional body for all areas of dentistry in Ireland
- Orthodontic Society of Ireland - The organisation for dentists who are specialists in orthodontics (as I write this in 2017, there are only 2 dental specialties in Ireland, orthodontics and oral surgery)
- British Orthodontic Society - The UK's main orthodontics society, and publishers of the Journal of Orthodontics
- American Association of Orthodontists - The USA's society for orthodontic specialists, and publishers of the American Journal of Orthodontics. That's probably the world's main orthodontic publication for over 100 years.
- World Federation of Orthodontists - The international organisation of orthodontists. They host one of the world's biggest conferences every 5 years, and I have been at 3 of them now (that's how long I have been at this). I have also represented Ireland at a couple of their meetings in 2015 and 2016, which has resulted in Ireland backing the South African bid to host the International Orthodontic Congress in 2025.
- SIDO - An Italian society for orthodontics. They host a meeting twice a year that always has great speakers from around the world. I went to their event in Rome last year and went looking for lunch during the break and by an odd series of events ended up with a ticket for an audience with the Pope.
- Royal College of Surgeons of England - This is the main representative and educational institution for surgeons in England, and probably the most influential in the UK. As well as dental surgery and orthodontics, it examines and represents surgeons in all sorts of areas from brain surgery to broken legs.
- Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh - This is one of the oldest surgical institutions in the world and the college that examined me and many other dentists to determine if we were ready to become orthodontists.
- Invisible Orthodontic Specialists Ireland - a group of specialist orthodontists that provide clear braces systems like Invisalign. Since this is a relatively new way of treating patients in a specialty that's over 100 years old, it's useful to meet up with colleagues and learn the best ways to use this new approach.
Those groups are ones that I choose to be a member of, but the only organisation that I am obliged to be registered with is the Dental Council of Ireland. This is the organisation that regulates who can practice dentistry in Ireland, and so they keep a list of all the dentists, and a few additional lists, such as the dentists who are also specialist orthodontists. The public are entitled to check these lists to see if a person is legally entitled to practice dentistry, and to check a dentist's qualifications.