What is CPD for Orthodontists?

What is CPD for Orthodontists?

23 Mar 2022

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Orthodontics are a class of dental care professionals that is concerned with correcting crooked teeth and jaws and plays a vital role within the dental team. In this article, we will provide a brief overview to Continuing Professional Development for Orthodontists, including the GDC requirements, verifiable and non-verifiable activities, and how CPD should be recorded.

An overview of CPD in the Dental Sector

An orthodontist is a type of dentist trained in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities to help correctly align teeth, bites and jaws, including straightening teeth. They correct existing conditions and are trained to identify problems that may develop in the future. Orthodontists work with people of all ages, from children to adults.

Technological advances in orthodontics are transforming the patient experience. Every field of dentistry is evolving as advances bring improved technology and techniques to dental professionals. In a changing world of orthodontic treatment delivery, updating skills and knowledge is essential to delivering good quality care and service delivery to patients, and staying up to date with industry related developments.

Continuing Professional Development, or CPD, is how dental practitioners maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, expertise and competence required throughout their professional lives. The CPD process is designed to aid professional learning and development as an orthodontist, and ensure they have the tools to meet the ongoing needs of the dental industry.

All dental professionals have to register with the General Dental Council (GDC) to practice in the UK. The GDC requires all registrants to undertake Continuing Professional Development and is a compulsory part of GDC registration.

What are the benefits of CPD for orthodontists?

Good orthodontists will recognize that there is always room for more education and the expansion of their clinical skills. The main benefit of undertaking CPD it that it ensures dental professionals continue to be competent in their profession. Effective CPD should ensure high professional standards and that patients continually receive the very best care possible.

Continuing Professional Development is necessary to maintain up-to-date orthodontic practices, and enables dental professionals to provide a greater scope of care for patients. CPD can be a great opportunity to get hands-on with new technologies, network with others, and learn more about the direction of the industry as a whole in order to benefit practice.

The ultimate outcome of well-planned CPD is that it safeguards the public, the employer, and the professional. Some of the other benefits of CPD for orthodontists include:


  • We are always learning, and so with CPD your skills can always be refined, enhanced and added to.
  • With increased knowledge, you can improve both your patient experience and your practice reputation.
  • In additional to being a great tool for professional growth, your CPD can also be an excellent tool for personal growth.
  • Many CPD courses combine learning with social or networking events, providing you with the opportunity to develop additional personal skills.
  • Irrespective of the skills you develop, continuing your dental education will provide you with an opportunity to assess your existing strengths and weaknesses.
Examples of CPD for an orthodontist

CPD examples for orthodontists

There are several different types of training when it comes to carrying out CPD. For example, structured CPD such as hands-on courses, seminars and lectures, or unstructured CPD like reading journals or books, e-learning, distance learning etc. It is important that orthodontists plan their CPD activity, ensuring it is relevant to their fields of practice and that it is contributing to development outcomes.

Examples of CPD activities may include:

  • Clinical and technical areas of study
  • Radiography
  • Cross infection control
  • Medical emergencies and CPR
  • Emerging technologies and treatments
  • Quality assurance for MHRA
  • CPD specific for an orthodontists daily role(s)
  • Upskilling opportunities 

What are the CPD requirements for orthodontists in the UK?

The GDC is an organisation that regulates dental care professionals and ensures that these individuals meet these professional standards in order to maintain professional registration. To remain on the GDC register, orthodontists and dental professionals must achieve and be able to demonstrate a minimum level of CPD over a period of five years.

GDC CPD requirements

The total number of hours required varies depending on role within the dental team. Under the Enhanced CPD Scheme:

  • Dentists need to complete a minimum of 100 hours of CPD every five years. This must include at least 10 hours of verifiable CPD completed during any two-year period.
  • Orthodontic therapists, Dental therapists, dental hygienists, and clinical dental technicians need to complete a minimum of 75 hours of CPD. This along with at least 10 hours of verifiable CPD completed during any two-year period.

In addition, the General Dental Council (GDC) recommends that all dental professionals working in a clinical environment carry out CPD (verifiable or general) to make sure they are up to date in Legal and Ethical Issues, Handling Complaints and Oral Cancer: Improving Early Detection and Safeguarding children, young people, and vulnerable adults.

Completion of accredited CPD training courses can be used as evidence towards meeting your CPD requirements with the GDC. The CPD rules state that dental professionals must choose CPD that includes activities relevant to each field of practice they work in, or intend to work in, during their CPD cycle.

It is also recommended you should choose subjects that will help you:

  • Develop further in your job role
  • Enhance your knowledge & skills
  • Meet regulatory and legislative needs
  • Provide safe and appropriate services to patients 

The GDC require you to tell them about your CPD achievement at the end of your 5 year CPD cycle, and it is recommended to let the GDC know annually on your CPD progress. If you are unable to comply you may be removed from the Register and will not be able to practise dentistry legally in the UK.

What is the difference between an orthodontist and a dentist?

Orthodontists and dentists share many similarities – they work together to help you improve overall oral health – but they actually work in very different ways. The main difference is that general dentists cover a broad range of oral health issues. An orthodontist, on the other hand, is a dental specialist with a focus on straightening teeth and aligning jaws.

Examples of verifiable CPD

A dental professional’s field of practice encompasses a variety of aspects about their work, beyond just their scope of practice. For CPD to be verifiable, it must have concise educational aims and objectives, clear learning outcomes, quality controls, and documentary proof. Some of the main examples of verifiable CPD include conferences, seminars, training courses and online tests. You can also receive proof of attendance and completion.

Non-verifiable CPD includes reading books and keeping up-to-date with journal articles that benefit your ongoing learning and development. There is no longer any need to submit non-verifiable CPD.

To assist professionals in their CPD choices, the GDC has set criteria for it considers as verifiable CPD. Orthodontists will need to provide documentary evidence and have written information from the provider or a certificate confirming that they have undertaken the CPD.

Keeping a CPD record for orthodontists

How to manage your CPD as an orthodontist

In addition to carrying out CPD you are required to develop a personal development plan - this also involves reflecting on the CPD you have taken as well as what you’ve learnt. All orthodontists are required to submit a compliant CPD log annually with a Personal Development Plan. This needs to occur even if not all education has been completed.

Your CPD record should include: 

  • Personal development plan (PDP)
  • CPD activity log
  • Certificates of the CPD activity
  • Evidence of reflective learning

Remember it is important to keep all certificates safely with your CPD record. The log of your CPD must be recorded in terms of one of four outcomes. These outcomes are as follows:


B- Management 

C- Knowledge 

D- Skills

Reflecting on CPD Activities

Reflection is now common practice among dental professionals and will help to foster improvements in overall dental practice and services. In reflecting on your CPD activity you should ask:

  • What did you learn from the activity that was helpful or relevant to your daily work and patients?
  • Did you identify any changes needed in your daily work, and if so, how did you make these changes?
  • If you didn’t identify changes needed, what did the activity confirm for you that you may already know or be doing?
  • What was the benefit to your work and your patients in carrying out this activity?

Become a CPD accredited training provider

Unfortunately, CPD hours cannot be obtained through the GDC. The GDC requires that CPD must be subject to some form of quality assurance in order to be counted as verifiable. Orthodontists are responsible for ensuring their declared CPD meets the verifiable criteria.

A good way of ensuring that any training meets the requirements set out by the GDC or any other body, is to ensure that it has been certified by an independent recognised organisation. The CPD Certification Service is the leading and largest CPD accreditation organisation working across all industry sectors.

We hope this article was helpful. If you are a dental organisation or practice and are thinking of applying accreditation to your existing training courses or events, please contact our team to discuss in more detail. Alternatively, you can visit the Healthcare & Medical Hub, where you can find thousands of dental CPD providers and courses covering a wide range of subjects.

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For more information from CPD News Team, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

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