Peter, who grew up in Northern Ireland, qualified as a dentist at the University of Glasgow in 2002. After a few years in both general dental practise and hospital jobs in Newcastle and New Zealand, he undertook his specialist orthodontic training at Leeds Dental Institute and York Hospital. He gained membership in Orthodontics from the Royal College of Surgeons of England and his Master of Dental Science Degree from Leeds University in 2010. Following his specialist training, he gained a position at mydentist’s Orthosolutions Leeds and has now been working there for the past 5 years.
So, what is a typical day like for an orthodontist at a busy practice in the heart of a city? Peter says: “A typical day starts at about 7.30 in the morning, when I begin with treatment planning and writing correspondence. The day’s work is very varied; I treat patients of all ages and malocclusions, using different treatment techniques. Along with my own list of appointments, I supervise an orthodontic therapist and clinical assistant, who also have patient lists. These include new patient assessments, fitting and adjusting of orthodontic appliances, removal of appliances and reviewing the wearing of retainers.”
Peter attributes a lot of the success of the practice to teamwork: “We are fortunate enough to have an excellent team of nurses, treatment co-ordinators, and receptionists at Orthosolutions, who keep a very busy practice running smoothly and efficiently.”
Over the years, peter has noticed a shift change in the perceptions of orthodontics, he says: “In the past, there was a stigma associated with having ‘train track’ braces. However, in today’s society, there is more focus on appearance, improved access to cosmetic treatments, and hence a greater acceptance of orthodontic treatment, with most patients being enthusiastic about starting their treatment.”
“I have definitely noticed an increase in the uptake of treatment by adults and a large proportion of my caseload is now spent treating these patients. I think this is due to a combination of a greater public awareness and acceptance of having treatment as an adult. The development of discrete treatment methods, such as lingual appliances and Invisalign™, has removed one of the main barriers to adults seeking orthodontic treatment.”
Fixed ceramic appliances provide an aesthetic alternative to conventional metal braces, and lingual fixed appliances are becoming more commonly used according to Peter, who is a registered Invisalign™ provider. He says when used in the correct circumstances, this method can be a very successful treatment modality. For many patients, the use of aesthetic appliances places less importance on the length of treatment, but peter always exercises caution when discussing potential treatment lengths with patients. He says: “More complicated treatments will always take longer to correct. However, in some cases, excellent results can be obtained in less than a year of treatment.”
The most clinically challenging cases Peter faces is the treatment of adult patients with compromised dentitions, which is often increased by rising patient expectation.
Peter, who is a keen cyclist and enjoys spending time with his family, finds his job very satisfying, as it allows him to make a genuine difference to a person’s appearance and self-esteem. He says: “It is a privilege to be able to work in this area of dentistry. I also enjoy teaching, and have had the opportunity to train orthodontic therapists and nurses at Orthosolutions.”