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Orthodontics is an important part of the 4 year BDS programme.. According to the American Association of Orthodontists, orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics is defined as the area of dentistry which includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, guidance and correction of malrelationships of the developing or mature orofacial structures .(“2012 AAO Glossary_0,” n.d.) This branch of dentistry deals with irregularities of teeth and improper jaw relationships. Malocclusion is known as the improper positioning of teeth when the jaws are closed. The goals of orthodontic therapy are to improve the smile and facial appearance (resulting in improvement in an individual’s social well-being and quality of life), obtain optimal occlusion, and establish normal oral function (Ackerman 2012).Due to a growing esthetic awareness among the general population orthodontics is gaining popularity as a profession. Hence dentists need to be trained well in this field to cater the growing needs of the general population.
There are 2 types of training offered in the field of orthodontics, Postgraduate training and undergraduate training. A graduate must be competent enough to diagnose and treat minor orthodontic cases as well as know when is the right time for referral to a specialist. If a general dental practioner is well trained in the field of orthodontics, specialists only have to deal with complex ones which decreases the work load of the specialist. The level of the graduate thus should be such that they must be able to deal with minor orthodontic cases as a general dental practioner.
There was a study conducted at University of Missouri Kansas city about how well fresh graduates are prepared to deal with orthodontic cases. (“No Title,” 2016). There has been no such study done in Pakistan. However there have been studies conducted on how confident graduates felt about practicing unsupervised. The researches revealed that orthodontics was the field where the students felt least confident.(“Preparedness for practice,” 2011). No such research has been done in Pakistan.
The purpose of this research is to find out if the fresh dental graduates of Pakistan are competent enough to deal with orthodontic cases without supervision. The level of training of the undergraduates is accessed to check if it is according to the international standards and if Pakistani graduates meet the international competency need in the subject of orthodontics. This research would help identify the voids in the training of graduates which would create a basis for further research on this topic and the revision of the dental curriculum.