UW School of Dentistry


Clinical Orthodontic Diagnosis in General Practice

Geoff Greenlee

1 Credit / Quarters 9-10 (Third Year, Autumn-Winter)*

Course Description

This course represents the direct clinical application of principles of orthodontic diagnosis in the selection of cases for simple orthodontic appliances suitable for the general dental practice versus those that require referral to the specialist.  This course consists of one scheduled small group seminar directed by a 2nd year orthodontics graduate student.

* These block assignments are scheduled two quarters (A-W) during 3rd year. Students are enrolled in groups of 5-7.

Educational Objectives

The student will be able to make an orthodontic problem list for selected patients in their pool of patients. The student will be able to distinguish between orthodontic patients who are suitable for

  • Limited orthodontic treatment in general dental practice.
  • Referral to an orthodontist.

Course Outline

Small group seminars 5-7 predoctoral dental students will be assigned to one 2nd year orthodontic graduate student. Each group of students will be required to attend one seminar during this period. Seminars will meet for 2-3 hours in the graduate clinic conference room or other convenient locations.

Prior to the seminar, each dental student will:

  • Select one patient from their family with an orthodontic problem, obtain dentalmodels, intra- and extraoral photos, and pertinent radiographs;
  • Prepare an orthodontic problem list on the attached form;
  • Decide if the problem is suitable for treatment in general practice or referral.

At the seminar session, each dental student will:

  • Circulate study models, photos, and radiographs and copies of completed Diagnosis and Planning forms to the other members of the group;
  • Describe the problems systematically using planes of space and orthodontic
    diagnostic techniques;
  • Describe the goals of treatment;
  • Offer an opinion regarding the most appropriate approach to the management of the patient.

After the seminar, the student will:

  • Consult with the patient regarding the recommendations from the conference. Many of these patients will not elect to have orthodontic treatment, but some may be referred for full treatment in the graduate program or have minor tooth movement done by a dental student as part of the ORTHO 631 course.

Course Expectations

Attend assigned sessions. Independently diagnose a case and present an orthodontic problem list to orthodontic graduate students and classmates. Decide if the case is appropriate for general practice or requires referral.

Effective Winter Quarter 2007, completion of on-line course evaluation is a requirement of this course. Failure to comply will result in an “Incomplete” grade being assigned.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 13: Assess the dentition to determine the need for orthodontic treatment.


*last updated: 11/1/2013