UW School of Dentistry


Minor Orthodontic Treatment

Elective, 1 credit

Geoffrey Greenlee

Quarters 12-15 (Summer, Third Year + Autumn-Spring, Fourth Year)*

Course Description

Observation of clinical orthodontic treatment, including those minor problems suitable for treatment in the general practice of dentistry. Ortho 631 is the direct clinical application of principles of orthodontic diagnosis and treatment planning with simple orthodontic appliances. Most treatment goals aim to modify tooth position in preparation for definitive restoration and/or periodontal therapy.

*Students should identify and refer a limited tooth movement case after successfully completing ORTHO 522. The student enrolls for ORTHO 631 in the first quarter the observation is started and will receive an incomplete until the observation materials are turned in. An alternate observation exercise of a comprehensive case is available for those students unable to identify a patient with limited needs to follow.

Educational Objectives

Ortho 631 builds on the didactic principles learned in previous courses in orthodontics. The student will recognize and treat a limited tooth movement case suitable for the general practitioner or understand and observe the treatment of comprehensive orthodontic treatment. Orthodontic records of the pre- and post-treatment condition are required for a limited case. Correspondence, a diagnostic work-up, observation records, and a final report are required for the observation alternative. For minor tooth movement cases, the student diagnoses and treatment plans the case in conjunction with faculty and sees the patient regularly with faculty and/or graduate residents in the Department of Orthodontics.

Course Outline

For limited tooth movement clinic, the students identifies a patient suitable for limited orthodontic treatment and refers the patient to the Department of Orthodontics for orthodontic records and treatment. The referring student tracks the progress of the patient and participates in the treatment planning particularly if there are pre-prosthetic needs. The students work with a graduate resident in the Department of Orthodontics to administer treatment and keeps an observation log.. When treatment is completed, the student writes up the observation and presents the initial and final photographs. To obtain “Honors,” participation in the treatment, excellent skill and knowledge must be demonstrated and a case presentation written up.

For observation of full treatment, the student is assigned to a graduate student in the Department of Orthodontics. The graduate resident completes a letter with specifics about the diagnosis, treatment objectives, unusual findings, and treatment plan. The student meets with the resident to discuss the case and fill out a diagnostic summary form. A minimum of four observations of patient treatment are required, after which the student synthesizes his/her understanding of the diagnosis, the objectives of treatment, and the changes directly observed in a report of the experience.

Materials for both arms of the course may be found online by navigating to the appropriate section at: http://courses.washington.edu/predoc/

Course Expectations

To successfully meet the requirements of this course, the student must demonstrate her/his understanding of orthodontic treatment by completing a write-up of an observation experience. The course is graded satisfactory, non-satisfactory, and honors* based on clinical performance and report quality.

*available for limited treatment cases only

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 assigned.

Competencies Addressed

  • UWSOD Competency 1: Examine a patient using contemporary diagnostic methods to evaluate the head and neck region and to reach a diagnosis of the patient’s oral and craniofacial health status.
  • UWSOD Competency 3: Formulate a comprehensive treatment plan based on diagnostic findings, then implement treatment in a safe, properly sequenced and timely manner.
  • UWSOD Competency 13: Assess the dentition to determine the need for orthodontic treatment.
  • UWSOD Competency 14: Manage periodontal diseases.
  • UWSOD Competency 22: Utilize critical thinking in assessing technical and scientific information for use in identifying patient needs and treatments.


  • Course Syllabus
  • Patient records
  • Clinical patient care
  • Report/Clinical presentation

*last updated: 11/7/2011