Skills & Knowledge

Postgraduate students who complete the full 34-month Postgraduate Program in Orthodontics at MUSC will be expected to develop their skills and knowledge to the level of a specialist in orthodontics as approved by the ADA Commission on Dental Accreditation. Completion of the program will enhance specialty skills of each postgraduate student beyond that of their predoctoral education with significant advances in the following major areas of practice.

Diagnostic Skill: The postgraduate student will have had considerable didactic background and direct contact with patients exhibiting a variety of malocclusion presentations. Recognition of malocclusion parameters and hereditary conditions is expected. Familiarity with specific orofacial patterns or their consequences is mandatory. Knowledge of physical, mental, and emotional development is essential. Speech problems associated with oral or dental problems should be discriminated from other causes. Common and rare defects of the teeth, oral tissues, and skeletal structures should be recognized. Residents should be especially skilled in obtaining and interpreting diagnostic aids in children, adolescents, and adults. These aids would include in-depth clinical examinations, intraoral radiographs, panoramic films, cephalometric films, study models, and occlusion analysis with articulators. The postgraduate student should be able to make correlations between basic sciences and clinical applications.

Treatment Planning: The postgraduate student should be able to prepare and present treatment plans which utilize the diagnostic training received. The treatment plans should be comprehensive with treatment provided in an efficient sequence. Postgraduate students should have an accurate assessment of their ability to deliver treatment.

Patient Management: The postgraduate student should have superior abilities to achieve the cooperation of children, adolescents, adults and parents. The postgraduate student should have good communication skills and an understanding of behavior principles. Application of these skills with motivational tools will enable the graduate to modify patient behavior.

Provision of Orthodontic Treatment: The postgraduate student will be able to provide high quality orthodontic care for child, adolescent, and adult patients. Clinical expertise will be attained in the diagnosis and treatment in the primary and mixed dentitions (space supervision, interceptive procedures, growth modification, multi-phase early treatment), the young permanent dentition (comprehensive non-extraction and extraction protocols) and adult patients (orthognathic surgery, coordinated restorative - prosthetic management).

Collaboration: The postgraduate student should develop considerable skill in establishing rapport and cooperation with dental and medical colleagues. Referrals to appropriate professionals or from other professionals occur frequently and the postgraduate student should be familiar with the courtesy and importance of these activities. The postgraduate student should be able to make, or respond to, all appropriate consultation requests. 

Research: The postgraduate student will be able to evaluate original dental research articles for methodology, results, statistical interpretation, conclusions, and implications. Ability to understand and conduct research will be developed from the required research project. The major research goal is an understanding and appreciation of published research.

Teaching: The postgraduate student will have developed considerable teaching skills by preparing and presenting lectures and providing undergraduate clinical supervision. These skills should provide the postgraduate student with a strong foundation for patient education and professional presentations.

Practice Management and Auxiliary Utilization: The postgraduate student should be well prepared for most aspects of practice administration and efficient auxiliary utilization.

Critical Thinking: The postgraduate student will establish an approach to learning which utilizes aspects of continual inquiry and critical thinking. The development of a lifelong attitude of study and advancement is anticipated.