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One of the many dental professionals using the LM-Activator™ eruption guidance appliance in their daily work is dentist Kaisa Packalén who graduated from the University of Turku in 2017. Since 2019, Kaisa is working in Naantali, a mid-size town in southwestern Finland, at the municipal dental clinic as an assisting dentist to the orthodontist responsible for the treatments. In Finland, it is common in the municipal clinics that one of the general dentists receives a further training in orthodontics to deal with the daily operations regarding orthodontic treatments. This allows to free up the time from the orthodontist and more efficient resource management in the team. The training of an assisting dentist to the orthodontist comprises of some further courses in orthodontics but also practical training working alongside an orthodontist. In this article, Kaisa describes the job of an assisting dentist and the ways LM-Activator™ makes orthodontic treatment both pleasant and efficient for the patient and professional.
Orthodontic treatment is a fine-tuned clinical process
In Finland, orthodontic treatment is given in municipal health centers based on national harmonized criteria. In Naantali the team working in close cooperation with the orthodontic treatment consist of one orthodontist, one assisting dentist to the orthodontist, four dental hygienists and one dental nurse, who is trained in orthodontics. The patients are pre-screened by dentists and dental hygienists. After this pre-screening, the patients are referred to an orthodontist for the actual screening where the need for treatment is defined. The orthodontist drafts an individual treatment plan for each patient. The plan will be clinically implemented in cooperation with the assisting dentist to the orthodontist and dental hygienists.
The actual orthodontic treatment process starts after the malocclusion has been identified. A dental hygienist performs the initial checkup, measuring the occlusal relationships (Angle’s classes and overbites), examining the facial profile, the special features of the teeth and the dentition phase, taking photos and measuring the occlusal index as well as obtaining the impressions either by conventional casts or scanning. Usually also X-rays are taken. With this information, the orthodontist compiles a treatment plan, often without seeing the patient. The treatment plan is presented to the patients and the parents so that they know how the treatment process will proceed.