Mentoring and the modern GDP


  Posted by: Dental Design      5th May 2020

The current dental landscape is full of opportunity for the ambitious and passionate GDP. There are many different pathways to take and copious educational programmes to provide the knowledge and skills required for successful career development. However, to really ensure the progression of one’s capabilities in a safe and effective way, mentorship is key. It ensures that practitioners have the support and guidance they need to build on their abilities at the right pace for them. It also means they have someone to turn to with any questions or concerns, improving the quality of their learning experience.

Meeting the orthodontic demand

It has become clear that private adult orthodontics is a growing field in dentistry today. The British Orthodontic Society’s (BOS) latest survey found a 75% increase in treatment, as reported by BOS members.[i] The figures are only expected to continue rising as awareness of the benefits afforded by adult orthodontic treatment grows among the general population.

Interestingly, the same survey suggested that 70% of respondents were providing clear aligners to their patients. This demonstrates a massive demand for this type of orthodontic procedure. With the right training, attitude and support, this is also something that GDPs can capitalise on. Indeed, the sustained and significant growth of GDP orthodontics over the past few years is a testament to the potential this field offers both patients and professionals. With more clinicians offering treatment, more patients can enhance their smiles.

To offer orthodontic treatment safely, mentoring is crucial for those starting out in GDP orthodontics.

Added confidence in GDP orthodontics

Of course, there will always be cases that require the advanced expertise and experience of specialist orthodontists. This will never change. As such, an essential part of the GDP’s training and educational journey is about learning to identify cases that are beyond their remit to treat. However, there are also cases that need much simpler intervention in order to improve the patient’s aesthetics and/or function. GDPs are more than capable of achieving fantastic, long-term stable results in these situations.

Working with a mentor can provide reassurance that GDPs are treating the right types of cases for their current skill-set. It offers a second set of eyes to assess a case. The mentor’s experience may also enable them to identify potential challenges that the GDP may not have yet come across or be aware of. This not only ensures the safety of the patient, but also helps to protect the clinician from possible legal action should a case not go according to plan.

What’s more, the support of a mentor is equally as helpful when consolidating skills and moving onto more complex cases. Again, the GDP can rely on their mentor’s extensive experience to help them avoid potential complications while delivering appropriate and highly effective treatment to their patients.

Whether starting out in orthodontics or developing their skills, a mentor can drastically enhance the GDP’s confidence. It provides added reassurance in their skills, elevates their competence level and, ultimately, ensures the safe provision of care to their patients.

Dedicated case support

Finding the right mentor for you is essential. You will benefit most from working with someone who shares your passion for excellent dentistry and who understands the learning pathway you are on right now. It’s also necessary for the mentor to be able to respond to questions or concerns promptly in order to avoid any treatment delays. Plus, case-dedicated support can be hugely advantageous for GDPs looking to progress their skills.

Quality and on-going mentoring is a key principle in the IAS Academy philosophy. It therefore provides constant access to expert guidance through its innovative online portal, where professionals receive quick, in-depth and case-specific support from a team of leading clinicians in the field. The open-source mentorship programme provides unlimited support to GDPs using any orthodontic system for a highly affordable monthly fee, with discounts available to IAS appliance users. It is just one of the many membership benefits available from IAS Academy.

A win-win

Quality mentoring creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. The patient receives safe and effective treatment. The GDP delivers higher quality care[ii] while advancing their skills and minimising the risk of complications. The mentor can pass on their experience for greater job satisfaction and the practice can expand the types of services offered to patients. It’s no wonder that mentoring has become such a crucial aspect of modern dentistry!


For more information on IAS Academy membership and upcoming training courses, please visit or call 01932 336470 (Press 1)


[i] British Orthodontic Society. News and Events. News. New British Orthodontic Society survey reveals the number of adults seeking orthodontic treatment in the UK remains high. August 2019. [Accessed February 2020]

[ii] Holt V P, Ladwa R . Mentoring. A quality assurance tool for dentists. Part 1: the need for mentoring in dental practice. Prim Dent Care. 2008; 15: 141–146.

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