The Community Orthodontic Service is a long-established part of NHS provision, but in a changing climate of dental provision over recent years, providing orthodontic support for Trust based 'Personal Dental Services' schemes, under the umbrella of the Salaried Primary Dental Care Services (SPDCS), has become increasingly important.
In an era of restricted access to NHS orthodontics, Community Orthodontists provide orthodontic treatment for a range of special care patients who have limited access to other, appropriate specialist treatment. The majority of such patients who are able to receive orthodontic treatment require close liaison with their dental surgeon (usually a SDO special needs specialist training), their paediatrician and carers. An increasing number of patients treated within the CDS as a whole need inter-disciplinary planning and treatment, and Community Orthodontists work closely with consultants and specialists in other disciplines in the care of these patients.
In addition, SPDCS orthodontic services provide a ‘safety net’ service in areas of the country not well served by specialist practice or hospital orthodontic providers.
At a time of commissioning pressure nationally, the Community orthodontic service is able to provide a much higher degree of flexibility in responding rapidly to demographic changes than can specialist or hospital practice, and is able to provide a service in circumstances where specialist practice would not be viable.