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Orthodontics: Orthodox or orthodent? | British Dental Journal

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Send your letters to the Editor, British Dental Journal, 64 Wimpole Street, London, W1G 8YS. bdj@bda.org. Priority will be given to letters less than 500 words long. Authors must sign the letter, which may be edited for reasons of space. Readers may now comment on letters via the BDJ website (www.bdj.co.uk). A ‘Readers’ Comments’ section appears at the end of the full text of each letter online.

Sir, I write to draw the attention of your readers to a new campaign launched to lobby for a change of names for orthodontists to orthodentists to help straighten out a long-standing disparity.

For many years there has been evident confusion in the public’s mind about the differentiation between ‘dont’ and ‘dent’.1 For many the dont is viewed as denoting a lesser qualification than the dent, leading to a significant loss of respect to my esteemed colleagues in the field of orthodontics, or orthodentics as we would like to hear it styled in the future (Fig. 1).

Figure 1

Proposed signage under new campaign

The precedent for this is very clear since a GDP is not described as a general dontist practitioner and the prospective next NHS agreement is not referred to as the new Dontal Contract.

We are in discussions with other specialist societies who feel similarly about this historically iniquitous situation and I suspect that in due course you will be receiving similar missives from prospective periodentists, prosthodentists and forensic odentologists.

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This content has been created for the entertainment of readers in the spirit of seasonal good humour and, on the whole, possesses not an ounce of truth. All persons, products, URLs and email addresses mentioned have been invented by the BDJ Editorial Team.

Important note to readers


  1. 1

    Spool N . Dents and donts – new musings on an age-old dilemma. Int J Clin Med Nomenclature 1954; 232: 7–35.

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Ignation, D. Orthodontics: Orthodox or orthodent?.
Br Dent J 223, 866 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/sj.bdj.2017.1093

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