Orthodontic Fundamentals: 2 day online course

I attended Padhraig Fleming’s two-day Orthodontic Fundamentals course in February 2023. The course was delivered online by Padhraig and was aimed as an overview of orthodontic treatment planning and mechanics, the courses started after the pandemic in 2021 and has been a popular course with both orthodontists and trainee / residents, so I thought I would sign up and see what it was like.

The details


The course

The course consists of 6 lectures each day, 50 minutes each, with 3 Q&A sessions. The course was delivered on a weekend between 8am-2pm (UK time), leaving the rest of the day free for weekend frolicking. Day 1 consisted of core topics in orthodontics; class 2, class 3, deep bites, openbites and fixed appliances (mainly straight-wire). Day 2 was more advanced, the earlier session consisting of adult orthodontics, periodontal-orthodontic management, ectopic canines and accelerated orthodontics (spoiler alert – it’s not an appliance); the later session completed the two days with finishing and retention, as it should be in orthodontics.


The lectures were delivered at an easy-to-follow pace and generally started with a macro look at the topic, treatment goals and principles, followed by the main body of the lecture looking at details of clinical practice. The lectures were delivered with an interplay between clinical management and research. A variety of well selected visual methods were used including animations, videos, images and diagrams. Padhraig delved into his own treatment philosophy, his own interpretation of differing philosophies, their pros and cons, and how he has navigated them to decide on his approach. Padhraig presented different clinical options of managing cases, explored the research behind the methods and explained treatment through clinical cases


Q&As were done after every second lecture and hosted by one of Padhraig’s team, which allowed a good discussion and prevented repeat questions. An e-book pdf of notes from the two days was provided. Booking was straightforward and managed through Caroline the administer at and the booking website. 

What was good?

Clinical focus: I was concerned with Padhraig being a seasoned academic, the course would be academic centric, however I was glad the course was clinically centred, with research used to support clinical practice. Padhraig presented relevant papers to the topics, and guided the audience into the interpretation of the research into clinical practice. It was great to see a variety of quality of evidence presented, from top drawer systematic reviews to technique reports (such as William Clark’s Twinblock papers), and Padhraig’s use of them, highlighting there is still a lot of clinical practice we partake in which has little evidence.  Padhraig discussed areas of little research in depth from a clinical aspect, with the audience able to take clinical tips, albeit ‘low quality’ evidence, still valuable information.


Timing: Typically, online courses take up the entire day like the AAO, or long evenings, which should be reserved for TV and, of course, orthodontic podcasts. I much preferred the timings of the course as the remainder of the day was free and we ‘got it out of the way’. There were 2 x 10 minute breaks which meant there was no significant break in continuity of the course, which I preferred rather than longer breaks resulting in a longer day.


There were some more academic lectures, such as accelerated orthodontics, however it broke up the clinically centric theme, which was a good thing. It can be challenging to absorb a full day of clinical methods, and for me the academic side allowed some time for clinical digestion as well as gaining insight into the academic side from an academic. I did enjoy Padhraig’s candid thoughts of his preferred mechanics, some based on research, others based on clinical experience and rationale. It was great to see contemporary mechanics with customised appliances, aligners and TADs in this course. Specifically, TADs were given a great overview of both clinical and academic aspects, there was even a video of TAD insertion! 

What was not so good

Treatment planning ideas and principles for more complex MDT cases was not discussed, such as orthognathic cases. Understandably it would have extended the course and perhaps falls outside of ‘orthodontic fundamentals’ but it would have been a good topic to have reviewed with Padhraig’s approach of both clinical and academic.


The course was not available on demand nor were recordings available afterwards, which was a shame as there were a few moments I missed or wanted to recap and was unable to do so. The e-notes were brief serving as a summary / conclusion on the topic. Padhraig had lots of dynamic methods of explaining his content, with animations, images and videos, unfortunately the e-notes were text only. I would have much preferred it if the e-notes contained a little more information, although QR codes were present for the papers presented.


The online 2-day course is designed for orthodontists who wish to review principles and appliances used for clinical cases in routine orthodontics. It is delivered, and satisfies, the clinician who leans towards mechanics, as well as the academically orientated clinician. I am a fan of online courses and this one was well delivered and felt like we got the unfiltered Padhraig over the two days, with his candid comments and thoughts in orthodontics. Padhraig gave the two days his all ,and it showed in the content, explanations and questions. I left the two days having understood his philosophy and able to implement it on Monday.


I recommend this course for anyone looking for a contemporary review of routine clinical practice, and wants to increase their understanding of clinical management and pick up clinical tips. I also recommend it for trainees / residents transitioning into practice who wish to pick up clinical understanding and tips that are not always taught during formal training. 


Links to the course


Edited/contents: Farooq Ahmed

Conflict of interest. I (Farooq Ahmed) have no conflict of interest with either the course or the materials / content.




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