About us

Excellence in Orthodontics was started in 1987 by David Birnie and Nigel Harradine as a two-day lecture course based on the use of the Straight-Wire Appliance. The first course was held at the Crest Hotel in York and started the pattern of a principal course being held in April each year.

In 1988, the course was held in the Regent Crest hotel in London and in 1989 moved to the Royal Society of Medicine, Wimpole Street, London where it was held until 2002. In 2003, Excellence in Orthodontics moved to the Royal College of Physicians, Regents Park, London and in 2006 to the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, 27 Sussex Place, Regents Park, London where the 2015 course will also be held. Courses have also been held in Australia, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, The Netherlands, Norway, Scotland, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Switzerland.

In 2001, the words 'Straight-Wire Appliance' were dropped from the course title. The Straight-Wire Appliance was the first of the fully pre-adjusted edgewise appliances and has significantly changed the face of orthodontics. However, with the universal adoption of pre-adjusted appliances of various types, the course has broadened  from its original aims and now encompasses many aspects of contemporary, high technology orthodontics. In future our courses will continue to appear under the Excellence in Orthodontics title suffixed by the year in which the current London course is given.

Course Aims

The aims of the courses are two fold.

First, scrutiny of treatment goals to establish a clearer view of where exactly we should be heading with our treatment plans. A substantial part of the orthodontic literature is aimed at clarifying these goals, reflecting the need to continually examine this issue. Second, we aim to provide a detailed and searching look at contemporary orthodontics in its many varieties, at the appliance systems we prefer to use and at how well these do or do not match our requirements in getting us quickly and reliably to our chosen goals.

No course can be all things to all people and any audience will have varying experience and particular interests. We aim this course at orthodontists who wish to think closely about both the overall strategy and the detailed practical tactics of treatment with the modern high technology appliances.

Course Title

It is useful to say a word about our chosen title for these courses -Excellence in Orthodontics.

This is not a claim that everything we do is perfection or that perfection is the only way to go, nor does it imply that an occlusally perfect result is the only acceptable goal in every case - although in most cases we should be striving for an excellent occlusion. It is rather a declaration of intent or an attitude of mind. It is a commitment to do the best for each individual patient in the light of current knowledge and technique. We certainly believe that if a job is worth doing - which orthodontic treatment certainly is - it is worth doing as excellently as possible and this requires continual honest and thoughtful appraisal of the literature and of the clinical efforts of others and ourselves.

Course Manual

One of the features of Excellence in Orthodontics courses is the detailed and comprehensive course manual. The manual makes available to course members our thoughts and suggested references on related topics which will not be included in the lectures in any detail, but are considered potentially useful to at least some of the course participants. So, although the manual usually follows the sequence and content of the talks, it also includes additional topics and details.

A prime function of the manual is to lessen the need to take notes in order to recall the salient points of the talks. Reading the manual after the course should help you to recall the pictures on the screens as well as, of course, the structure of the talks. In particular, you can rest assured that all references that appear on the screen are to the best of our ability included in the manual, so frantic scribbling won't be needed!

The Course Manual is supplemented with a fully searchable and hyperlinked e-Version on a USB stick containing the whole of the manual in Adobe Acrobat (*.pdf) format.

Evidence-based clinical practice

We continue to feel strongly that our opinion on important issues is less valuable than the actual current evidence in the literature, so a critical scrutiny of the relevant papers underpins our clinical practice and recommendations. A look at the relevant literature is therefore an important feature of the course. This approach fits comfortably with a growing emphasis throughout all medical and dental specialties on evidence-based clinical practice. This scrutiny of the literature will be complemented by extensive clinical illustration, concentrating on difficult and problem cases since these are the most informative.