The Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1 is Trapezio’s foundation program. This 14-lesson course details the fundamentals of orthodontic assisting and is an easy and affordable to way to get new clinical team members up to speed quickly. The online program is also a phenomenal tool for educating experienced team members, getting your entire clinical on the same page.

The program strives to provide the universal fundamentals including oral and dental anatomy, tooth numbering, malocclusions, orthodontic instruments, intraoral auxiliaries, diagnostic records, application of appliances, appliance removal, retention, infection control and much more. The online content serves as a great complement to practice-specific systems training. Doctors and senior team members will be able to save significant time in the new hire onboarding process by adding the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1 program to the practice training protocol.

Since 1998 the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting has been used to educate clinical team members from the U.S. and abroad with thousands of assistants completing the course. Authored by practicing orthodontist Dr. Doug Depew, the Level 1 program strives to educate your team on the science of orthodontics. Instead of just learning the “hows,” your clinical team will learn the “whys.”

Interested in getting started in the rewarding field of orthodontic assisting? Learn more about enrolling in the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1 program here.


Program Objectives Course Outline Reviews About the Author


Program Objectives

1. Develop a comprehensive understanding of oral and dental anatomy.
2. Know the language of orthodontics and be able to confidently speak utilizing clinical terminology.
3. Be able to communicate with patients and parents and explain treatment procedures and goals.
4. Develop a thorough comprehension of the steps involved in common orthodontic procedures.
5. Understand the various stages of orthodontic treatment, beginning with records and continuing through retention.


Course Outline
The topics listed below are covered in the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting – Level 1 program.

1. Oral and Dental Anatomy
– Oral anatomy
– Dental anatomy
– Tooth development
– Tooth numbering
– Tooth surfaces and directions
– Malocclusions

2. What is Orthodontics?
– Introduction
– Dentistry and dental specialties
– Types of orthodontic treatment
– Stages of treatment
– Orthodontic instruments
– How teeth move

3. The Orthodontic Appliance
– Basic orthodontic appliance parts
– Elastomeric ligatures
– Steel ligatures
– Intraoral auxiliaries
– Non-traditional orthodontic appliances

4. Archwire Selection
– Placement and termination
– Archwire selection

5. Headgears and Elastics
– Extra-oral auxiliaries – Headgears
– Intra-oral auxiliaries – Elastics

6. Secondary Appliances
– Categories of secondary appliances
– Introduction to appliance fabrication
– Types of appliances

7. Application of Orthodontic Appliances
– Separators or spacers
– Orthodontic bands
– Bonding of orthodontic appliances

8. Removal and Retention
– Removal of braces
– Retention
– Post-treatment procedures

9. Diagnostic Records
– Introduction to diagnostic records
– Impressions
– Bite registration
– Orthodontic x-ray techniques
– Photographic techniques
– Digital records

10. Radiation and X-ray Safety
– Introduction
– Radiation safety
– The x-ray cassette – extra-oral film
– The darkroom

11. Orthodontic Models
– Types of models
– Pouring models
– Separating models
– Trimming models
– Alternatives to standard study models

12. Patient Management
– Chair, patient, and body positioning
– Physical interaction with patients
– Checking appliances
– Patient instructions
– Charting
– Parent communication

13. Infection Control in Orthodontics
– What is infection control?
– Sterilization and disinfection
– Protecting our patients and ourselves

14. Professionalism in Orthodontics
– What to expect
– Interviews and resumes
– Professionalism in the office

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Dr Webb Dr. Sammi Webb, Orthodontist
“[Trapezio] is a great training tool and we use it for both our seasoned staff and new staff. Living in an isolated area, we don’t have the opportunity to hire staff with ortho training. Using the Trapezio program to teach the basics of orthodontics takes a huge weight off of our shoulders.”
Beth, Clinical Assistant
“After being an orthodontic assistant for several years I found the [Academy of Orthodontic Assisting Level 1] course to be extremely helpful… The study material and lessons provided were of excellent quality, and being able to take the tests online made it easy to fit the test taking into my busy schedule. I would encourage anyone wanting to learn more about orthodontic assisting to complete the [Level 1] course.”
Dr. Robert Bray, Orthodontist
“My belief is that the key for all of us in the orthodontic family is knowledge. Orthodontic staff members can have varying levels of training and experience. This program will help increase their knowledge in a uniform manner. The tests provide immediate feedback, which can be built upon. This [is] a great AAO member benefit.”
DrBray_AOA1 testimonial
Mary, Practice Manager
“Our entire practice studied and completed the online orthodontic assistant staff training program. Staff worked on the training at their own pace and most of the team worked on modules in their own time away from the practice. Training material provided can be used in the practice for ongoing revision and training for both new and existing staff. I would recommend [the online program] to any orthodontic practice.”


Drs. Bob Stallworthy & Matthew Williams, Orthodontists
“As a busy orthodontic practice we have found the online convenience of the [Academy of Orthodontic Assisting] to be an invaluable learning tool. The overall quality of the lessons is of a high standard and team members have enjoyed the opportunity to learn after hours at their own pace. The course has provided an enriching experience for all and we look forward to continuing our association with [Trapezio] in the future. Thank you for an excellent resource.”


Dr. Todd Gililland, Orthodontist
“[My team] feel competent to answer more questions, which reduces the load on me. Thus, I can operate more as a CEO than as a manager. In the long run, this increases my productivity and enables me to concentrate on our treatment and vision for the practice.”


Dr. John McDonald, Orthodontist
“My staff is the face of the practice. The training has given them a base of knowledge from which they can speak more authoritatively with patients. The difference is huge.”


Christine, Dental Assistant
“This is a great program! It covers a large spectrum of information. I feel that the information as a whole gave me a very well rounded look at orthodontics… I am better able to discuss treatment with parents and answer more of their questions with more confidence and accuracy.”


Dr. Morris Poole, Orthodontist
“My practice has been enrolled in the [Level 1] program since January of 2008. I am more than pleased with the quality of education my team has received as well as the impact this program has had and will continue to have on the orthodontic profession.”


Tiersa, Orthodontic Lead
“Since starting the Trapezio online course I have been more knowledgeable with the tools used in our office as well as the formal name and multiple uses of each tool. The best part of the course was learning the theory throughout the course. I now know why the [doctor] is doing what he does and I have an easier time explaining the patient’s treatment to them. Completing the course online was very easy since I could work at my own pace and study my own way…I would recommend this course be in every orthodontic office for basic training of the staff to give a general overall knowledge of orthodontics for the entire office. That way the staff is able to answer most any questions parents and patients may ask. I especially liked the way the course covered many different techniques and showed me how to do things I have never done in my office. Just when you think you have learned everything, Trapezio teaches you something new.”


Willie Mae, HR Manager
“The team has more knowledge of the Orthodontic field than before completing the [Orthodontic Assisting] program. Many don’t have previous ortho experience or knowledge.”


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About the Author

Depew_shadow3 Dr. Doug Depew has maintained a thriving orthodontic practice in Kennesaw, Georgia since 1990. He is a graduate of University of Georgia, Medical College of Georgia – School of Dentistry, and Baylor College of Dentistry – Department of Orthodontics. Dr. Depew is the Founder and Academic Director of Trapezio, formerly the Academy of Orthodontic Assisting, and is recognized internationally for his knowledge in the training of orthodontic staff. He is an active member of several dental and orthodontic organizations and is active in the community through involvement in youth sports, schools, and business development.

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Release Date: March 1, 1998 | Review Date: January 29, 2016 | Expiration Date: January 29, 2019