Orthodontics is essentially a specialist branch of dentistry where the main focus is to help people improve the alignment and appearance of their teeth, as well as how their teeth function, i.e. their bite.
Those that actually carry out the work in this field are officially known as orthodontists. They will look at the mouth and teeth of a patient, diagnose them and then create a custom treatment plan that will give them the perfect smile and bite they want!
Becoming an orthodontist is a straightforward process and involves you having to firstly go through dental school, getting the skills you need and then go on to actually get an official license that will give you the permission you need to actually practice.
Getting the Proper Degrees
Well, to begin with you are going to have to get some kind of bachelor’s degree in the area of science… preferably something like biology or chemistry.
This degree will essentially serve as the foundation to your education as an orthodontist. Once you have this degree you are going to move onto pursuing a 4 year course to either become a doctor of medical dentistry or dental surgery. This will be done in a fully accredited dental school.
Once you have completed your basic dental degree you will move onto actually getting a master’s degree in orthodontics which takes approximately 2-3 years.
You need to keep in mind that spaces in dental schools are extremely limited and the competition for those spaces is really high. So if you are serious about becoming an orthodontist then you need to work really hard to making sure that you get the highest possible grades so you can increase your chances of getting accepted and realizing your dream of becoming an orthodontist.
Developing the Skills You Need to Become a Good Orthodontist
Naturally getting the degree is not the only thing you are going to have to do in order to become an orthodontist. You are also going to have to work hard to actually develop the general health care skills required to become a successful orthodontist!
An example could be that you are going to have to really work hard to develop the practical skills needed to handle all the various different orthodontic instruments such as the cutter and forceps which need setting up and fitting properly into a patients mouth.
You are also going to have to work hard to develop your listening and speaking skills so you become great at communicating with your patients on exactly what is happening throughout the treatment, so that they feel comfortable and relaxed at all times.
Some other skills you will want to work to develop include things like manual dexterity, becoming extremely patient and developing a good sense of running your own business.
Getting Fully Licensed
Getting a degree won’t be enough to actually practice orthodontics. If you are wanting to practice in the United States then you are going to have to get a valid license to do so.
Every state has different requirements but in general you can say that you are going to have to have a graduate degree in orthodontics from a fully accredited dental institution. On top of that you are probably going to have to pass a written and practical examination.
If you want to become that much more reputable as an orthodontist then you do have the option of actually going on a voluntary certification program which is offered up by the American Board of Orthodontics. If you complete this program successfully you’ll become a Diplomat of the ABO which will essentially show that you are an extremely competent orthodontist!
Finding a Job as an Orthodontist
So you’ve just qualified and got your license to practice as an Orthodontist and you’re wondering how on earth you’ll get a job! Well, the most common path is to actually begin looking for jobs in places like outpatient care centers or established orthodontic practices etc.
Once you’ve learned all the basics you’ll be able to work towards starting your own orthodontics business.
Possible options include starting a practice yourself, or perhaps starting with other orthodontists who also want to start up their own businesses. Before starting your own office you are going to want to make sure that the area you are interested in starting in actually has a demand for orthodontic services. After that you will have to get all the business licenses (federal, state, and local) that will give you the permission to get begin an orthodontic practice.
This simple and to the point article should have given you the precise guidance you need to better appreciate what you need to do in order to become an orthodontist in the modern age.
Here’s a nice little story of what one orthodontist went through to achieve his dreams…