Simple Guide to Becoming an Orthodontist

orthodontistOrthodontics 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.

American-board-of-orthodonticsGetting 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…

Step by Step Guide on Becoming an Orthodontist – Part 2

becoming an orthodontistWe’re going to continue on with this article where we left off in part one of this two part series….

> Getting College Education

Once you graduate successfully from high school the next step is to actually get a college degree in something that will help you get into dental school.

The vast majority of individuals who want to ultimately become orthodontists study something in the area of health sciences eventually majoring in something like chemistry or biology.

The best thing to do is to actually get all the information about dental school requirements from the school that you are interested in applying to.

These days you can find all the information you need for pretty much any dental school out there on the Internet. But you can be sure that the vast majority of the dental schools require that you major in biology or chemistry in college.

The other requirement that most dental schools have is that they are going to want you to actually take a test known as a dental aptitude test, DAT which is something that is only done a few times a year.

The good news is that you can repeat the test as many times as you like until you get a grade that you are happy with.

Once you have everything you need to apply for dental school then be sure to apply immediately.

As there are a limited number of places for the number of students that each dental school accepts you are going to want to apply as quickly as possible.

If the dental school likes your application then you are going to be invited in for an interview. The combination of good grades in college and a good interview are what will get you into dental school.

> How is Dental School Like?

Congratulations if you’ve secured a place at a dental school… but don’t celebrate too much because your journey has literally begun! You are just about to begin 4 years of super intense study to become a dentist.

You should expect your days as a dental student to be very, very long. Your school hours will be from 8 in the morning to 5 in the evening. After that you are going to be expected to study into the night to prepare for the next day.

In the first year you should expect to actually spend most of your time learning theory in class. From the second year onwards you can expect to get more and more practical time with patients who have actual dental issues that you’re going to want to work on.

There is no limit to the problems that you are going to be working on, so be sure to expect a variety of interesting things to keep you busy and active.

> Orthodontic Masters Program

After you have successfully graduated from dental school you are going to be able to apply to a masters program in orthodontics.

Competition is tough for pretty much all orthodontic programs out there. Every school out there usually only has spaces for about 2 to 3 students a year!

Often times an individual has to apply several times before finally getting a place in an orthodontics program.

The best way to increase your chances of getting a good places in an orthodontics program is to graduate top of the class in dental school. So be sure to work really hard in dental school!

Along with all the theory you are going to be given patients on whom you are going to perform orthodontic work on.

Again you can expect to have to work extremely hard and long hours to get through the orthodontics program successfully.

> Getting a Job in an Orthodontics Practice

Once you have successfully graduated and gained your specialty degree in orthodontics you are going to have to apply to the state of your choice where you want to practice, for a license.

Once you have successfully obtained your license to practice in the state you’ve chosen, you can officially begin practicing your craft of orthodontics!

A typical orthodontics practice is a very hectic place to be in and you will often be seeing many, many patients every single day.

You can be sure that being an orthodontist can be draining both physically and mentally!

The good news however is that most orthodontists only work about 4 days a week.

At the end of the day when you choose to start up your own practice you are going to have complete control over the kind of practice that you want to run. You can have a massive practice with a lot of staff and choose to work a lot of hours or you can have a smaller practice and work as few hours as you want. That’s the beauty of orthodontics and dentistry in general… you are in complete control of your destiny.

I really hope that this two part series has given you an insight on what it takes to become an orthodontist and remember that in the long run if you work hard then it will more than pay off :)

Step by Step Guide on Becoming an Orthodontist – Part 1

becoming an orthodontist

becoming an orthodontist

So you’ve had the experience of getting braces and visiting an orthodontist and you thought to yourself that this really could be an incredible job. So you decide that you want to become an orthodontist.

The people who have had braces, have gone through the experience of actively seeing exactly what their orthodontist has to do. They like the work that their orthodontist does and think that it’s an incredible business.

The thought then develops in their mind over time on what they have to do to actually become an orthodontist. Well, to help you out in this regard, I’m going to show you the exact process you have to go through to become an orthodontist in the United States.

Officially those that specialize in the area of orthodontics are essentially those that have studied the subject known as orthodontia.

Orthodontia is essentially the subject studying malocclusions and how to treat them.

To become a fully qualified orthodontist will require many thousands of hours of study.

In terms of education you are going to have to first of all complete dental school and graduate with either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or get a degree in Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD).

These two degrees are essentially the same and once you have either of them you are going to have to apply to a school to get your Masters degree in orthodontics.

So you can say that every single orthodontist out there is also a dentist because they had to go through dental school.

Before you jump the gun and decide to do what it takes to become an orthodontist it is really important that you take the time to really ask yourself the following questions…

Q) Are You Prepared To Become a Dentist?

You really need to think long and deep about whether you are prepared to put in the time and effort to actually first become a dentist and then specialize in the area of orthodontics.

It takes many, many years to eventually become a dentist and even more time and money to become an orthodontist.

You should expect to spend at least 10 years of your life studying after you graduate from high school to eventually become an orthodontist.

That’s about 4 years of college, then 4 years of dental school and then a couple more years specializing in orthodontics.

Yes, it really does take that much time to actually become an orthodontist!

Q) Are you extremely patient and have the manual dexterity to work with people’s mouths?

The mouth is a very small area for a dentist to be working in and often you are going to have to work in parts of the mouth that are very hard to reach and so you are going to have to have the manual dexterity to do the work properly.

This means that if you are serious you are going to want to do things like play musical instruments which help to build up your manual dexterity over time.

Q) Do You Like Working With the Public?

You really have to be a people person to become a successful orthodontist. Those of you that are introverts by nature are going to have to work to overcome this and be able to confidently interact with all kinds of people!

Lazy individuals are never going to be successful dentists. You have to be the kind of person who is ready to get out there and achieve the goals that he or she sets!

Q) Are You Prepared To Run a Small Business?

The reality is that the vast majority of orthodontists out there are small business owners.

This means that you’re going to have to take on a lot of different responsibilities such as taking care of your patients to ensuring that all the people who work for you are paid on time.

You need to be the kind of person that is willing to take on the risk of running their own small business. If you’re not willing to do this then you won’t be able to become a successful orthodontist!

The good thing is that if you are able to attend to all the costs properly then you will be able to run a very profitable business without any problems whatsoever.

You need to be able to learn very quickly on how to run a business for yourself because this is an area that isn’t taught in dental school. But you can be sure that the rewards are more than worth it in the long run.

That’s it for part one, be sure to look out for part two in the next couple of days!