What Do Orthodontists Do?
Orthodontists are oral healthcare professionals with specialized skills in the dental field who straighten teeth and correct improper bites. You usually visit a dentist to get your cavities filled, but you visit an orthodontist if you need braces. In addition to this, they diagnose facial abnormalities and design appliances - ranging from retainers to space maintainers - which can help correct the error, allowing the patient to look and eat better. Furthermore, orthodontists will study diagnostic records and plaster models of the teeth in order to develop personalized patient treatment plans. From administering anesthesia to treating oral injuries, the orthodontist will carry out all of these duties.
How To Become An Orthodontist
Some people believe that orthodontists and dentists are different names for the same professionals, but this is not true. If you want to become an orthodontist, you will first need to complete at least two years of pre-dental education. Most students choose to focus on topics in biology and obtain an undergraduate degree to build a base in the dental and medical field.
Admissions to dental schools could be highly competitive, and depend in part on your performance in the Dental Admissions Test. Your score along with your educational performance will help determine your admission into a dental program. You will then have to spend the next 4 years focusing specifically on the skills involved in your field. You will learn how to operate different equipment, diagnose abnormalities, and develop effective treatment plans to correct these issues. Some courses also groom you to become better managers of your time and help with multitasking. The last 2 years of your dentist training involves dealing with patients in a practical setting to sharpen your talents.
Upon completing this portion of dental training, you will have to enroll into a graduate program to learn how to become an orthodontist. Some programs offer a combined residency at the end of your studies to help give you relevant practical training. In total, these programs last two years, with an additional two years for the residency. Lastly, you will have to get licensed to practice your profession within the US. These involve written and practical components designed to test your aptitude in the field. Following this, you may apply for jobs within public and private healthcare facilities, or even start your own practice.
The American Board of Orthodontics offers a voluntary exam which orthodontists may enroll in if they wish to become certified. While this is not an official requirement in the US, having board certification improves your chances of landing a job. Eligibility criterion requires students to complete their orthodontic training from an institute accredited by the American Dental Association. All those who complete this written test will have to get their certification renewed after every 10 years. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual salary for this profession is close to $84,000, with a positive growth rate.