The orthodontic field is full of opportunities. Each career choice is personally and professionally satisfying. In each you’ll be a member of a special team which produces better oral health, enhanced self-esteem and beautiful smiles. Please remember such rewards as you consider a career in orthodontics.
All orthodontists are, first of all, dentists, but only about six percent of dentists are orthodontists. Admission to orthodontic post-graduate programs is extremely competitive and selective. It takes many years to become an orthodontist. As in medicine, the educational requirements are demanding.
First, an orthodontist must complete college. Next is a three- to four-year graduate program at a dental school in a university or other institution accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA). Finally, there are at least two or three years of advanced specialty education in an ADA-accredited orthodontic residency program. The program is difficult. It includes advanced knowledge in biomedical, behavioral and basic sciences. The orthodontic resident learns the complex skills required to both manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).
Only dentists who have successfully completed this advanced specialty education may call themselves orthodontists. For more information on orthodontics and on careers in orthodontics, talk with your orthodontist.