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What does an Orthodontist do?

Learn all about Orthodontist duties, skills and much more. Get expert advice on how to become an Orthodontist.

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 4 min read

An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. The word "orthodontics" comes from the Greek words "orthos," meaning "straight," and "dontos," meaning "teeth." Orthodontists use braces, retainers, and other appliances to align teeth and jaws in order to improve a person's smile and oral health.

Orthodontist job duties include:

  • Examine patients to determine the nature of the malocclusion, using dental instruments
  • X-ray patients' teeth and jaws to obtain diagnostic information
  • Develop treatment plans for patients, outlining the type of appliance that will be used and the length of time that treatment will be required
  • Fit patients with braces or other corrective appliances, making adjustments as needed to ensure proper fit
  • Remove braces or other appliances when treatment is completed
  • Monitor patients' progress during treatment, making necessary adjustments to appliances as needed
  • Keep detailed records of patients' oral health and treatment progress
  • Consult with other dental professionals, such as dentists, oral surgeons, and periodontists, as needed to coordinate patient care
  • Educate patients and their families on proper oral hygiene and care during orthodontic treatment

Orthodontist Job Requirements

An Orthodontist is a type of dentist that specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities. They use braces, retainers, and other appliances to correct teeth and jaws that are positioned improperly. In order to become an Orthodontist, one must first complete a 4-year undergraduate degree followed by 3 years of dental school. After dental school, Orthodontists must complete a 2-3 year residency program in Orthodontics. Some states also require Orthodontists to obtain a license in order to practice.

Orthodontist Skills

  • Braces
  • Invisalign
  • Crowding
  • Spacing
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Open bite
  • Crossbite
  • Tmj
  • Headgear
  • Retainers
  • Herbst appliance

Related: Top Orthodontist Skills: Definition and Examples

How to become an Orthodontist

Orthodontists are dental specialists who diagnose and treat patients with improper alignment of the teeth and jaws. They use braces, retainers, and other appliances to correct dental problems and improve the function and appearance of teeth.

To become an orthodontist, you must first complete a four-year undergraduate degree program. Once you have completed your undergraduate degree, you must then attend an accredited dental school for four years. Upon completion of dental school, you must then complete a two- to three- year residency program in orthodontics.

The first step to becoming an orthodontist is to obtain a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited college or university. You can major in any subject, but you must complete the prerequisite courses required for admission to dental school. These courses include biology, chemistry, physics, and math.

After completing your undergraduate degree, you must then attend an accredited dental school for four years. During your time in dental school, you will take courses such as anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology. You will also receive clinical training in various aspects of dentistry, including orthodontics.

Upon completion of dental school, you must then complete a two- to three- year residency program in orthodontics at an accredited hospital or institution. During your residency, you will receive advanced training in diagnosing and treating patients with orthodontic problems. You will also have the opportunity to participate in research projects related to orthodontics.

After completing your residency program, you will be eligible to take the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) examination. This examination is required for licensure in most states. Once you have passed the ABO examination, you will be a licensed orthodontist and can begin practicing Orthodontics!

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