Becoming an Orthodontist

Dentistry is a wide branch of extensive dental, oral, and facial specialties. Be it a general dentist or an orthodontist, both receive broad practice, diagnosing knowledge, education, and ample training over many treatments for several oral health problems. 

However, an orthodontist specializes further to perform special surgeries and treatments for specific oral health conditions and problems that general dentists don’t. Despite this, a general dentist is the one who might recommend you see an orthodontist in the first place.

Did you know that dentists, nearly 80%, receive education and practice of what is general dentistry? According to the AAO (American Association of Orthodontics), orthodontists specialize and perform treatments such as jaw/tooth alignment, braces, and so on.

What Does an Orthodontist Do?


Orthodontists are oral health doctors that treat certain specific and chronic dental conditions with specialty. Their expertise pertains to the gums, teeth, and mouth.

However, their main goal is to focus on the alignment of your jaw and teeth. Here’s what an orthodontist treats and performs:

  • Facial Growth Supervision, especially in children
  • Bite Problems and Corrections (overbite, underbite, crossbite, overjet, etc.)
  • Malocclusion (wide misalignment of the jaw and/or teeth)
  • Teeth-straightening surgeries
  • Braces and retainer treatments
  • Dental appliances such as orthodontic headgear, palatal expanders, and Herbst appliances

Orthodontists- Education and Training

Most of the dentistry education is similar for general dentists and orthodontists but practice in orthodontics requires additional certification. Normally, future dentists start with studying pre-medical and pre-dentistry courses in college. However, the undergraduate program before opting for a dental school does not require specific sets of courses for study.

According to AAO, there are no specific undergraduate majors for future-orthodontics to study. Instead, they can go for normal prerequisites such as chemistry and biology to increase their awareness for dental and medical schools. Moreover, some college students work with pre-dental societies or even volunteer in clinics.

Consequently, they enroll in dental schools where they spend two years learning in the labs and classroom. In the next and final two years, they practice with patients while under the guidance of experienced supervision.

Similarly, dental school students choose specialties and fields on their preference after completing dental school. Following that, they complete a two to three years of residency program after which they pass a certification test from the board of experienced and associated orthodontics.

Finally, they cover further educational specialties and fields to ensure adequate training years, knowledge, and certification to move into practice. AAO suggests that orthodontists can move into practice as soon as their additional certification exams complete.

Career Scope and Report

Regardless of the competitiveness and hard work in becoming an orthodontist, there are fruitful rewards for the orthodontists and their patients alike. As the American Association of Orthodontics suggests, orthodontic residency applicants cross the number of available positions.

In spite of that, becoming an orthodontist is more than rewarding in terms of finance and medical experience. Do you know that Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average annual earning of an orthodontist is around $200,000 USD?!


As orthodontics treats specific dental and oral problems, it is best to consider one if your general dentist is unable or recommends getting treatment from one. Here at Burke & Beckstrom Orthodontics, Dr. Burke and Dr. Beckstrom are professional and experienced orthodontics.

You can contact us through our official website and give us a call at the number active for your region today. Taking care of your mouth is the way to a bright and shiny smile.

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