The Educational Backgrounds of Orthodontists

Posted on October 4, 2022

Like with most other professions, one has to complete several educational programs and degrees to become an orthodontist. This educational background ensures that each professional is equipped with the knowledge and skills needed to get the job done correctly. The educational requirements for orthodontics include high school, undergraduate university, dental school, and specialty programs.

High School

Although a high school diploma is not a requirement for one to become an orthodontist, it’s advisable to begin your studies as soon as possible. This lays a solid foundation for a career in orthodontics. Math and science classes are especially beneficial. Consider enrolling in advanced biology or chemistry courses since you must advance your understanding in these fields during your undergraduate education.

While orthodontists don’t operate from a lab, they apply some chemistry skills in their job. Advanced chemistry studies can be beneficial for your future laboratory work and undergraduate and graduate courses. A background in physics, biology, and calculus can also be useful.

Undergraduate Studies

Most dental schools require prospective orthodontists to hold a four-year undergraduate degree from a university. However, two years of undergraduate studies may be enough for some institutions. Check the admissions requirements and guidelines of your chosen school, since there isn’t a single prerequisite for all dental schools.

Prospective orthodontists typically enroll for undergraduate coursework in chemistry and biology. As a result, most orthodontists earn a Bachelor of Science degree in one of these two fields. Studying a science course can make your application to a dental school stand out. It also equips you with the skills you need to be successful in future academic pursuits.

Dental School

Prospective orthodontists must complete four years of dental school. The first two years focus on science coursework, such as anatomy and biochemistry, while the final two are centered on clinical knowledge and experience. Dental school coursework covers various subjects and topics, including orthodontia-specific studies.

The subjects and topics include types of dental practices, pediatric dentistry, clinical practice competency, dental practice competency, physiology, periodontics, maxillofacial surgery, dental anatomy and occlusion, oral health, dental materials, microbiology, prosthodontics, ethics, and legal considerations.

Specialty Programs

Depending on the program, a prospective orthodontist must complete an orthodontic residency for a minimum of two to three years after graduating from dental school. Under the guidance of a licensed orthodontist, you will learn about various techniques and standard orthodontic procedures. Before you can start working as an orthodontist, this apprenticeship offers you an opportunity to gain insight into how other practitioners work before putting your skills and knowledge into practice.

A career in orthodontics can be profitable. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean wage for orthodontists was $267,280 per year or $128.50 an hour as of 2021. In addition to the financial benefits, restoring the confidence of patients by fixing their smiles is highly rewarding. To schedule an appointment with our reputable orthodontist, give us a call today.

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