Career Development

What Does an Orthodontist Do?

Find out what an orthodontist does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as an orthodontist.

Orthodontists are dental specialists who have completed a four-year undergraduate degree, followed by a two- to three-year graduate program in orthodontics. They then complete an additional year of clinical training before they can become licensed to practice.

Orthodontists specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of jaw and facial irregularities that affect the teeth and jaws. This includes everything from mild cases of misaligned teeth to severe cases of underdeveloped jaws or overgrown teeth.

Orthodontist Job Duties

Orthodontists have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Providing patients with braces, retainers, and other dental appliances to correct misaligned teeth or bite problems
  • Creating orthodontic treatment plans for patients that take into account their age, circumstances, and desire for improvement
  • Diagnosing and treating patients with issues related to their bite, lip, or jaw alignment
  • Providing weekly or monthly progress reports to patients about their orthodontic treatment plan
  • Performing in-office consultations with patients to discuss treatment options and determine the best course of action for each case
  • Examining patients’ teeth, jaws, lips, and facial structures to determine treatment needs
  • Administering local anesthetics to patients undergoing dental procedures such as extractions or braces application
  • Performing dental cleanings to remove plaque and tartar buildup during regular orthodontic checkups
  • Operating specialized equipment to take x-rays and make molds of patients’ teeth and jaws to create braces or other orthodontic devices

Orthodontist Salary & Outlook

The salary of an orthodontist can vary depending on a number of factors, including their level of education, years of experience, and the type of practice they have.

  • Median Annual Salary: $275,000 ($132.21/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $435,000 ($209.13/hour)

The employment of orthodontists is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

Ongoing research and development in orthodontic treatment will likely result in continued demand for orthodontists. As orthodontic treatments become more effective, patients are more likely to receive orthodontic treatment. In addition, as the population ages, more people will seek orthodontic treatment later in life, leading to greater demand for orthodontists.

Orthodontist Job Requirements

Orthodontists typically need to have the following:

Education: Orthodontists must complete a four-year undergraduate program and a four-year dental program. During the undergraduate program, students take courses in biology, chemistry, English, mathematics and social studies. They also take courses in the humanities, such as art, music and theater.

During the dental program, students take courses in anatomy, biochemistry, microbiology, pathology, pharmacology and radiology. They also spend time in a dental clinic, where they can learn how to treat patients and apply their knowledge.

Training & Experience: Orthodontists receive most of their training through their education and internship programs. During their orthodontist residency, they learn about the field by working with experienced orthodontists. They also learn about the business side of orthodontics by working with an experienced business manager.

Orthodontists can also receive additional training through continuing education courses. These courses can help orthodontists learn about new techniques and technologies in the field. They can also help orthodontists learn about new developments in the field of dentistry.

Certifications & Licenses: All orthodontists need a license to practice in their state. Although requirements may vary by state, they usually include passing written and clinical exams administered by the American Dental Association.

In addition to the basic license, most states require orthodontists to have a minimum amount of experience before they can apply for a license.

Orthodontist Skills

Orthodontists need the following skills in order to be successful:

Communication: Communication is the ability to convey information to others in a clear and understandable way. Orthodontists use their communication skills to explain treatment plans to patients and answer any questions they may have. They also use their communication skills to explain treatment procedures to their staff and collaborate with them to ensure the treatment is successful.

Organization: Orthodontists need to be organized to keep track of their patients’ treatment plans and progress. They also need to be organized to keep their offices and treatment rooms tidy. This can help them provide the best care for their patients and keep their patients comfortable.

Attention to detail: Orthodontists need to have excellent attention to detail to ensure they provide their patients with the best treatment possible. They need to be able to notice small changes in their patients’ teeth and adjust treatment plans accordingly. This also helps them ensure their patients are receiving the most effective treatment possible.

Problem-solving: Orthodontists use problem-solving skills to find solutions to issues that arise during treatment. For example, they may need to find alternative ways to treat patients who have allergies or other conditions that prevent them from using certain materials. They may also use problem-solving skills to find ways to treat patients who have complex dental issues.

Collaboration: Orthodontists often work with other dental professionals, such as dentists, to provide patients with the best treatment. They also work with patients to determine the best treatment plan for each individual. This collaboration can help ensure that patients receive the treatment they need and that they understand the treatment plan.

Orthodontist Work Environment

Orthodontists work in well-lit, clean offices. They usually work alone, although they may have one or more assistants to help with patient care and administrative tasks. Orthodontists typically work a 40-hour week and see patients during the day, although some may work evenings or weekends to accommodate their patients’ schedules. They may also be on call to respond to emergencies, such as a broken braces wire. Because orthodontists must be able to concentrate for long periods of time and pay close attention to detail, their work can be stressful. In addition, they must be able to deal with the stress of working with patients who may be in pain or who may be unhappy with their appearance.

Orthodontist Trends

Here are three trends influencing how orthodontists work. Orthodontists will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

More Use of Technology in Orthodontics

As technology advances, it is becoming increasingly common for orthodontists to use electronic devices in their practice. This includes the use of digital records and scanners, as well as software that helps to track patient progress.

By using these tools, orthodontists can improve their efficiency and provide better care for their patients. They can also make sure that all of their patients’ data is securely stored in a safe and secure location.

More Focus on Preventative Care

Orthodontists are beginning to focus more on preventative care, which means that they are starting to see more patients earlier in life. This is due to the fact that early treatment can help to prevent problems from developing later on in life.

As a result, orthodontists will need to be familiar with a wider range of treatments, such as Invisalign® and other clear aligners. They will also need to be able to communicate effectively with parents about the benefits of early treatment.

A Greater Emphasis on Patient Education

As dental professionals become more focused on patient education, orthodontists will need to adapt by developing skills in this area.

Patient education is an important part of any dental visit, as it allows patients to understand what is happening during their treatment and why it is necessary. By developing these skills, orthodontists can ensure that their patients are comfortable and informed throughout their treatment.

How to Become an Orthodontist

Orthodontists have a rewarding career ahead of them. They can specialize in different areas, such as pediatric orthodontics or oral surgery. They can also choose to work in private practice, public health, or education.

No matter what path they choose, it’s important for orthodontists to stay up-to-date on the latest techniques and technologies. They should also network with other professionals in the field and attend continuing education courses.

Advancement Prospects

Orthodontists can advance their careers by becoming more involved in research or teaching. They may also move into management positions, such as heading up a practice or becoming a department head in a hospital. Some orthodontists open their own practices.

Orthodontist Job Description Example

At [CompanyX], we are passionate about helping our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles. We are looking for an experienced, talented, and caring orthodontist to join our team. As our orthodontist, you will be responsible for providing high-quality orthodontic care to our patients. You will also be responsible for maintaining a positive and professional relationship with our patients and their families.

The ideal candidate for this position will have experience working as an orthodontist, as well as a strong commitment to providing excellent patient care. He or she will also be passionate about helping our patients achieve beautiful, healthy smiles.

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Examine patients to determine the type of malocclusion they have in order to plan the best course of treatment
  • Take dental impressions or x-rays to aid in diagnosis and planning
  • Develop individualized treatment plans for each patient, taking into account the severity of the malocclusion, the age of the patient, and the patient’s personal preferences
  • Fit patients with braces or other appliances, adjusting them as necessary over the course of treatment to ensure proper alignment of the teeth
  • Monitor patients’ progress and adjust treatment plans as needed
  • Educate patients and their families on proper oral hygiene and care during orthodontic treatment
  • Keep detailed records of patients’ medical histories, treatments, and progress
  • Collaborate with dentists, oral surgeons, and other specialists as needed to provide comprehensive care for patients
  • Stay up-to-date on the latest advances in orthodontic technology and techniques
  • Maintain a clean and safe working environment
  • Adhere to all relevant ethical, legal, and professional guidelines
  • Supervise and train orthodontic residents and other staff members

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry/Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree from an accredited dental school
  • Completion of an accredited orthodontic residency program
  • Board certification by the American Board of Orthodontics
  • Active state license to practice dentistry/orthodontics
  • malpractice insurance
  • Excellent clinical skills with a focus on patient care
  • Strong communication, interpersonal, and leadership skills

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Membership in the American Association of Orthodontists
  • Fellowship or Mastership in the American College of Dentists or American Academy of Oral Facial Pain
  • Experience working in an academic setting
  • Research experience

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