Dentists who are trained to specialize in diagnosing, preventing, and repairing structural issues with your teeth are called orthodontists. It is no small feat to become a board-certified orthodontist, with on average at least a decade’s worth of education required to achieve this goal. This specialized training and experience is one reason that seeking treatment for misaligned or crooked teeth from an orthodontist may be worth it for your smile.
Orthodontists usually have an interest in the medical field from early in life. Even in high school, many students who end up with this career take courses in anatomy, biology, chemistry, physics, and other science-related topics to learn more about it.
After high school, a college degree is a must. Orthodontists tend to major in areas heavy in science, such as biology or chemistry. During the later college years, students intending to apply to dental school must pass the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT). If accepted to dental school, students then usually face four years of classes, lab work, and supervised practice. Real life practice in clinical environments provides useful experience for dental students while still in school. Upon graduating, students earn a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree and then must pass the National Board Dental Examinations on top of that to receive a license to practice dentistry.
Orthodontics is a specialization within dentistry, so future orthodontists must additionally complete a graduate school program for specialized training. Students may gain a master’s degree or doctorate in orthodontics, oral science, or oral biology. Training involves performing orthodontic work on actual patients. Lastly, orthodontists must pass written and clinical exams through the American Board of Orthodontics.
All of this extensive education, training, and practice means that orthodontists should be experts by the end in treating all sorts of oral issues. You should feel confident that an orthodontist will be able to help you achieve your smile goals.