How To Become an Orthodontist

Educational Requirements for Orthodontists
  1. Obtain an undergraduate degree.
  2. Pass the Dental Admission Test to be able to apply for dental school.
  3. Complete dental school and residency.
  4. Pass the National Board Dental Examination.
  5. Obtain a license to practice orthodontics as a specialty, which may require a special state exam.

How To Become An Orthodontist

How to become an orthodontist

Follow these steps to pursue a career as an orthodontist:

1. Graduate high school

The most helpful classes in high school for anyone thinking about becoming an orthodontist are likely to be biology, anatomy, physics, mathematics, and both organic and inorganic chemistry.

2. Earn a bachelors degree

Being admitted to a dental school requires obtaining a bachelor’s degree. Although some schools only accept applicants with a bachelor’s degree, the majority of them only accept applicants with two years of undergraduate study. Earning one will therefore significantly increase your chances of becoming an orthodontist.

The majority of aspiring orthodontists choose subject majors that prepare them for the next steps, such as biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics, even though there is no clear requirement regarding the best undergraduate program. Bachelor of Science degrees in biology or chemistry are two of the most preferred degrees for orthodontists.

3. Take the Dental Admission Test

The American Dental Association administers the Dental Admission Test, also known as the Dental Aptitude Test and the Dental Acceptance Test. It is also a requirement for admission to a dental school that is accredited, with each school having a different test score requirement. The test has four sections:

4. Graduate from dental school

All orthodontists must first become dentists. The following factors are also taken into account by admissions committees in addition to your college GPA and your Dental Admission Test score:

The first two years of dental school are devoted to teaching students about human anatomy and the effects that dental treatment can have on various body systems. Under the close supervision of qualified teachers and dentists, they learn and practice various procedures over the course of the final two years. They must demonstrate at the conclusion of the four years that they are knowledgeable about each procedure in both theory and practice. Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine degrees are awarded to dental school grads.

5. Earn your dental license

Following dental school graduation, you must pass the National Board Dental Examination and a clinical exam given by a testing organization in your region in order to obtain your dental license.

The two-part National Board Dental Examination is administered over the course of three days. 400 multiple-choice questions are included in the first section and cover subjects like:

The second section lasts for two days and covers subjects unique to dental work, such as:

What is an orthodontist?

A doctor with a specialization in preventing, identifying, and treating various dental and facial irregularities is an orthodontist. Their primary responsibility is straightening crooked teeth, but they also address other problems like crooked bites, extra teeth, and aesthetic problems with the lips, jaw, and teeth.

Some of the most widely used treatments by orthodontists are:

The most important skills and qualities for orthodontists usually are:

6. Complete an orthodontics residency

Once you have obtained your dental license, the next step is to complete an accredited orthodontics residency in order to become an orthodontist. It lasts two or three years and improves a dentist’s knowledge by enabling them to develop the abilities necessary to handle and address issues with facial misalignment and tooth movement. A three-year program helps students gain a deeper understanding of complex orthodontic issues while a two-year program allows students to graduate more quickly. Orthodontic masters degrees are more likely to be offered in three-year programs.

7. Earn your orthodontist license

After finishing all the prerequisites, obtaining your license is the last step to becoming an orthodontist. States typically have slightly different requirements, but the three main ones are passing state clinical exams, graduating from an accredited dental school, and passing the National Board Dental Examinations. Most licensed orthodontists are also licensed to practice dentistry.

8. Get certified

You can become certified by the American Board of Orthodontics if you want to demonstrate your newly acquired knowledge to clients and colleagues after becoming an orthodontist. Written and clinical exams must be passed in order to become certified, and they must be retaken every 10 years.


Is becoming an orthodontist hard?

One can anticipate to complete their education and become an orthodontist at about age 28–30 if there are no breaks in the educational process. Contrary to popular belief, becoming an orthodontist is more challenging than you might think. Although manageable, there are financial and academic challenges that must be taken into account.

Is becoming an orthodontist worth it?

An orthodontist who owns a practice can earn $152,000 more than a general dentist. Assume the orthodontist pays federal and state income taxes at a marginal rate of 40%. So, they take home an extra $91,200 per year. Projected additional loan repayment costs total $418,000

What is the best major for orthodontist?

Although you can choose to major in any field, many pre-dental students choose to major in a science, such as biology or chemistry, since science courses are already required.

Do orthodontists go to medical school?

Both the Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) and Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degrees are awarded to graduates of dental school. Despite the fact that the titles sound different, the degree programs’ requirements are the same. Each individual dental school decides which degree to offer.

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