An Orthodontist is that very special kind of person whose main aim is to boost your confidence and self-esteem by ensuring you have the perfect smile. They are highly specialized Dentists who are trained to align jaws, move or straighten teeth.
What does an Orthodontist do?
An orthodontist’s job is to diagnose, prevent and treat any facial and dental irregularities.
They use many different types of appliances that place gentle pressure on the teeth and jaws to move teeth and retrain the muscles so that the jaw realigns. These include braces, lingual braces and clear aligners such as Invisalign® or Clear Correct.
When should you go see an Orthodontist?
You may be referred to an Orthodontist if you have:
- Misaligned or crooked teeth
- Protruding teeth
- Overcrowded teeth
- Gaps in your teeth
- Overbite (buck teeth)
- Misaligned jaws
Especially if these problems are so severe that they are no longer just cosmetic but causing health problems too. For example, crooked teeth are more difficult to clean and therefore at risk of tooth decay (periodontal disease).
Here are some common health challenges the best Orthodontists solve.
- Speech, breathing or chewing difficulties
- Headaches caused by TMJ Syndrome
- Neck, shoulder or back pain caused by misaligned teeth or jaws
- Sleep apnoea
- Thumb and finger sucking habits in children
What’s the Difference Between a Dentist and an Orthodontist?
All Orthodontists are Dentists but all Dentists are not Orthodontists, simply because to become an Orthodontist you have to become a Dentist first and then specialize, much like a Doctor becoming a Cardiologist or Anaesthetist.
Both Dentists and Orthodontists help patients with their oral health but a Dentist focuses on the health of teeth, jaw, gums and nerves, while Orthodontists focus on correcting bites and straightening teeth.
A Dentist is usually your first port of call if you have or would like to prevent tooth decay or gum disease and they offer treatments such as fillings, root canal, crowns, bridges, veneers and teeth whitening.
How to Become an Orthodontist?
It takes 10 or 11 years to become an Orthodontist. Here’s the general path most Orthodontists follow.
Go to College or University for 4 Years to earn a Bachelor’s Degree.
Attend Dental School for 4 Years and graduate top of your class (only the top 5% of dental school grads are considered for an orthodontic residency).
Complete 2 or 3 years of Orthodontic residency (a postdoctoral program focused on the study of orthodontics), focusing on bite issues, straightening teeth etc.
Then write and pass a written Orthodontics exam in order to become a practising orthodontist.
What Qualities do you need to become an Orthodontist?
Become an Orthodontist if you have a genuine interest in your patients and a burning desire to see the health and psychological benefits they will derive from having that perfect smile.
Orthodontists generally run their own practices, so this profession will also suit you if you have the heart of an entrepreneur, a natural leader, motivated to excel, succeed and lead a team.
You’re also a great communicator and empathetic listener, who cares about their patients and their staff.
You will thrive as an Orthodontist if you are excited about dentistry as a profession and you’re willing to go the distance.
Why Become an Orthodontist?
Do it for the love of your patients, for that immense satisfaction of boosting someone’s self-esteem when you fix their crooked teeth or the relief and quality of life they get when you find the solution to their persistent migraines.
The pay isn’t half bad either. According to Investopedia, Orthodontists are in the top 25 highest-paid occupations in the United States – and rightly so, after all that money and all those years invested in their education.
Are you considering visiting an Orthodontist… or becoming one?
This post was sponsored by Sims Orthodontics. This is one of the ways I earn income as a blogger. All views are my own.