If you are strongly interested in the field of dentistry and wish to become an orthodontist, know that the road will be extensive but fascinating. This long development is necessary to practice a job as delicate and meticulous as this one. But first of all, what is orthodontics?
An admirable branch of the dentistry field, orthodontics studies and analyses the interception and correction of oral malformations, medically called malocclusions. To practice this job, important professional skills are required, in particular for the proper treatment design and planning, and supervising the evolution of these treatments and how they affect teeth and the jaws. To become an orthodontist, you must first become a general dentist, and then receive specialized training in orthodontics.
Studies in dentistry
Since orthodontics is part of the field of dentistry, orthodontists are primarily dentists. They go through the same university training as general dentists. But afterwards, a more specialized training is necessary to become an orthodontist, in higher collegiate education.
Dentists are the professionals who perform preliminary but thorough dental exams of their patients. Dentists also take care of most dental problems. For sustained treatments, dentists normally refer to dental specialists, including orthodontists for basic to complex malocclusions.
To become a dentist, the path varies from one country to another, but there are many similarities. You must first have a pre-university diploma (high school or college) in health sciences. Then, you must apply and to go through university studies to obtain a doctorate in dentistry (DMD or DDS). This degree requires between 4 and 5 years of studying. This is the compulsory training that general dentists go through.
Specialization in orthodontics
Orthodontists are highly qualified experts who treat and correct oral and facial deformities. These interventions concern children as well as adolescents and adults. Orthodontists are also required to practice only in this specific area, excluding other branches of dentistry. This means that orthodontists cannot perform (or very rarely) fillings or teeth extractions for example.
To become an orthodontist, on top of being a dentist, you need additional specialized training of 2 to 3 years, also in college or university. After completing all these studies, to practice their profession, orthodontists must register with their orders, or with their professional associations, in either the country or region where they live.