What Does it Take to Become an Orthodontist

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that concentrates on diagnosing, preventing and treating dental and facial irregularities. Orthodontists are dentists who focus on improving oral health by correcting misaligned teeth, overbites and other abnormalities of the jaw.

Although most orthodontists are sought mostly for improving an individual's appearance, misaligned teeth can result in severe tooth decay and a host of other oral problems because furthermore they cause bite problems that hinder eating, but crooked or overcrowded teeth are harder to brush and floss as well. In severe cases, oral problems brought on by abnormalities of the jaw may even cause snoring, anti snoring and other difficulty in breathing.

All orthodontists require license to rehearse and should therefore start out by attending school. Dental schools require a minimum of 24 months of college level education prior to admittance. Although Dental schools don't require any specific undergraduate degree, subjects for example chemistry, biology, and advanced sciences are usually needed so science courses are recommended. Dental school programs takes a couple of to Four years to complete.

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Dental studies cover theories and practical experience in related science, including anatomy, microbiology, biochemistry, and physiology, and students are also taught laboratory techniques. Students are also necessary to undergo hands on training where students must treat patients underneath the supervision of licensed dentists. With respect to the school, dental school graduates receive either a DDS, Doctor of Dental Surgery, or DMD, Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.

After graduation from school, dental admissions tests (DAT) are administered to assess the skills necessary to practice dentistry. Passing this test is required to enroll in an orthodontics program that will include courses that focus on orthodontia and culminate having a Masters of Science degree. Orthodontics programs generally takes about two to three years to accomplish. After completion, a dentist must pass the College of Dentists Board examination to become practicing orthodontist.

Orthodontists use varying techniques for diagnosing specific teeth alignment problems of their patients. The most common of them are by taking x-rays by creating molds from the patient's teeth. After diagnosis, patients are treated with braces, retainers and other dental appliances designed to realign teeth.

Orthodontists usually operate in a workplace environment, in most cases work between 35 and 40 hours a week. They can either be solo practitioners, in which case they own their very own businesses and work alone or having a small staff, or act as a part of a team of dentists or healthcare providers.

According to the Occupational Outlook Handbook, employment of dentists, including orthodontists, are projected to grow by 16 percent through 2018. The average annual salary for dentists is around $142,870 in May 2008. Earnings vary based on many years of experience, location, number of hours worked, and specialty. Orthodontia is one of the largest dental specialties, and practicing orthodontists earn a typical salary of $137,000 annually. Dentists who are in private practice tend to earn more than salaried dentists.

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