Career Exploration: Orthodontist

By: Kayla Davis

Description and Work Environment

The dental specialty and practice of preventing /correcting irregularities of the teeth, by the use of braces.

Orthodontists work in an office environment; they spend most of their time working on patients.

The orthodontist assistants wear scrubs while the orthodontist will most of the time wear tuxedo/formal clothes.

Required Education, Colleges that offer the degree and approximate cost of education

1. Applicants to dental school are first required to earn a bachelor`s degree from an accredited college or university. Students typically major in biology or chemistry, as dental schools are more likely to accept applicants with a science background. Toward the end of their junior year, undergraduate students with the intention of applying to dental school must pass the DAT (Dental Acceptance Test).

Orthodontists are required to pass written and clinical examinations administered by the American Board of Orthodontics. To qualify for the exam, students must present proof of graduating from a CODA accredited orthodontic program. Dental school lasts a total of four years, and is broken into two distinct phases of class/ lab work and supervised clinical practice. Upon graduation from dental school, future orthodontists are awarded the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree.

2. Boston University, Harvard University ,University of Oklahoma, Texas A&M University and University of Alabama


Tuition Fee $74,973 General Fee $ 2,586

Technology Fee$ 677 Room and Board $19,028

Books and Supplies $1,203 Miscellaneous $5,783

Instruments $ 7,089 Apparel Fee $607 Disability Insurance$ 53

Total $111,999


•Orthodontic Bonding and Accessories

•Orthodontic Palatal Expanders

•Orthodontic Brackets

•Orthodontic Bands and Buccal Tubes

•Archwires, Coil Springs, Stops, and Locks

•Orthodontic Elastics

•Orthodontic Floss and Cleaner

•Orthodontic Pliers, Cutters, and Forceps

•Orthodontic Instruments and Instrument Management Products

•Orthodontic Headgear

•Orthodontic Face Bows and Auxiliaries

•Orthodontic Mouthguard and Retainer Cases

•Extra oral Products, Including Dental Films


Hourly: $115.15

Annually: $239,510

Career Outlook

In May 2010, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated there were over 8,000 orthodontists nationwide, and predicted a 21 percent increase in jobs between 2010 and 2020. This compares with employment of over 155,000 dentists in the same year and a projected 21 percent increase.

Facts about being an orthodontist:

•Orthodontists are appropriate doctors to treat both simple and complex cases. They are educated to recognize the differences in various cases and the type of treatment required. With their experience, they know how to handle every situation.

•25% of there patients that get braces have to get them again because they don`t wear there retainers

Professional Associations of an Orthodontist:

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is a professional association of educationally qualified orthodontic specialists dedicated to advancing the art and science of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics, improving the health of the public by promoting quality orthodontic care, and supporting the successful practice of orthodontics.

Why I chose to be an orthodontist?

When I was little I used to pull my sister`s teeth out for her, so I decided on doing something in the dentistry field like possibly being a dentist. That was until I got braces 2 years ago, I was amazed at how much my teeth moved and how perfect they are from metal. I think it would be a neat to see each of your patients before and after treatment, it is also an accomplishment for yourself to see how good for work you've done.