An orthodontist is a specialist in tooth movement and jaw alignment. All orthodontists are dentists first. Out of 100 dental school graduates, only six go on to become orthodontists.
An orthodontist’s education includes three steps: university, dental school and then orthodontic residency. It can take 10 or more years of post-secondary education to become an orthodontist. After completing university requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted as a student in an accredited orthodontic residency program, then successfully complete a minimum of two to three years of study where they learn the skills required to manage tooth movement and guide facial development. Orthodontists limit their scope of work to orthodontics only, and only those who have successfully completed this formal education may call themselves an orthodontist.
Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens and adults. They have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s treatment goals, whether it be braces, clear aligner trays like Invisalign, or retainers.
Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan.