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become an orthodontist

How Long Does It Take to Become an Orthodontist?

Expertise, knowledge, and experience are hallmarks of the professionals in Williams Orthodontics, a renowned practice in Evergreen and Conifer, CO. The frequently asked question in our practice is, “how long does it take to become an orthodontist?” We’ve prepared this comprehensive guide to help you understand the extensive education, dedicated commitment, and tireless training required to become an orthodontist.

Bachelor’s Degree

Upon completion of high school, an aspiring orthodontist first needs to obtain a Bachelor’s degree. Although there’s no specific pre-dental major, many choose to study subjects such as biology, chemistry, or other sciences to prepare for dental school.

  • Typical duration: Four years

The Dental Admissions Test

After undergraduate studies, prospective dentists must pass the Dental Admissions Test (DAT). This competitive exam assesses academic capacity and scientific understanding key to success in dental school.

Dental School

Following a successful DAT, aspiring orthodontists need to complete a rigorous dental school program accredited by the American Dental Association. Here, they undertake extensive studies in oral health concepts, dental procedures, and patient care. Most often, the first two years focus on classroom and laboratory instruction, while the final two center on clinical practice.

  • Typical duration: Four years

National Board Dental Examination

To become a licensed dentist, candidates must pass the National Board Dental Examination, a two-part exam covering dental sciences, ethics and laws, diagnostic abilities, and clinical skills.

Orthodontic Residency Program

Once licensed, an aspiring orthodontist must then apply for an orthodontic specialty program, also accredited by the American Dental Association. This intensive and competitive program provides advanced knowledge about orthodontics principles, including malocclusion correction, proper jaw alignment, and various orthodontic techniques. The program also requires clinical practice, where trainees diagnose and treat actual patients under professional supervision.

  • Typical duration: Two to three years

Examination and Certification

After successful completion of the residency program, candidates can then sit for the American Board of Orthodontics examination. Passing this exam earns the professional the title of a “board-certified orthodontist.” Although voluntary, this certification demonstrates the orthodontist’s commitment to maintaining the highest standards of professionalism and expertise in their field.

Continuing Education

Even after becoming a practicing orthodontist, the journey does not end there. Orthodontics is a highly dynamic field, with advancements in techniques, technology, and best practices developing continuously. As such, orthodontists must engage in continuing education to stay updated with the latest developments.

In summary, the entire process to become an orthodontist takes approximately ten to eleven years post-high school. It necessitates an immense investment, but the reward is an ability to radically improve smiles and oral health for patients of all ages.

The Takeaway

At Williams Orthodontics, we appreciate that you place your trust in us for your oral surgery procedures. We aspire to honor that trust by ensuring that our orthodontists represent the pinnacle of education and training in their field.

Becoming an orthodontist is a complex and challenging path, one that requires dedication, expertise, and a passion for patient care. Next time you visit our practice, remember the incredible journey your orthodontist completed to provide your expert care. It’s not just about straightening and beautifying smiles; it’s about a career-long commitment to education and improvement in the name of your oral health.

So when you sit in one of our examining chairs in one of our Colorado offices, recognize that you are in the hands of a trained professional whose journey to become an orthodontist has equipped them with the skills and knowledge to ensure you receive the best possible care. Read reviews and get directions at our Williams Orthodontics Google Business Profile. Then book an appointment today and get started on the smile you deserve.

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