Orthodontists are doctors who receive additional training in the art of straightening teeth. These professionals go through years of both classroom and hands-on training to perfect their skills. This is because teeth alignment and oral health are not simple procedures. Experts need to understand how teeth shift, how the face is affected by development, and individualize treatment plans. The following includes some basic information about the training and education an orthodontist receives.
The first piece of education for an orthodontist is dental school. Here, a person attends school for four years. This ensures that orthodontists understand the ins and outs of oral health and can fully diagnose and then deal with issues of all types. Upon successful completion of dental school, a person can then focus on orthodontics. The main difference between a dentist and an orthodontist is that a dentist has general understanding of oral health, and an orthodontist is focused solely on the alignment of the teeth and jaw. Dental school targets everything from the importance of brushing and flossing, how to extract teeth, how to understand bridges and crowns, and what different diseases look like. Admission to such programs is competitive and sometimes requires certain majors and coursework as well as high test scores and grades.
Next, a student will complete two or three years in an orthodontic residency program. This is where the person specializes and focuses on everything from the alignment of teeth and development of braces to the impact retainers and headgear can have, among other treatment options. The residency students hands-on experience so that these doctor-artists understand how to work with people and the alignment of their teeth to reduce pain, improve speech, and correct a smile.
Work with a Range of Cases
Orthodontic students learn how to work with children, teens, and adults. This is a chance to see mild to extreme cases. The more cases one works with, the better able the doctor will be to diagnose and deal with challenges later on in their career. This is a chance to gain some much-needed experience on diagnosing and dealing with a wide range of situations. Practice really does make perfect.
Financing and Payment
Skilled orthodontists also receive training on how to operate an office, work with insurance companies, and how to pursue financing for patients. This ensures that people can run an efficient office that truly helps people pay for different treatment plans: everything from Invisalign to retainers and more. There are often legal and medical rules and regulations to follow, some of which are specific to a state or specific region.
Orthodontists go through extensive training so that they can best serve patients. The hands-on training ensures that these professionals understand how to work with a variety of cases. Oral health affects everything from a person’s facial features and smile to their jaw alignment. This is why an advanced orthodontic education is so important to correcting teeth alignment.
Dr. Joseph T. Hung is a top 1% Invisalign orthodontist, dentist and orthodontic expert, award-winning doctor and halitosis specialist. His practice, RockCenter Orthodontics, is a leader in Invisalign and orthodontics – the art of straightening teeth for patients throughout Manhattan, New York and the tri-state. Dr. Hung is also the founder of Orthodontist Insight, a blog on orthodontics to educate people on dentistry.