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How Long Does It Take To Become an Orthodontist?

Vandana KatyalGeneral

There are millions of people suffering from oral issues. From tooth decay to jaw disorders, these people require the help of a dentist who has been specially trained to deal with these issues. An orthodontist is a great profession, especially for someone who has an artistic mind and analytical engineering skills. With the advantages of a good salary and a well balanced life.

Do you remember the feeling of getting your teeth whitened or braces off and looking in the mirror for the first time? Now imagine the immense joy of getting to deliver this every day. You would be changing lives by changing smiles. As much fun as that sounds, the journey to becoming an orthodontist involves many years and additional qualifications. It usually takes approximately 9 to 10 years of formal university education before you are certified and licensed to practice as a specialist orthodontist. You must be dedicated and willing to learn if you are planning to become an orthodontist.

So how long does it take to become an Orthodontist? Here’s a quick rundown of how those years are going to be when you’re planning on becoming an orthodontist:

3 years at an accredited undergraduate school

You have to take some required courses, these are called prerequisites, typically including classes in biology and chemistry. For that reason, many orthodontists obtain a Bachelor of Science degree in either of these two subject areas, which you can get a better understanding of by checking their admission website.

4 years postgraduate degree at an accredited dental school

It is crucial for you to learn about the basics of dentistry and clinical concepts to provide you with complete education and preparation before diving into the field. Most dental schools are 4-year programs. Whatever the length of time is not important, what’s important is that you graduate with a Bachelor’s degree in dental surgery, then you may proceed to the next step. There are two types of doctorates, a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), both certifications allow you to practise dentistry.

3 years full-time at an orthodontics residency program

The residency program is 3 years, depending on the institution. In the residency, orthodontists receive instructions by professionals to assure safe and effective progress, giving them a comprehensive knowledge of this specialty. This includes learning how to perform clinical examinations, take diagnostic records and analyse them, proper guidance of dentofacial orthopaedics, etc.

An orthodontist should also possess key skills such as patience, good written and verbal communication skills, especially with children and teenagers which are the majority of orthodontics patients, and the ability to explain complex concepts. In addition to the licence as a dentist, you must also pursue and get a separate orthodontics licence by your national registering body or dental board. It may require the passing of an exam. Once you’ve completed your training and licensure as an orthodontist, you are able to find a job easily or start your own practice!.

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What People Are Saying

  • I started this course unsure of how much I would benefit. The in-person lectures were fantastic (although the course is now 100% online) where I made good friends and learned a lot. The online resources are extensive and second to none, accessible at your convenience. The webinars were great – usually with the right mix of teaching, cases demonstrated and the attendees’ cases being discussed. I was also invited to deliver a webinar on intra-oral scanners, 3D printers and in house aligner manufacturing (from a dentist’s point of view) – which I enjoyed.
    Most of all the course gave significantly more confidence what can be done with aligners, how plan the setup efficiently with the end in mind and how to make the processes to get there smoother. As a result, a MUCH larger chunk of my work is now aligner based. My conversion rate for aligner treatments has definitely increased along with my confidence. The course has easily paid for itself. Full disclosure: I was invited to deliver a webinar on intra-oral scanners, 3D printers and in house aligner manufacture to my BOSS batch mates, which I also thoroughly enjoyed doing. I declined any remuneration for this, although it was offered.
    Dr Shammi Moopen, Dentist, VIC
  • Having always steered away from clear aligners and only stuck with fixed braces, I’ve finally decided to give aligners a go this year. BOSS is extremely practical, informative and backed up by heaps of research. Dr. V is a great mentor, she’s always helpful and truthful. The team at BOSS and CCC smiles are just amazing, always there to help you whenever you need, even if it was a question that’s been repetitively asked many many times. I would highly recommend BOSS to anyone who wishes to start their journey in digital orthodontics. With Dr. V and her team behind me, my confidence level is soooo much higher and I feel like I am delivering my treatment to a higher standard and overall making me a better clinician. Thank you Dr. V!!

    Dr Claire Chiu, Dentist QLD
  • I joined BOSS in 2018 for the full year, and the wealth of knowledge that Vandana shares is immeasurable! This course is perfect for absolute beginners and also those with more experience, and Vandana caters it perfectly for the whole group. All her information is evidence based and very relatable for general dentists, giving you information that those “generic” 1-3 day clear aligner courses cannot give you. BOSS is a very comprehensive course. I highly recommend it, I plan to join BOSS again!

    Dr Michelle Sujenie, Dentist VIC
  • Since I have joined the postgraduate diploma in orthodontics I have noticed all the applied practical learning/knowledge on my patients and I am only half way through the year. Dr Vandana is a genuine educator. She goes way beyond to simplify every lecture and I really like her evidence based information and that is available for us 24/7. Her webinars helped a lot for busy dentists and loved the feedback we get in the one on one sessions with our cases. It make us think every step of the way. But the best thing I like is to see she is giving back to the community and her association with Smile Train in helping children with cleft palate is just beyond words. Thank you so much for being nice and approachable.

    Dr Claudia Braybon, Dentist
  • Received my Diploma in Digital Orthodontics from BOSS and couldn’t be more stoked! Huge shout out to Dr Vandana Katyal and the BOSS team for a wonderful year. I would recommend BOSS to every dentist no matter their level of experience with Orthodontics and clear aligners. Starting off with barely any orthodontic experience, I have commenced about 9 cases in the matter of months and BOSS gave me the confidence to predictably deliver results for my patients through clear aligners which are the future of modern orthodontics.
    Dr Sarang Sathe, Dentist NSW
  • Dr Katyal shares so much of her own protocol and is extremely generous not only with her time but with the well thought out information she provides along with the course such as inventory lists, marketing material and case presentation templates. She tailors her advice to your own experience and helps with appropriate case selection, points out possible pitfalls and helps you understand how to overcome them. The course is also up-to-date using the latest technologies in orthodontics and is heavily evidence-based.

    I would recommend it to anyone wanting to start doing some orthodontic treatment or looking for a more comprehensive course to assist in some ortho they are already doing.

    Dr Becky Dudman, Melbourne

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