Any dental profession you take is a humble path. It demands a lot from you. It requires dedication, perseverance, knowledge, and virtue to succeed in such a profession. But most of it all, it requires you to start from a humble beginning.
One of the most highly sought out professions in dentistry is becoming an orthodontist. However, becoming an orthodontist is no easy task. It’s quite a long climb before you can even start working as one, but it’s undoubtedly one of the most rewarding jobs in the world.
Orthodontist vs. General Practioner
We must first distinguish the difference between an orthodontist and a general practitioner.
Orthodontists work in a more specialized field of dentistry. They handle teeth misalignment and the repositioning of teeth. They also handle jaw problems as well. On the other hand, a general practitioner is what we call a dentist. They are in charge of taking care of your overall oral hygiene. They clean your teeth and keep your gums healthy, and maybe remove some teeth along the way.
Ultimately, you’re sent to an orthodontist if you need some help putting your teeth back in the correct position. Not all dentists are orthodontists, but all orthodontists are dentists. So how do you become an orthodontist?
Get an Undergraduate Degree
First, you’re going to need to get an undergraduate degree. The usual undergraduate degree that people take is biology or anything related to biology. Chemistry is also a good choice if you’re interested in that field. There is no real requirement, but biology and chemistry students are most likely to be accepted to dental school.
Apply for Dental School
Once you’ve got an undergraduate degree, you can then apply for dental school. You’re going to have to take a Dental Admissions Test (DAT) if you want to get in.
Your time in dental school is all about learning human anatomy and periodontics. These are pretty complex subjects, so make sure you study in advance and study well!
Residency and Board Examination
After dental school comes one of the most challenging board examinations in the country, many people fear this board exam but don’t worry. You have a real chance of passing it. So once you’ve passed your board exam, you’re going to need to do your residency. Technically, you’re a general practitioner at this point but not yet an orthodontist. You’re going to need to choose that path yourself.
Apply for Orthodontics Specialty
There are 10,658 orthodontists working in the U.S., and all of them applied for the orthodontics specialty and took the exam for it. You’re going to need to do the same thing as well.
At this point, you’ve gotten most of the experience needed to ace such an exam. However, it’s still essential to continuously review what you’ve learned. Invest in a reviewer if you can because this will technically help you succeed in the test. Overall, it takes about twelve years to become an orthodontist. But the fight does not end there. You’re going to need to make a lot more improvements if you want to become successful in the field.
Becoming a Successful Orthodontist
Success in this field requires you to be creative. There are about ten thousand people in your field, and if you want to become an excellent dental practitioner, you need to dedicate a lot of your time to marketing. After you’ve specialized in orthodontics, you’re going to have to let people know that you’re working in the field.
You must let people know through social media and local ads. Try to get into radio ads if possible. Get people into reviewing your work on the internet. Let your friends and loved ones help you out to gain the necessary publicity you need to be on top of this field.
Consider Taking in Medical Emergencies
If you want to gain extra revenue, you’re going to have to open your clinic up for medical emergencies. This means being on-call at any time, even late at night. For some orthodontists, this is the lifeblood of their profession. It’s where people can gain high regard for your profession and keep coming back to your clinic.
During your first year, it might be beneficial to give discounts and coupons to your clients. This is your way of attaining loyal clients. Most businesses call this customer acquisition. Spending or losing money to gain customers is a proactive way to keep people coming back to your clinic, and you’re going to need a lot of loyal clients if you want your business to grow.
Becoming an orthodontist takes a long time, and becoming a successful one takes even longer. But if you’re armed with the proper knowledge and mindset, you can reach such a goal in no time.