WHAT IS AN ORTHODONTIST?
An orthodontist is a dentist who completed 2-3 years of post-graduate specialty training in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. All orthodontists are dentists, but only about 6% of dentists are orthodontists.1
Admittance into an orthodontic residency program is very competitive and selective. Dentists who gain admittance into orthodontic specialty programs usually have grade-point averages and National Board Dental Exam scores that place them within the top 5-10% of their dental school peers. In fact, orthodontics has historically been one of the most, if not the most, competitive of the nine dental specialties.
An orthodontist has spent 2-3 years in specialty training after dental school to learn the proper way to move teeth (orthodontics), guide facial growth (dentofacial orthopedics), and improve bite relationships (via orthodontics, dentofacial orthopedics, or combined surgical-orthodontic treatments). Orthodontists are trained to evaluate more than just tooth alignment; they also receive extensive education to evaluate overall facial balance and esthetics. Since orthodontic treatments can affect jaw position, lip position, and tooth position, it can also affect facial esthetics. Therefore, patients can trust that when they are evaluated by an orthodontist, the doctor is a trained specialist who can optimize their facial esthetics (in addition to providing a beautiful smile). Moreover, orthodontists are taught to evaluate temporomandibular joint (TMJ) function, and strive to correct a patient’s occlusion (aka “bite”) with the TMJs positioned in their most natural location. Also, orthodontists are educated to evaluate the effects of jaw position on airway size and volume, and may prescribe treatments for patients suffering from obstructive sleep apnea or who are at risk for sleep apnea.
How Do I Know if My Provider is an Orthodontist?
Look for the AAO Logo on the provider’s website, advertisements, etc.
Search by address, zip code, or city on the AAO patient website to find an orthodontist near you:
Orthodontists in ___________
There are several great orthodontists in _______, Utah. Check out this article: _______________
1. https://www.aaoinfo.org/system/files/media/documents/AAO-What-is-an-Orthodontist-Flier.pdf (accessed 9/3/13)