Lots of people know that if you need to have your teeth straightened you have to make an appointment with an orthodontist. But, orthodontists do more than straighten teeth. In this blog, our orthodontists at SmileTown Orthodontics Braces & Invisalign explain what being an orthodontic specialist means.
What is Orthodontics?
Orthodontics could also be called orthodontia, and it is a specialty field under the umbrella of dentistry. The main focus of orthodontics is to treat irregularities of the jaw and teeth, specifically occlusion and alignment. The treatments for these conditions usually include braces.
Therefore an orthodontist is a specialist in the field of orthodontics.
What makes an orthodontist different from a dentist?
Most of the time, orthodontists and dentists work together in order to help you obtain the best oral health possible. However, when it comes to the conditions listed above, you will probably have to see an orthodontist, who can provide you with the treatments you need.
Just like how you would go to a heart surgeon for heart surgery instead of your family doctor, you’ll need to go to an orthodontist if you need treatment for jaw or teeth alignment problems, instead of your dentist.
How is an orthodontist's training different from a dentist's?
To become an orthodontic specialist in Canada, you'll have to be a dentist first! It typically takes approximately 12 years of formal university education from start to finish to become a certified orthodontic specialist. It’s a long process!
An orthodontist’s university career starts with a four-year bachelor’s degree, usually a Bachelor of Science degree. Then, the student goes to dental school, which is generally 4 years long.
After these 8 years of university, the student will officially be a general dentist! This is when most students start their careers as general dentists. Although, others decide to pursue a dental specialty, such as orthodontics.
To specialize in orthodontics, the dentist will have to finish another 3-year Master of Science Degree and residency program. In addition to this, many schools require students to complete a further 1-2 years of formal training as a general dentist before starting a specialty residency, such as a hospital residency.
After graduating from the orthodontic specialty residency program, the graduate will then have to pass the national dental specialty board certification exam, which is governed by the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. If they pass, they will officially be a certified orthodontic specialist.