Orthodontist jobs(Also known as Orthodontist)
An orthodontist is a dentist who specialises in the correction of misaligned or irregularly spaced teeth , usually with a focus on those that require braces, retainers or other dental appliances. The purpose of Orthodontics. Oral and dental health is an important part of general health, and both children and adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Orthodontists are required to assess, prevent and treat dental and facial abnormalities, such as uneven teeth or an irregular bite. Being an orthodontist is a rewarding job as it can help to improve a person’s self-esteem, confidence and oral health. A comprehensive list of dental terms, including orthodontic tools and procedures, can be found here.
SalarySalaries range from £30,000 per annum for an associate orthodontist (a self-employed orthodontist working in a practice owned by someone else) to over £150,000 per annum for those who operate their own, private practices. The average income for an orthodontist is just under £90,000 pa but will typically begin at around £40,000 pa.
ResponsibilitiesIt is the job of an orthodontist to:
- Examine and assess their client’s teeth, for example, in order to determine whether their clients need braces or require teeth removed.
- Study their client’s dental history in order to develop a treatment plan.
- Design and construct individual dental appliances, such as retainers, with reference to the client’s dental history.
- Regularly check and adjust dental appliances.
- Co-ordinate orthodontic services with other related services to ensure they are well-informed of the client’s medical and dental history.
QualificationsGood GCSE and A level grades will assist prospective students in securing places at university to study Dentistry. Applicants need five or more GCSEs (Grade A-C), including English, Maths and Science, plus three A levels at grades AAA to ABB. Vocational Certificates of Education (VCEs) and Scottish qualifications are also taken into account. If you apply with non-science A levels, you must select a Dentistry course that includes an additional pre-dental year (a preliminary course of Chemistry, Physics and Biology). Make certain to check the entry requirements of each university before you apply. When you apply for a degree in Dentistry, you may be asked to take the UK Clinical Aptitude Test (UKCAT). You can purchase a UKCAT student guide here. Although past papers are not available, you can read specimen questions on the UKCAT website. Universities will tell you if you need to take the test. You may also need a driving licence to travel to and from work placements. See The British Dental Association's website to find out which universities have a Dentistry school. Reading through prospectuses and visiting each university will help you to make an informed decision. Each course will last 5 years, at the end of which you will obtain a Bachelor of Dental Surgery, abbreviated as BDS or BChD. You may also have the letters LDS (Licentiate in Dental Surgery) after your name. BDS, BChD and LDS, although different post-nominals, all signify a person is a qualified dentist. The course includes both theory and practical training, and, once qualified, you can work in general practice as either a general dental practitioner (GDP), or as a dentist’s assistant whilst studying for the Diploma of Membership of the Joint Dental Faculties (MJDF). The MJDF, although not an entry requirement for all universities, is highly desirable, as it provides further evidence of your commitment, knowledge and understanding. An MJDF folder will document all of the experience a person has obtained whilst working in a general practice. Most universities would like you to have at least two years’ General Professional Training or equivalent in order to proceed to postgraduate level. Please consult individual universities to determine what their entry requirements are. Before you become a certified orthodontist, you will need immunisation against any disease that could constitute a hazard to your clients. In order to proceed to become an orthodontist, a qualified dentist must apply for a three-year postgraduate MSc (Master of Science) in Orthodontic Dentistry. A student can complete this course on a full-time or part-time basis. If a student graduates successfully, he or she is then a specialist in orthodontics.
SkillsMost of the skills you will need to become an orthodontist will be acquired at university and on work placements. You will learn about different orthodontic procedures and the professional ethics involved in treating your clients. You will also develop a solid background in advanced scientific and clinical knowledge pertaining to dentistry. The following skills are helpful:
- A high level of professionalism.
- Good business sense, particularly if you intend to run your own business.
- Communication skills, as you will be communicating with clients regularly.
- Good eyesight, which will help you to work intricately and accurately.
- Good hand-eye co-ordination, for example, arm-hand steadiness and manual dexterity.
- The ability to think logically and analytically.
- Time management, as you will need to adhere to a rigid schedule.
Working ConditionsThe work environment should be clean, sterile, hygienic and well lit. During work-experience, your supervisor will tell you what ought to be worn and how to clean and dispose of equipment to avoid cross-infection. Self-employed orthodontists will choose their own working hours; how long you work, (e.g. full-time or part-time) will depend on the type of dentistry you practise and the sector you work in. When working in general practice, however, you will usually work between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Friday, though you may be required to work evening or weekend shifts.
ExperienceAsk your school if you can talk to a careers advisor, or visit a site such as Connexions Direct. If you are keen to speak to someone with experience, you might ask your orthodontist for their professional opinion. Visit open days at universities with schools of Dentistry so you can learn more about what it is like to be a student of the discipline.
EmployersThe National Health Service (NHS) and private practices (see the yellow pages for individual practices).
Career ProgressionTo become an orthodontist requires commitment and perseverance, as you will need to devote a significant amount of time to your studies and work experience. However, the work itself is not only financially lucrative but also incredibly rewarding, as what you do has the potential to change a person’s life.
To find out what it is like to be an orthodontist, I consulted 36-year-old Dr Athyr Al-Killidar, of London Smile who has been a professional in this field for nine years.