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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 completed the BOSS UK Diploma in 2021 and when it became available, signed up for the AU course as well. I completed the AU course at the end of last year and can honestly say BOSS (now Digital Orthodontic College) has completely changed my approach to clear aligner treatments and increased my confidence with treatment planning immensely. The fact that the course is 100% online was a huge drawcard for me initially since I have two young children, work clinically part-time and run my own business. It allowed me the flexibility to study when I had the chance and didn’t result in any loss of clinical time. Dr V is extremely passionate about orthodontics and more importantly sharing her wisdom and that comes through in her approach to teaching. The course is extremely comprehensive (NB: the AU course has quite a few complex assessments) and covers everything starting from the basics of tooth movement, which sets a good foundation and is therefore suitable even for beginners. The monthly/bimonthly webinars allow students to share cases and is a safe space, non-judgmental and therefore an incredible learning platform. I had been doing clear aligner treatments prior to starting this course, but BOSS helped me see patients with new eyes and has overhauled my treatment planning approach. I would not hesitate to recommend this course to anyone interested in learning, or to extend their knowledge about, clear aligner treatments.

    Thank you so much Dr V!

    Dr Lora Banicevic, Dentist NSW
  • The Australian accredited 10905NAT Graduate Diploma of Digital Orthodontic Treatment offers comprehensive training in the field, gives the candidate the opportunity to do things in a self-paced manner, while getting a personalised 1-on-1 learning experience with Dr Vandana Katyal. It was an excellent choice for me and gave me the flexibility to get the well-designed training done in my own time frame. I would strongly recommend the course to any practitioners who is looking to upskill themselves with a no-compromise high quality course, while also having to juggle between busy practices and family schedules.

    Dr Charles Sun, Dentist WA
  • 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
  • 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 NSW
  • 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
  • I chose Boss’s clear aligner diploma because I wanted to know the latest evidence based practice to enhance my treatment planning and case execution. I now have a much better understanding of how to diagnose, what movements can be done and what will get me into trouble. The flexible nature of the course delivery also fit perfectly into full time work and my otherwise packed schedule. The monthly case presentation webinars are also great to not only get feedback from Dr Katyal, but also to validate your own thoughts self-assess and see how you are tracking with your learning.

    Dr Gregory Nguyễn, Dentist NSW

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