Tuesday, January 17, 2012

What Is The Role Of The Orthodontist? by Nick Messe

Being an orthodontist is a very rewarding career, as the main goal of an orthodontist is to help a person attain the most beautiful smile possible by manipulating their teeth into the correct position. Every time a patient smiles, an orthodontist sees the positive effects of their work on display.

It is not easy, however, to become an orthodontist. Prospective orthodontists must first earn a Bachelor's degree while taking at least one year each of biology, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, and English. They must then take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), and apply and be accepted to a dental college. There, it will take an average of four years to receive their Doctor of Dental Science (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD).

These degrees are chiefly only semantically different from each other. Prospective orthodontists must then enroll in a specialized orthodontics program at a dental school or hospital. There are currently 67 such programs in the United States, and they typically take between two and three years to complete. Finally, graduates of these programs must pass a written and clinical certification test, and then they can finally begin practicing as an orthodontist.

The many years of effort required to begin this career are worthwhile when the payoff is considered. Orthodontists have the pleasure of interacting daily with patients and seeing the benefits of their work in the well being of their patients. Properly aligned teeth are necessary for a comfortable and healthy jaw. Orthodontists also boost the confidence of their patients by giving them a beautiful smile to display.

Monetary compensation for the practice of orthodontics is also good, and orthodontists on average earn an annual salary of $194,930, according to the 2008 Occupational Employment Statistics Handbook, which is published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Finally, orthodontists are rewarded with a job that continually intrigues and challenges them, as they work to meet the needs of individual patients while keeping up with new technological innovations.

The tasks of a practicing orthodontist are many, and are constantly changing as technology evolves. Most commonly, orthodontists put braces on teeth to move them into place so that they will be both healthy and beautiful. Orthodontists also use many other devices to move the teeth and jaw, including headgear, retainers, spacers, and bionators, just to name a few.

Invisalign, a set of clear, removable molded trays that move teeth into place, are a relatively new alternative to braces that an orthodontist may recommend. More attractive than braces, Invisalign has become very popular. Other duties include include participating in patient consultations, taking impressions of teeth to plan treatments, x-raying teeth and jaws, and supervising the work of orthodontic nurses and assistants.

There is no doubt that becoming an orthodontist is a long and difficult process. It is also clear, however, that those who complete this process are rewarded with a career that is highly enjoyable, challenging, and financially lucrative.