The word “orthodontist” came from the Greek words “ortho” and “dontist“. The former translates “to straighten” or “to correct”, and the latter translates to “dealing with teeth”. So, the term orthodontist literally means someone who deals with teeth by straightening or correcting them. But is that what orthodontists do? And how much do orthodontists make?
A Brief History Of Orthodontics
Orthodontia can has existed as far back as Ancient Greece and Rome. Between 400 and 300 BC, archaeologists found some artifacts as proof that Etruscans, the ancient people of Etruria, Italy, used several devices for dental maintenance purposes.
In 18th Century France, Pierre Fauchard, the father of modern dentistry, wrote a book about teeth-straightening methods. Louis Bordet, a dentist, followed up this book with his own, detailing some suggestions to improve these methods that Fauchard wrote about.
The earliest records of the term “orthodontia” were in 1841, which eventually led to the American Society of Orthodontia in 1901, which Edward Angle founded. During the 1960s, gold became a trendy choice to make braces, and the rest were a history that evolved into the modern version of orthodontics we know of today.
What Does An Orthodontist Do?
The direct translation from the Greek words “ortho” and “dentist” doesn’t deviate from what orthodontists do. They are dentists who received training and certification to diagnose and prevent any teeth problems and jaw irregularities.
So, for anyone with a bad bite, misaligned teeth, tooth gaps, tooth decay, and gum diseases, your best bet would be to set up an appointment to consult with a dentist who specializes in orthodontist care.
Orthodontists treat dental abnormalities by using dental devices like braces and retainers. These help correct and straighten a patient’s bite and jaw, which helps them improve their speaking and allows them to chew and bite properly.
What Are The Requirements To Become An Orthodontist?
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As per the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), orthodontists’ critical qualities should include practical communication skills, dexterity, organizational skills, and problem-solving skills. They should also be detail-oriented and patient.
When it comes to the educational requirements, it usually takes between 10 to 11 years before orthodontists can get fully certified and licensed. The path to becoming an orthodontist comprises four years to obtain an undergraduate degree and then another four years at a dental school. After that, there will be another two to three years that applicants need to spend in an accredited residency program for orthodontics.
If you are interested in pursuing a career in orthodontics, below is the step-by-step procedure on how one can become a fully certified and licensed orthodontist:
- Complete a bachelor’s degree from any major as long as it has biology and chemistry
- Take and pass a Dental Admission Test and then apply for dental school
- Complete dental school and obtain your dental license
- Complete dental residency in orthodontics
- Pass the National Board Dental Examination
- Obtain a license and certificate to practice
- Pursue additional certifications and credentials
In case you’re interested in looking for similar jobs, checking out biology jobs near you.
How Much Do Orthodontists Make?
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We’ve passed the prerequisites and the tricky part in any career, so now would be the perfect time to discuss the salary of orthodontists.
As of May 2020 data, the median annual salary of the highest-earning 25% orthodontists is $208,000, while the lowest 25% are paid $139,330. It sounds like a good and rewarding amount of money, but where would be the best places to earn this much?
Boston, North Port, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and Washington are the highest-paying cities for orthodontists. Their salary ranges from $244,500 to $277,770. When it comes to the best-paying states, Washington, Massachusetts, Minnesota, South Carolina, and Iowa are in the lead. These states pay between $268,000 to $285,780. It sounds like these cities and states with a good quality of life could also financially provide you if you have your sights set on becoming an orthodontist.
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How Does The Future Of Orthodontics Look Like?
We’ve got good news for you and any aspiring orthodontists. If you’ve recently decided to choose a career in this industry, then you shouldn’t have any problems landing a job.
Since 2004, the projected job outlook for careers in orthodontics has remained primarily unchanged. It may not be as in demand as other jobs, but it hasn’t dipped. Based on data by the BLS, the demand will go up between 2% to 5% annually from 2019 to 2029. This data represents around 2,300 new orthodontics-related jobs filled by 2029.
When it comes to related jobs like dental assistants and dental hygienists, the increase is higher. It’s projected to be between 10% to 11%. While we’re at it, let’s also look at the related jobs to orthodontists.
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What Occupations Are Similar To Orthodontists?
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Many jobs are related to orthodontists like dental surgeons and endodontists. If you’re wondering how to become an endodontist, it’s almost similar to the career path of an orthodontist by pursuing an undergraduate degree and dental school. The only difference is they need to complete an endodontic specialty residency training and then be certified by the Board of American Association of Endodontists.
According to an ADA survey, endodontists can earn an annual salary of $342,950. This wage sounds like a reasonable amount since they are the ones who use advanced techniques to work on complex teeth problems, specifically the tooth pulp or the insides of the teeth.
Dental surgeons are also known as oral and maxillofacial surgeons. To become one, applicants need to earn a degree and pass the Dental Admissions Test to get into and complete dental school. After that, they will need to complete a surgical residency and apply for state licensure.
In 2019, the top-earning 25% of dental surgeons earned a median salary of $208,000, and the 25% lowest earners earned $173,470. Oral surgeons perform complicated tooth extractions, reconstructive dental surgery, tissue biopsy, and more.
Choosing a job can be difficult, so let us help you. Check out our job overview.
Smile Bright For The Future
If you’ve entirely made up your mind in pursuing a career in dentistry by this time, we fully support your decision as it is financially rewarding knowing how much orthodontists make. Besides that, you will also be helping a generation to have a better smile. We hope to see you in the top-rated dental clinics in the country like West Jordan Modern Dentistry, Mayo Clinic Dentistry, Newton Dental Group, and All Smiles Dental.
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