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Career profile: Orthodontist

Career profile: OrthodontistGet the lowdown on what the job involves, what qualifications you need and how long it takes to train.

A what?

Orthodontics is the branch of dentistry that concentrates on the growth of the teeth, jaw and face. Orthodontists reposition teeth to improve appearances and help people to eat properly.

On the job

Orthodontists have to examine their patients’ mouths and may need to take teeth impressions and x-rays to decide on the best course of treatment. They will then either fit braces or remove teeth to help realign the mouth. Sometimes, jaw surgery maybe required.

Many orthodontist are self-employed or work within private dental practices. There are also openings in hospitals and the community dental services.

Course entry requirements

Orthodontists are qualified dentists. So, you will need a dentistry degree to qualify. To get in to study dentistry at higher education you will need a wide range of GCSEs plus three A-levels, grades A-B. Chemistry and biology are usually preferred. (Some dental schools offer a 'pre-dental' year for suitable candidates lacking the relevant science subjects).

Always check entry requirements with the institution of your choice as entry levels may vary.

What does the training involve?

Becoming a dentist involves undergraduate dental education of at least five years study at dental school, followed by one or two years of postgraduate dental education or vocational training.

While you are working as a dentist you can then take a Diploma of Member of the Faculty of Dental Surgery (MFDS). This takes two years to complete. After this you would then have to apply for the orthodontic training scheme which takes another three years of full-time studying.

Related links

(Information taken from NHS Careers)