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What is an Orthodontic Specialist?

What is an Orthodontic Specialist?

Many know that if you have to get your teeth straightened you need to see an orthodontist. However, there is much more to being an orthodontist than straightening teeth, here our Langley orthodontists, share what it means to be an orthodontic specialist. 

What is Orthodontics?

Orthodontics which can also be known as orthodontia is a  specialty field beneath the dentistry umbrella. The primary focus of orthodontics is to treat teeth and jaw irregularities, specifically alignment and occlusion, it typically consists of applying braces for treatments.

This means an orthodontist is a specialist in the field of orthodontics.

What is the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist?

Usually, orthodontists and dentists work as a team to help you achieve your best possible oral health. But, when it comes to a few of the conditions mentioned above, you will need to make an appointment with your orthodontist so they can give you the specific treatments you require.

Similar to how you would see a heart surgeon for heart surgery rather than your family doctor, you’ll go to an orthodontist if you require treatment for teeth and jaw alignment problems, rather than your dentist.

How is a dentist's training different from an orthodontist's?

To be an orthodontic specialist in Canada, you will first become a dentist! Becoming a certified specialist in orthodontics usually takes approximately 12 years of formal university education from start to finish. It’s a long process!

An orthodontist’s university career starts with a four-year bachelor’s degree, generally a Bachelor of Science degree. Then, the student goes to dental school, which is usually 4 years long.

After these 8 years of university, the student will officially be a general dentist! For many,  this is when their career as a general dentist begins. However, others can opt to pursue a dental specialty, including orthodontics.

To specialize in orthodontics, the dentist will have to finish another 3-year Master of Science Degree and residency program. In addition to this, many schools require students to complete a further 1-2 years of formal training as a general dentist before starting a specialty residency, such as a hospital residency.

After graduation from the orthodontic specialty residency program, the graduate will then need to pass the national dental specialty board certification exam, which is governed by the Royal College of Dentists of Canada. If they pass, they will officially be a certified orthodontic specialist.

To learn more about what it means to be an orthodontist or to get more information on how our orthodontic team can help straighten your smile contact our Langley Orthodontists today.

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