Becoming an Orthodontist: What You Need to Know

Every mouth and every bite is unique, and achieving a straight, healthy smile can require the expertise of an orthodontist, who helps people align their teeth and jaws correctly. This specialist is a qualified dentist who has completed advanced training in corrective appliances (such as braces) and teeth and jaw alignment, says the American Association of Orthodontics (AAO). Here's what you need to know about becoming an orthodontist, including the training and certifications required, the position and salary, and any associated fees. An orthodontist can become certified by the American Board of. The payment of the annual fee is required to maintain Board-certified status.

The Council on Education and Licensing in Dentistry (CDEL) requires that all certification boards for recognized specialties remain financially independent. Therefore, certified orthodontists need to pay an annual fee to fund actions that support the mission of the ABO and raise the quality of orthodontic care for the public by promoting excellence through certification, education and professional collaboration. Becoming an orthodontist requires 2 to 3 more years of education before obtaining a certification in orthodontic care. In addition, all orthodontists can now go through the certification process regardless of their practice environment and where they are in their career. The renewal of the certification provides an opportunity for board-certified orthodontists to continue training, to stay up to date on the latest technologies, and to reevaluate their approach and critical case evaluation.

All board-certified orthodontists must renew their certification every 10 years, unless they have a lifetime certification. Examinees in the certification process who have 3 or more cases “on file” have two options to complete the certification process by the board.


, renewing the certification is a fundamental component of the certification process, demonstrating an ongoing mastery of orthodontics and a commitment to lifelong learning. The recertification process can begin no more than 36 months before the expiration date printed on the board-certified orthodontist certificate. Board-certified orthodontists who complete the certification renewal will receive an updated certificate, an ABO educational tool kit, and sample materials. While the path to becoming an orthodontist is challenging, competitive, and expensive, orthodontists enjoy high salaries, an excellent work-life balance, and a friendly and sociable teamwork environment.

Alexa Bouchard
Alexa Bouchard

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