All Orthodontists are Dentists, but only 6% of Dentists in the United States are Orthodontists.

An Orthodontist is a Certified Dental Specialist who has successfully completed the following: Education, Training, and Licensing.

Education and Training

There are three steps in an orthodontist’s education: college, dental school, and orthodontic residency program. It can take 10 or more years of education after high school to become an orthodontist. After completing college requirements, the prospective orthodontist attends dental school. Upon graduation, the future orthodontist must be accepted as a resident in an accredited orthodontic residency program, then successfully complete a minimum of two academic years of study. The orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (orthodontics) and guide facial development (dentofacial orthopedics).


An Orthodontist candidate must successfully pass State Board Examinations to become a Licensed Orthodontist.

Orthodontist Title

Only those who have successfully completed this formal Education and Licensing may call themselves “Orthodontists”.
Orthodontists limit their scope of work to Orthodontics only.
Only Orthodontists are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontics.

American Association of Orthodontists Logo

Qualifications and Expertise

Orthodontists are uniquely qualified in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of orthodontic problems. They dedicate their professional lives to creating healthy, beautiful smiles in children, teens, and adults. Well-aligned teeth are more than attractive: they make it possible to bite, chew and speak effectively. Orthodontic care is often part of a comprehensive oral health plan.

Orthodontists use a variety of “appliances”, including braces, clear aligner trays, and retainers, to move teeth or hold them in their new positions. Because of orthodontists’ advanced education and clinical experience, they have the knowledge and skills necessary to recommend the best kind of appliance to meet every individual patient’s treatment goals.