An Orthodontic Specialist is a Dentist who specializes in moving teeth and aligning jaws. 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 student in an accredited Orthodontist Residency Program, then successfully complete between two and three academic years of study.  The Orthodontic student learns the skills required to manage tooth movement (Orthodontics) and guide facial development (Dentofacial Orthopedics).

This Education and Training Includes:

  • Introduction to Orthodontics
  • Cephalometric Analysis
  • Orthodontic Malocclusions
  • Core Biomedical Sciences
  • Advanced Biomedical Sciences
  • Biometrical Principles
  • Biomedical Growth and Developments
  • Advanced Biomedical Sciences
  • Craniofacial Anomalies
  • Orthodontic Materials
  • Research Methods
  • Advanced Research
  • Practice Management
  • Radiology
  • Diagnostic, Treatment Planning and Case Presentation
  • Clinical Orthodontics – 30 Months
  • Independent Research
  • Thesis Preparation and Presentation


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

Only Licensed Orthodontist Specialists are eligible for membership in the American Association of Orthodontics.

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.

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 needs.