Orthodontist Salary

Orthodontist SalaryEveryone is familiar with dentists and plenty of people fear visiting them, but then what do orthodontists do?  Orthodontists fall under the broader category of dentist.  This profession is considered a specialization within dental services.  Want to know how much Orthodontists make?  We will go over Orthodontist Salary in this article.

Orthodontist Salary

What is the salary of an Orthodontist?  Currently, the annual average salary for Orthodontists is $201,030 and monthly average salary is $16752.  The top 10% of individuals in the occupation are earning around $187,199 while the starting wage can be as low as $78,960.  Top paying states are Tennessee, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Minnesota and New Hampshire.

Salary can vary based on the region or state that one works in as well as the industry they are employed in.  The highest levels of employment for orthodontists are dentists’ offices, offices of other health practitioners, and offices of physicians.  As orthodontists and other dental professionals pay a lot of money and spend a lot of time on their education the average annual salary will help make up for those costs that were incurred as they furthered their education.

Orthodontist Job Description

This was the first specialty created in the dentistry field.  They often obtain patients through referrals from dentists.  Orthodontists have a number of responsibilities that include diagnosing and treating problems with patient’s oral health.  They focus mainly on straightening teeth or other issues with improper bites or disproportionate jaw relationships.  Orthodontic treatment can vary greatly depending on a patient’s particular needs.  They often handle dental displacements; however, they can deal with control and modification of facial growth.

Their main responsibilities include diagnosing and treating patients for their particular bite issues. Orthodontists must be able to recognize various characteristics of malocclusion or dentofacial deformity.  They are also required to define the severity of problems and then design treatment plans based on the needs of the patient.

In addition to diagnosing and treating patients orthodontists must have a variety of other qualities that help them in the work place.  They must have excellent communication skills as they need to communicate important information to orthodontic assistants, receptionists, dentists, and patients.  They also have to be detail oriented so that patients receive correct treatments and medication.  Additionally, they must be dexterous as they work in a small space with tools.  Orthodontists also need to be organized and have good leadership skills in order to run their offices.  Patience is also a key skill to have as they work with patients who need special attention such as children.  Lastly, physical stamina is also important because they spend much of their day bending over patients.

Work Environment

Most work in an office environment whether it be in their own practice or in a group.  They are required to wear masks, gloves, and safety glasses to protect themselves and their patients from infectious diseases.  Orthodontists usually work full time.  Unlike dentists who sometimes have to work evening or weekend hours orthodontists have normal business hours and are unlikely to be called into the office for an emergency procedure.

The number of hours worked per week can vary greatly depending on the orthodontist and on how many days a week they choose to work.  However the average hours worked by most in the profession are 30-40 hours per week.  It is common for many to continue working part time well beyond retirement age.

How to become an Orthodontist

Most dental students have at least a bachelor’s degree.  As a pre-dental student one should make sure that they complete coursework in science and many applicants major in biology or chemistry.  In some special instances applicants may be accepted to dental school after two or three years and complete their bachelor’s degree while attending dental school.

Dental schools are very selective and admissions requirements include an acceptable score on the Dental Admission Test (DAT), a high grade point average, and recommendations.  Once admitted students complete the program in four years after which they receive an additional three years of orthodontic training.  Usually a clinical practice or internship is included where the applicant learns to realign teeth and work with specialized procedures of orthodontic dentistry.

There are 63 programs that are accredited with the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) and all are competitive because there are a limited number of spots available per year.  The cost of dental school is around $48,825 per year, but it can differ depending on the program and what school you attend.

All orthodontists will have to be certified with their state.  This occurs typically through a state written and practical exam.  In many states in order to maintain their required certification they will have to complete continuing education credits on a regular basis.  Additionally, it is a requirement to become board certified with The American Board of Orthodontics or the National Board of Orthodontics.

Career Outlook

By 2022 employment opportunities for Orthodontists is projected to grow at 16%.  As the baby boomers age and people live longer there will be a higher need for complicated dental work.  Orthodontists will see an increase in public demand for their services as studies continue to link oral health to overall health.

Whether patients seek oral health services depends largely on insurance coverage.  Because of recent federal health insurance reform legislation the number of individuals who have access to health insurance is increasing therefore increasing their ability to seek dental care.  However, employment of dental professionals is not expected to keep pace with the increased demand for dental services.  As many dentists are set to retire in the next decade there are fewer and fewer professionals to replace them.  The high cost of dental school is a factor that prevents many prospective individuals from entering the profession.

Related Careers

Dental Assistants have many tasks from providing patient care to recordkeeping and scheduling appointments.  Their duties vary by state and by the dentists’ offices where they work.  Almost all work full time in dentists’ offices.  There are no formal education requirements for becoming a dental assistant and requirements can vary based on the state.  The average annual wage for a dental assistant is $34,500.

Dental Hygienists are responsible for cleaning teeth, examining patients, and providing other preventative dental care.  They also educate patients on ways to improve/maintain good oral health.  They tend to work in dentists’ offices.  More than half work part time.  Dental hygienists need at least an associate’s degree.  All states require them to be licensed though requirements can vary by state.  Average annual wage is $70,210.

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