Orthodontics is a specialised branch of dentistry concerned with the growing jaw, teeth and face. Orthodontists treat their patients, mostly children and teenagers, by straightening irregular teeth and other problems associated with the developing jaws, usually by fitting either fixed or removable braces to teeth.
You could be:
examining the patient’s mouth and teeth, taking photographs or x-rays
taking impressions of the teeth using a specially mixed mould
deciding whether to fit fixed braces, removable braces, or a combination of the two
if necessary, extracting teeth or carrying out other jaw surgery
if necessary, injecting the gums with a local anaesthetic
telling the patient how to care for the teeth and the braces
checking up regularly on progress and making any necessary adjustments
if self-employed, running the business and doing accounts.
For a qualified orthodontist, the salary can begin at around £45,000 a year. Experienced NHS consultants can earn up to £100,000 a year or more. In a private practice the income will depend on the number of patients and the hours worked.
You might work in a hospital, a specialist practice, or in a community dental service clinic.
In a practice, hours are normal but there may be out of hours on call duty.
You would wear a white coat or other protective clothing.
able to communicate with children and young people
accurate and willing to pay attention to detail
a logical and analytical thinker
confident in making decisions based on specialist knowledge.
The orthodontic training programme takes three years, involving both academic study at university and clinical training in a hospital setting.
You would then sit the Membership in Orthodontics examination (MOrth) to become a specialist in orthodontics.
Throughout your career you must keep your skills and knowledge up to date through Continuous Professional Development (CPD).
You could run your own business by running a specialised practice.
You could take a specialist post in a community hospitals service.
With further training and qualifications you could go on to become a hospital consultant.
You could teach orthodontics at a university.
The University of Dundee offers a unique three day Dental Insight programme running every June. To be eligible for a place you must be an S5 secondary school pupil studying in Scotland, and be on track to achieve the minimum entrance requirements to study dentistry at the University of Dundee.
Dental students in Scotland can apply for the Dental Student Support Grant (DSSG). This provides £4,000 each year for those whose annual household income is less than £34,000 a year. They must commit to working in NHS Dentistry in Scotland after graduation. Full information is available on the www.mygov.scot website.