Beautifully straight, even teeth make for a great smile. They also contribute to overall good health. Orthodontists have the skills—to help people both look AND feel better. Orthodontists treat abnormalities in how the upper and lower teeth fit together, called the “bite.” They study each patient’s mouth and jaw, using dental and medical histories, X-rays, and plaster models of the teeth. After diagnosing a problem, the orthodontist creates appliances such as braces or retainers to help straighten the teeth. This profession requires excellent hand coordination— and good vision, as the “work space” can be as small as a child’s tooth. A friendly, reassuring “bedside manner” is helpful for treating patients who find orthodontist visits stressful. Many orthodontists work for themselves in their own practice, or in a group practice with other dental professionals. It can be a physically challenging job; during an average work day, orthodontists often spend several hours standing and bending. These are highly trained medical professionals– with four years of college, four years of dental school, and two to three years of post-graduate orthodontics training, followed by certification and licensing exams. After all that training, we have orthodontists to thank for providing millions of happy, healthy smiles!
What they do:
Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.
On the job, you would:
Study diagnostic records, such as medical or dental histories, plaster models of the teeth, photos of a patient's face and teeth, and X-rays, to develop patient treatment plans.
Adjust dental appliances to produce and maintain normal function.
Fit dental appliances in patients' mouths to alter the position and relationship of teeth and jaws or to realign teeth.
medicine and dentistry
accounting and economics
Math and Science
Arts and Humanities
listening to others, not interrupting, and asking good questions
talking to others
noticing a problem and figuring out the best way to solve it
understanding people's reactions
changing what is done based on other people's actions
communicate by speaking
listen and understand what people say
Hand and Finger Use
keep your arm or hand steady
put together small parts with your fingers
Ideas and Logic
notice when problems happen
make general rules or come up with answers from lots of detailed information
pay attention to something without being distracted
People interested in this work like activities that include ideas, thinking, and figuring things out.