Orthodontist job sheet

A true guide to the child's development, particularly in mastication, phonation, breathing and swallowing, the orthodontist plays an essential role in the oral health sector. As a specialist, he focuses on the correction of malocclusions and dental anomalies, making an invaluable contribution to his patient's well-being and self-confidence.

What is an orthodontist?

A orthodontistis a dentistspecialized in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dental anomalies and facial deformities. He uses a variety of appliances and techniques to align teeth and jaws, improving oral aesthetics and function.

An orthodontist is a dental health professional who specializes in orthodontics and also acts as a preventive dentist. The dental specialist's main mission is to correct tooth and jaw misalignments.

Differences between orthodontists and dentists

There are several points that differentiate an orthodontist from a dentist. While all orthodontists are dentists, not all dentists are orthodontists. A dentist is concerned with overall dental health, while an orthodontist specializes in treating dental and jaw alignment anomalies after training in dentistry.

While dentists and orthodontists share a common foundation in dental training, their areas of specialization differ. Dentists are primarily concerned with the general dental health of their patients, preventive care, diagnosis and treatment of common dental problems. The orthodontic specialist, on the other hand, focuses exclusively on the correction of alignment and malocclusion problems, requiring no additional specialized training.

Training and career paths to become an orthodontist

For future health professionals, one question arises: how do I become an orthodontist?To become an orthodontistand hope for a career in the field, it's essential to consider orthodontic studiesbeforehand. Indeed, to take up a job as an orthodontistin France, you must first obtain a diploma in dentistry, followed by specialized training in orthodontics, lasting around 3 to 4 years. This training includes theoretical and clinical courses, as well as practical internships.

The practical work and clinical internships carried out during the preparatory curriculum offer expertise in the diagnosis, prevention and correction of dental and facial anomalies.

&Education and degree requirements

Really, how many years of study do you need to become an orthodontist?After graduating with a diploma in dental surgery, the future orthodontist must complete an orthodontic specialization program, leading directly to the envisaged specialist diploma. Biology dental, dental mécanics, alignment techniques… This learning curriculum covers broad competencies and includes numerous clinical practice placements. 

Spéciations in orthodontics

Orthodontics offers several sub-spécialisations and, therefore, différents career choices for the orthodontic spécialiste

  • Pédiatric orthodontics : orthodontists can specialize in specific areas, such as the pédiatric orthodontic sector, which deals specifically with children and adolescents 
  • Adult orthodontics can also be the object of specialization, taking into account the particularities of mature dental structures
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  • Orthodontics spécialisées : there are even advanced techniques such as lingual orthodontics (a special technique designed to make treatment invisible) or invisible orthodontics (invisible splinting), which future orthodontists may be interested in
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  • Aesthetic orthodontics: this specialty, which includes the use of discreet or invisible appliances, is a growing area of specialization
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Rôles and responsibilities of the orthodontist

Orthodontists évaluate patients' needs, conçoivent and implement treatment plans. They also monitor progress and adjust their patients' orthodontic appliances. They also work closely with other health professionals to provide comprehensive care.

In short, the orthodontist evaluates the patient's dental structure, diagnoses malocclusions and alignment problems. This enables him/her to develop personalized treatment plans. The orthodontist also supervises the application of various orthodontic appliances, and regularly adjusts and monitors treatment progress. In addition, the orthodontist plays an important educational role, advising patients on best practices for maintaining optimal oral health during and after orthodontic treatment.

treatment of malocclusions and dental anomalies

Orthodontists treat tooth and jaw misalignments with fixed or removable appliances, such as braces, clear aligners or retainers.

These appliances apply controlled pressure to teeth and jawbones, gradually guiding them into their optimal position. The orthodontist adjusts these appliances regularly to ensure effective treatment and patient comfort.

Modern approaches and techniques in orthodontics

The profession of orthodontics has evolved with the incorporation of advanced technologies, such as 3D imaging, robotics, and transparent aligners, which offer more precise and comfortable treatments.

3D imaging technology currently plays an essential role, enabling precise planning and follow-up of different treatments. In addition, accelerated treatment techniques, such as micro-impulse stimulation, reduce the time needed to obtain results.

The working environment and daily practice of an orthodontist

Orthodontists work mainly in private practice, but may also work in hospitals, specialized clinics or in academic research. The working environment of an orthodontistvaries according to the setting in which he or she practices. 

In free practice, the orthodontist manages his or her schedule, patients and team. In the hospital sector, the dental specialist often works on more complex cases in collaboration with other specialists.

Daily practice involves consultations, treatment plan design, orthodontic appliance fitting and regular patient follow-up.

Private practice vs. hospital practice

In private practice, the orthodontist benefits from greater autonomy and the opportunity to develop his or her patient's skills. Working in the hospital sector offers orthodontists the opportunity to treat more complex cases and participate in research. The choice between these two environments depends on personal preferences and the carriage objectives of the orthodontist.

Tools and technologies used in orthodontics

Orthodontists use a variety of tools and technologies, such as treatment planning software, intra-oral scanners, 3D printers for making custom aligners and digital radiography equipment. These technologies increase the accuracy of diagnosis and treatment.

Key skills and qualities required of an orthodontist

The key competencies required of an orthodontist include technical precision, good vision, excellent planning skills and well-developed communication skills. 

Qualities such as empathy and patience are also essential to the orthodontistleading a team and interacting effectively with patients.

Specific technical skills

In addition to general dentistry skills, an orthodontist must master techniques specific to orthodontics, such as precise appliance placement, dental movement planning and the use of advanced technologies.

Interpersonal qualities and patient management

Empathy, patience and the ability to reassure are crucial to establishing a trusting relationship with patients, who are often anxious or fearful. The ability to explain procedures and treatments clearly is also essential to a good relationship between practitioner and patient.

Career opportunities and prospects for an orthodontist

The field of dentistry offers vast opportunities, from private practice to research and teaching. The field of opportunities for orthodontists is vast. He or she can move into management positions, specialize in certain techniques, or even engage in teaching and research.

Professional development and specializations

Professional growth may include taking on management positions, specializing in certain techniques, or contributing to research and development in the orthodontic sector

Débouchés and market demand

Demand for orthodontic servicesremains high in France, offering job stability and good career prospects. Increasing awareness of the importance of oral health is contributing to this growing demand.

Salary of an orthodontist

Salary can obviously vary depending on experience, region, and type of practice. However, experienced orthodontists can expect to earn between 4,000 and 9,000 euros, especially in private practice. In general, orthodontists enjoy significant growth potential over the course of their careers.

Salary grid and influencing factors

The salary grid differs according to factors such as experience, specialization, geographic region and patient type. Orthodontists at the beginning of their careers generally have lower salaries, which increase with experience and the establishment of a loyal patient base. 

Comparison of salaries by region and experience

Salaries vary considerably between urban and rural areas, as well as according tothe orthodontic specialist's (between new graduates and experienced orthodontists). Densely populated regions tend to offer higher salaries due to greater demand for orthodontics.

Thus, in France, orthodontists' incomes can vary significantly from one region to another, influenced by factors such as population density, standard of living, competition and demand for orthodontic services. 

Regions where orthodontists benefit from higher salaries: 

- Île-de-France : This region, particularly Paris, often offers the highest salaries due to high demand, a high standard of living and a high concentration of population.

- Southeastern regions : Regions such as Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur (PACA) or Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes - home to cities like Marseille, Lyon, or Nice - are éare also renowned for offering good incomes, thanks to population density and a certain economic affluence.

Regions where orthodontists earn the least:

- Rural and remote areas : Less populated areas such as parts of Centre-Val de Loire, Bourgogne-Franche-Comté or Nouvelle-Aquitaine may present more limited revenue opportunities for orthodontists, due to lower demand and lower population densities.

- Some northern and western regions : Regions such as Hauts-de-France or Brittany could offer relatively lower salaries compared to Icircle-de-France or the South-East, partly due to a generally lower cost of living and lower urban density.