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What is a day in a life of an orthodontist or an assistant like?

I was born in Georgia. I got to Cane Bay High school. When I grow up, I want to become something like an orthodontist. I want to learn about their life and understand what they have to do. #college-major #college #orthodontist #ortho #orthodontics #dentistry

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Lori’s Answer

According to the Outlook Occupational Handbook, orthodontists have varied schedules, based on meeting the needs of their patients. About 74% work in a dental practice with 16% self-employed (owning their own practice). Some work for the government (military hospitals). The U.S. national average salary is $208,000. You can learn more about orthodontists, a specialty dental career, by going to the link below and reading the book--the forward states that you will learn what they do everyday! Although tasks between orthodontists are different from dentists, how they work with patients and run their practice can be quite similar.

We live in an area where several orthodontic practices compete. One even offers transportation from and to school for local middle school and high school students! Parents set up the appointments, provide permission for pick-up, and the orthodontic van pulls up to the school and delivers them to the orthodontist's office for their routine visit. They are returned to school afterwards. However, like with any business, the practice must be able to cover the cost of this type of service. This one example shows how an orthodontist was creative---he saw a need and provided a solution which attracts working parents.

Anyone who owns their own practice has more flexibility over the conditions and hours they will work. There will be orthodontic emergencies as well! And because insurance is an integral part of payment, one must have some understanding of basic accounting, marketing, and business practices to attract and retain highly-qualified support staff, so a minor in business while preparing to be a practitioner would be optimal.

Never under estimate the value of asking orthodontists about their profession and their journey. You will get a well-rounded perspective.

Lori recommends the following next steps:

Outlook Occupational Handbook: https://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/dentists.htm
Check out the paperback: "So You Want to Be a Dentist?: What You Must Know if You Want to Succeed in Dentistry" by Marcus Neff D.D.S.
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Cindy’s Answer

Hi Dalton,

There are many jobs outside of being an orthodontist or a dental assistant in the field of dentistry. You can also be a lab technician, dental hygienist, and dentist.

A lab technician primarily works in creating different items that are needed for treatment such as crowns, dentures, and any models of teeth that may be needed.

A dental assistant helps the dentist perform any four-handed procedures along with sterilizing materials in the practice. Depending on the state you can become an assistant through on-the-job training or receive formal training (which can vary but is typically within 2 years).

A dental hygienist is a preventative care specialist - that is, we do our best to help prevent any problems from arising on your teeth by providing cleanings, fluoride treatment, and assessments to check on your oral health and see if there is anything of concern for a dentist to consider. Dental hygiene school can vary from 2 to 4 years depending on the program that you wish to pursue. There are associates in dental hygiene and also bachelor's programs as well but typically you will need to be in person for the classwork as it is clinically focused.

A dentist helps resolve issues that you may be facing by providing fillings, crowns, Invisalign - you name it! Becoming a dentist requires a bachelor's degree (in anything, it doesn't have to be science-related but you will need to have all of the pre-requisites completed to apply to dental school) and 4 years of dental school. Before you can practice as a dentist, you may need to complete a residency depending on the state. You can also specialize for an additional 2-3 years of schooling (which is what you would need to do to become an orthodontist).

Orthodontists are a specific specialty in the field of dentistry. Typically, they help provide patients with straightening their teeth and aligning them so that the teeth are not only more aesthetically pleasing but also help maintain oral hygiene better as well.

If you want to learn more about the field of dentistry, the best way to go about it is by shadowing an orthodontist and asking if you can see what they do in a day. You can also ask to shadow a dental assistant at a general dentist's practice to learn more about which job may be the one for you as well.

I hope this answers your question!
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