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What is the worst part of becoming a orthodontist?

Hey I’m a middle school student in Arizona I’m interested in becoming an orthodontist. I was wanting to know what it was like on day a day basis being an orthodontist? What are the challenges you have faced in the career?

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Steven’s Answer

I am a general dentist, not an orthodontist. So my answer is from the perspective of knowing orthodontist and working with them in an ongoing basis to get the best treatment for my patients.
What the WORST part of being an orthodontist is--this depends very much on your temperament. It is a long time to be in school--usually 4 years in college, 4 years in dental school, and at least 2 years in a specialty training program. Many schools are very expensive, so students graduate with a great deal of debt. And then if you want to start your own practice from scratch, it's another big expense. So it is financially very taxing to get started.
Of course not all orthodontists are employed full-time in their own practices. Some teach; others are employed in practices owned by other dentists; some are in the armed forces or other government agencies.
For many orthodontists, the biggest hurdle is not knowing your field, but (if you are in your own practice) knowing how and wanting to run your practice, which generally is a small business. While there are ways to learn how to do this, it is given short shrift in dental school. If you are in practice for yourself or in partnership with others, you will have to know how to hire (and unfortunately fire) and manage your staff. Many dentists will tell you one of the most frustrating parts of practice is dealing with insurance companies.
It can be daunting, but if you're in middle school you have plenty of time to find out if it's just the IDEA that appeals to you, or if it really IS for you. One way of doing this is to find a part-time job when you're able (summer, evenings, holidays) in an orthodontist's office, or even find one who will let you shadow him/her so you see first-hand what practice is about. Remember that different orthodontists will manage their offices very differently.
Keep your eyes and ears open--it's great that you're thinking far ahead, but not everyone does--I myself didn't seriously consider dentistry until my junior year of college!
Good luck!
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