5 answers

What are some of the best things to major in if you want to become an orthodontist?

Asked Houston, Texas

5 answers

Dr. Joseph’s Answer

Updated Rancho Cucamonga, California

To become an orthodontist you first have to become a dentist. You can major in literally anything and apply to dental school (and some dental school's don't even require a bachelor's degree) but every dental school will require you to take the Dental Admission Test or DAT. The DAT has 6 sections (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, reading comprehension, math, and perceptual ability). Being a biology, biochemistry, or chemistry major would definitely help when it comes time to study for the exam and a good understanding of the basic sciences will definitely help throughout dental school and with any research you may do while in dental school (doing research in dental school is recommended since it will help your application stand out when applying to an orthodontics residency).

Wish you the best of luck!

Fawaz’s Answer


Always foresee a smile before the start of the treatment.

Ken’s Answer

Updated Cleveland, Ohio

The most important things to do in preparation for becoming an orthodontist are

  • getting to know yourself to have clarity that your personality traits will match those of successful orthodontists
  • getting to know orthodontists so that you can see what they do, learn how they become orthodontists, and feel what it is like to be an orthodontist

Getting to know yourself and how your personality traits relate to people involved in various career opportunities is very important in your decision making process. During my many years in Human Resources and College Recruiting, I ran across too many students who had skipped this very important step and ended up in a job situation which for which they were not well suited. Selecting a career area is like buying a pair of shoes. First you have to be properly fitted for the correct size, and then you need to try on and walk in the various shoe options to determine which is fits the best and is most comfortable for you to wear. Following are some important steps which I developed during my career which have been helpful to many .

Ken recommends the following next steps:

  • The first step is to take an interest and aptitude test and have it interpreted by your school counselor to see if you share the personality traits necessary to enter the field. You might want to do this again upon entry into college, as the interpretation might differ slightly due to the course offering of the school. However, do not wait until entering college, as the information from the test will help to determine the courses that you take in high school. Too many students, due to poor planning, end up paying for courses in college which they could have taken for free in high school.
  • Next, when you have the results of the testing, talk to the person at your high school and college who tracks and works with graduates to arrange to talk to, visit, and possibly shadow people doing what you think that you might want to do, so that you can get know what they are doing and how they got there. Here are some tips: ## http://www.wikihow.com/Network ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/nonawkward-ways-to-start-and-end-networking-conversations ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/4-questions-to-ask-your-network-besides-can-you-get-me-a-job?ref=carousel-slide-1 ##
  • Locate and attend meetings of professional associations to which people who are doing what you think that you want to do belong, so that you can get their advice. These associations may offer or know of intern, coop, shadowing, and scholarship opportunities. These associations are the means whereby the professionals keep abreast of their career area following college and advance in their career. You can locate them by asking your school academic advisor, favorite teachers, and the reference librarian at your local library. Here are some tips: ## https://www.careeronestop.org/BusinessCenter/Toolkit/find-professional-associations.aspx?&frd=true ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/9-tips-for-navigating-your-first-networking-event ##
  • It is very important to express your appreciation to those who help you along the way to be able to continue to receive helpful information and to create important networking contacts along the way. Here are some good tips: ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/the-informational-interview-thank-you-note-smart-people-know-to-send?ref=recently-published-2 ## ## https://www.themuse.com/advice/3-tips-for-writing-a-thank-you-note-thatll-make-you-look-like-the-best-candidate-alive?bsft_eid=7e230cba-a92f-4ec7-8ca3-2f50c8fc9c3c&bsft_pid=d08b95c2-bc8f-4eae-8618-d0826841a284&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=daily_20171020&utm_source=blueshift&utm_content=daily_20171020&bsft_clkid=edfe52ae-9e40-4d90-8e6a-e0bb76116570&bsft_uid=54658fa1-0090-41fd-b88c-20a86c513a6c&bsft_mid=214115cb-cca2-4aec-aa86-92a31d371185&bsft_pp=2 ##
  • Here is a site that might help you to understand more about becoming and being an orthodontist: ## https://www.bls.gov/oes/2015/may/oes291023.htm ##

Robert’s Answer


In order to become an orthodontist, you must first go to Dental School, and you can major in what ever you'd like to apply for dental school. The important thing is you will have to take certain required science classes as perquisites including Biology, General Chemistry, Organic Chemistry, etc.


I personally majored in Biology, and a lot of my dental school classmates also majored in science fields because that way you knock out the requirements for your major along with the dental prerequisite courses. In addition to taking these science courses, you will also need to make sure you keep a high overall GPA, AND a high GPA specifically in those science courses because dental schools will look at your overall GPA as well as your "Science GPA".

After college, and in dental school is where your journey to become an orthodontist will more or less begin, because to become an orthodontist you'll have to apply for specialty residency as you leave dental school.

Robert recommends the following next steps:

  • View the link for applying to dental school from the ADA, look at the requirements and think about what subjects interest you and that you'd enjoy studying in college. If it's a science field it may overlap with the required courses. If not, make sure maintaining a schedule with classes in your desired major will allow you enough time to invest into those science classes so that you can perform well in them.

Hárina’s Answer


To become an orthodontist you have to study hard, be a logical and a criative person.

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