If you want to be an orthodontist like Doc Ak, that’s great! It requires a passion for helping patients and a few extra years of school, but if you believe in yourself, you can do it. Here’s how to make it happen:
Step 1: Complete Undergraduate Requirements and Apply to Dental School
Graduate with an undergraduate degree, preferably after majoring in biology or chemistry. Many schools offer a pre-dental track that will help you take the classes you need. Make sure you take classes like chemistry, biology, physics, anatomy, and other science courses.
When you apply to dental school, you’ll be required to take the Dental Admission Test (DAT), which is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA).
Step 2: Graduate from Dental School
Dental programs last four years, and after graduation you’ll have a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree.
During that program, your first two years will require basic science courses. Then, you’ll gain clinical experience under licenses dentists. At this point you’ll have access to different dental specialties, such as orthodontics, periodontics, pediatric dentistry, prosthodontics and maxillofacial surgery.
Step 3: Complete a Postgraduate Orthodontics Program
If you want to be an orthodontist, you’ll need to attend a orthodontic specialty program after dental school. This typically lasts for three years. During this program, you’ll learn about orthodontics (tooth movement), surgical orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics (guidance of facial development).
Step 4: Become Licensed
And start your practice. Congrats, you made it!