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What Does it Take to Be an Orthodontist?

Orthodontist Job Description Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.

Life As an Orthodontist

  • Diagnose teeth and jaw or other dental-facial abnormalities.
  • Coordinate orthodontic services with other dental and medical services.
  • Provide patients with proposed treatment plans and cost estimates.
  • Examine patients to assess abnormalities of jaw development, tooth position, and other dental-facial structures.
  • Adjust dental appliances to produce and maintain normal function.
  • Instruct dental officers and technical assistants in orthodontic procedures and techniques.

Orthodontist Needed Skills

When polled, Orthodontists say the following skills are most frequently used in their jobs:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Other Orthodontist Job Titles

  • Board Certified Orthodontist
  • Orthodontist, Vice President
  • Specialist in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
  • Orthodontist, Small Business Owner
  • Pediatric Orthodontist

Job Opportunities for Orthodontists

In the United States, there were 6,600 jobs for Orthodontist in 2016. New jobs are being produced at a rate of 18.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,200 new jobs for Orthodontist by 2026. There will be an estimated 300 positions for Orthodontist per year.


The states with the most job growth for Orthodontist are Arizona, Maryland, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Maine, or Idaho. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Salary for an Orthodontist

The salary for Orthodontists ranges between about $72,780 and $208,000 a year.


Orthodontists who work in Arkansas, Colorado, or Indiana, make the highest salaries.

How much do Orthodontists make in different U.S. states?

State Annual Mean Salary
Arkansas $208,000
California $197,390
Colorado $230,400
Connecticut $211,240
Florida $204,750
Idaho $202,030
Illinois $199,050
Indiana $232,900
Iowa $267,870
Kentucky $139,450
Louisiana $129,830
Maryland $199,210
Massachusetts $282,740
Michigan $217,730
Montana $187,130
Nebraska $208,000
New Hampshire $208,000
New Jersey $274,400
New Mexico $193,750
New York $250,890
North Carolina $276,550
Ohio $228,420
Oklahoma $261,650
Oregon $208,000
Pennsylvania $258,940
South Carolina $279,610
Tennessee $219,860
Texas $188,190
Utah $113,710
Virginia $208,000
Washington $208,000
Wisconsin $209,880

Tools & Technologies Used by Orthodontists

Below is a list of the types of tools and technologies that Orthodontists may use on a daily basis:

  • Web browser software
  • Dolphin Imaging & Management Solutions Dolphin Management

How do I Become an Orthodontist?

What kind of Orthodontist requirements are there?


How Long Does it Take to Become an Orthodontist?


Who Employs Orthodontists?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.



Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Amy Perry via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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