top of page

Choosing an Orthodontist

There are many factors to consider when choosing an orthodontist.  First, one must consider the difference between a dentist and an orthodontist.  To be called an orthodontist, one must first complete dental school.  Upon completion of dental school, the dentist must apply and be accepted into a very competitive, full-time residency program lasting between 2-3 years.  It is during this time that a dentist is formally trained in the speciality of orthodontics.  


Orthodontic treatment is very unique in the sense that it is an ongoing procedure lasting 2 or more years.  This is much different than nearly all other dental or medical procedures, which are typically started and completed in one or two appointments.  In addition, understanding growth and development is a critical component to proper diagnosis and treatment planning.  

A practicing orthodontist must limit his or her practice only to the speciality of orthodontics.  This can be confusing since an orthodontist has formal training to provide all general dental procedures.  This is an important distinction allowing the orthodontist to focus purely on the speciality of orthodontics.

The highest level of training and expertise an orthodontist can obtain is to become board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics.  This distinction can only be obtained by orthodontists who have passed an intensive, multi-step board exam consisting of a written exam, an oral exam, and a clinical exam, requiring the presentation of completed orthodontic cases.  

columbia tn orthodontist, spring hill tn orthodontist, lawrenceburg tn orthodontist
Image courtesy of the American Association of Orthodontists 
bottom of page