Pediatric Orthodontist Training (Fact Sheet)

Pediatric Orthodontist training requires a great deal of dedication along with many years of training and practice. These specialists work hard to understand all areas of orthodontics and how to apply them to the special psychology and anatomy of children. Working with the young in any area can be exciting and challenging. A successful Pediatric Orthodontist should have a natural love for children as well as an interest in oral health and orthodontic procedures.


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Where to Start

Those who have already decided on an orthodontic career as early as High School can begin to lay an educational foundation by maintaining good grades and taking applicable science classes such as biology and chemistry. Mathematics and English are also important. This is a pre-curser to pediatric orthodontist training.

Becoming an orthodontist requires 10-12 years of formal education as well as special training and residency programs. In addition, each state has special certification requirements which must be met before independent practice can begin.

All those years of training call for a huge commitment before embarking on a fulfilling career path. Although it may seem daunting, the end satisfaction of many smiling faces can make the choice worthwhile.


Formal Studies

After High School, future orthodontists begin their journey by pursuing a four-year college degree, usually a Bachelor of Science. Again, grade levels will be important when applying to Dental School. This degree requires classes such as chemistry, biology, and anatomy. Expect to be amazing at English and math.

Once undergraduate studies are complete, it’s time to apply to Dental School. A few Dental Schools do not require a college degree, but gaining entrance will be even tougher without one, and that High School grade point average will be even more important. Applicants must first pass the Dental Acceptance Test (DAT). Personal recommendations are also very important to the acceptance process.

Upon acceptance, future orthodontists will begin another four-year program which will earn a D.D.S., or Doctor of Dental Science, degree. The program includes clinical practice along with classroom studies. Some of the focus of the required courses are:

  • Oral health
  • Dental practice competency
  • Professional studies on ethics
  • Legal requirements
  • Types of Dental practices


Pediatric Orthodontist Training

At the conclusion of the above dental studies, those aspiring to enter pediatric orthodontic practice must begin a 2-3 year specialty program. Orthodontic students continue training under the direct supervision of experienced, qualified orthodontists. This training will include both observation and practice.

Classroom education will also continue throughout the residency program. An orthodontic specialist will study the anatomy of the head and neck, orthodontic theory, and corrective treatment application. Pathology, wound healing, and biomechanics will also be among the required courses, as well as TMJ therapy.

Working with children requires even more specialized training. The needs of growing, changing teeth and jaws can be unique. Special care must be taken in areas such as pain management and oral health maintenance. Some of the studies included in a Pediatric Orthodontic Programs include:

  • How to evaluate and diagnose children
  • Anatomy
  • Child development
  • Psychology
  • Radiology
  • Treatment of oral or facial injuries
  • Working with special-needs patients
  • Conscious sedation and general anesthesia

The understanding required to work with young children is foundational throughout this training. Communication with young minds and dealing with tiny mouths requires a special mindset of patience and compassion along with practical studies.


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Passing the Test

After successfully completing a graduate school curriculum, students must pass State board – National Board Dental Examinations. Some states require even more specialized licensure for orthodontics. Passing the state board exams is a critical step toward a practice in Pediatric Orthodontics.

The National Board Dental Examination is in two parts. The written part must be taken first. This exam is designed to test a student’s general knowledge in the area of dentistry. The second part includes a clinical examination. This board examination must be passed before anyone can practice in any area of dentistry.

After completing the two-year Pediatric Orthodontist training program, a board certification exam must be taken which includes practical, oral, and written phases. Then students are finally ready to begin independently practicing all they’ve learned. This may be accomplished by working with a private practice, a public clinic, or in the area of research.

For anyone in a dentistry profession, certifications are also available through the National Board of Orthodontics or the American Board of Orthodontics. Both of these boards require diplomas and experience. The American Board of Orthodontics, which is recognized by the American Dental Association, requires periodic recertification. Both boards require ongoing educational courses.


A Bright Future

Becoming certified by a board of Orthodontics is highly beneficial because of all the ongoing resources they provide. Even being in practice for many years does not stop the Pediatric Orthodontist from being a student. There is always something new to learn.

Continuous technological advances in both tools an techniques help keep interest in the profession fresh, and staying educated and informed is a lifetime goal. Online resources and long distance classes, as well manufacturer’s training sessions, are all important aspects of this profession.

Anyone with an interest in becoming a Pediatric Orthodontist should begin as early as possible to make educational and life choices that will make those aspirations a reality. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a 20 percent increase in dental careers by 2020. There is an increasing need to fill openings left by retiring practitioners and to meet the needs of ever-increasing volumes of patients.

It may be a good idea to know the requirements of any preferred dental school so preparations can be made for a smooth transition from undergraduate to graduate school. With a little planning and a lot of hard work, dedicated students can live the dream of becoming a practicing Pediatric Orthodontist.


Contact Experts Who Have Been Through The Above

Accordingly, Doctors Gorton and Schmohl are the expert founders of this busy and popular office in San Fran. They have had all the pediatric orthodontist training and more. Contact them today in any way you like to make an appointment to start a journey to a special smile.

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Gorton & Schmohl Orthodontics
900 Larkspur Landing Circle
Suite 200 Larkspur, California 94939
Phone: 415-459-8006


Pediatric Orthodontist Training (Fact Sheet)