14 Pros and Cons of Being an Orthodontist

Nothing is quite as beautiful as a healthy smile.

Can you guess who is responsible for fixing crooked and crowded teeth?

You guessed it.

It’s definitely the job of an orthodontist.

Their number-one goal is to satisfy their patients.

Orthodontists need many years of schooling to enter this profession.

If becoming an orthodontist is your dream, this guide will discuss some of the advantages and disadvantages that you may have to deal with on a daily basis.

Continue reading to find out what they are and to help you determine whether this is the right career path for you.

Pros of Being an Orthodontist

1. Good Outlook & Working Conditions

One of the biggest benefits of being an orthodontist is the positive job growth and excellent working conditions.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs for orthodontists are expected to increase by 4.5% between 2022 and 2032.

During this time frame, at least 300 jobs are expected to open up.

In addition, the working conditions are highly exceptional for orthodontists.

Their schedules are reasonable, as they typically only work four or five days each week.

However, they are required to be on call for emergencies.

2. Excellent Salary

Orthodontists have the ability to earn a high salary soon after starting off.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the salary for an orthodontist can range anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 each year.

However, this number depends on their experience, work location, and place of practice.

For instance, orthodontists who work in a private practice have the ability to earn an even higher salary.

3. High Importance of Work

The work that general dentists do is obviously important, as it contributes to healthy oral hygiene.

However, orthodontists perform more advanced work that involves jaw and tooth realignment.

Patients are typically under the care of an orthodontist for several years following the initial consultation.

This is the general time frame it can take to complete treatment.

One of the most satisfying rewards for an orthodontist is seeing a beautiful smile and an increase in patient satisfaction following the completion of their treatment.

4. Option of Being Self-Employed

As mentioned earlier, orthodontists have the option of operating their own private practice.

Self-employed orthodontists have the ability to earn a higher salary and work on their own terms.

While you are responsible for figuring out how to market your practice, ultimately, you’ll be in full control of all the major decisions you must make in relation to your business, and you can earn a quicker profit.

5. Potential for Growth

A career as an orthodontist doesn’t have to end there.

Many orthodontists make the decision to advance their career by completing a master’s degree or Ph.D. program in oral science, orthodontics, or oral biology.

These definitely aren’t requirements, but they can increase your earning potential and further your growth.

For instance, earning a Ph.D. in orthodontics enables orthodontists to teach students in university programs.

6. Income Stability

Dentistry overall is one of the most stable career paths you can choose.

Orthodontists are certain of that level of stability.

So, if you’re looking for a career that provides a stable income for your family, this could be the perfect choice.

Orthodontists are typically paid a salary, which makes prioritizing your finances easier than ever before.

In fact, income stability is one of the biggest factors individuals consider when looking into joining the dental field.

7. Balanced Lifestyle

Finally, working as an orthodontist means you can benefit from having a balanced lifestyle.

In fact, compared to other areas of medicine, the dental field offers much more balance.

Orthodontists have the option of working for their own private practice or through a dental facility.

They also have control over how many hours they want to work each week.

Orthodontists can work part-time or full-time, thus having a direct influence on your lifestyle and income.

Cons of Being an Orthodontist

1. Educational Requirements are Lengthy

One of the main cons of becoming an orthodontist is being able to meet the educational requirements.

Orthodontists require much more education than general dentists.

Once you have completed an undergraduate degree program, you must then move on to a graduate degree program.

This can take an additional three to five years.

The graduate program must be accredited by the American Dental Association.

If you are not one to dedicate yourself to years of schooling, you may want to rethink a career as an orthodontist.

2. Under a lot of Pressure

Orthodontists also have to deal with being under a lot of pressure.

This comes after years and funding for advanced training.

Orthodontists have to take on a great deal of stress when they encounter patients who are unhappy.

Once in a while, they will also have to deal with an unhappy parent who isn’t happy with the treatment results for their child.

In addition, working day in and day out in patients’ mouths can cause quick burnout in some.

3. Cost of School

As mentioned above, you will have to put in many years of schooling in order to become an orthodontist.

In addition, you’ll have to figure out how you are going to pay for the cost of your education.

On average, you’ll be spending $7,329 per year.

And if you are thinking about advancing your education, you can count on spending more money.

So if you don’t have any scholarships or grants, it’s almost certain that you’ll have built up a nice amount of debt following the end of your education.

4. On-Call Availability

While it’s necessary to make your own schedule, you’ll still have to deal with working long hours.

In addition, you’ll have to deal with being on call for emergencies.

This can result in decreased mood and energy.

Being on call can add unwanted stress to an already stressful career.

You’re unable to make any other commitments, as your time must be spent waiting for a possible phone call.

This could be nerve-wracking for many and a deciding factor in whether you should go into this field of work.

5. Physically Demanding Job

Being an orthodontist is a physically demanding job.

This may or may not be seen as a disadvantage for some.

In addition to being physically demanding, it can also be mentally exhausting.

Orthodontists are constantly required to sit, talk, use their hands, and listen, all while performing their daily duties.

And if you have your own practice, you add to the heavy administrative burden.

As a result, you may leave work feeling as if you have nothing left to give your family.

6. Ongoing Training & Education

Like all dentists, orthodontists are required to maintain their licenses.

They must do this by taking continuing education courses.

In addition, orthodontists must regularly take these courses to stay on top of advancements in their field.

These educational activities may include seminars, workshops, and more.

This can feel like a burden for some.

So, if you think that you’re completely finished with school after you graduate and don’t have a desire to undergo continuing education courses, this isn’t a good career path for you.

7. Repetitive Dentistry

If routine is not your thing, you may want to think twice about becoming an orthodontist.

General dentists are able to perform a variety of procedures.

But once you make the decision to practice orthodontics, you’re much more limited in what you’re able to do.

The tasks you perform will be highly repetitive.

Your job is to examine patients and treat their orthodontic issues.

This ongoing repetitiveness can cause you to become mentally exhausted.

Before you commit to becoming an orthodontist, it’s important to know what you’re up against.

14 Pros and Cons of Working as an Orthodontist – Summary Table

Pros of Being an OrthodontistCons of Being an Orthodontist
Good Outlook & Working ConditionsEducational Requirements are Lengthy
Excellent SalaryUnder a lot of Pressure
High Importance of WorkCost of School
Option of Being Self-EmployedOn-Call Availability
Potential for GrowthPhysically Demanding Job
Income StabilityOngoing Training & Education
Balanced LifestyleRepetitive Dentistry

Should You Become an Orthodontist?

If you are passionate about helping people feel good about themselves by giving them healthier, straighter teeth, a career as an orthodontist may be the right fit.

Orthodontists must be comfortable being leaders and consider themselves social people.

You should also be okay working well with others.

Orthodontists make a very good salary and have a lot of potential for growth.

But there’s also a dark side.

You must be on call and content with working long hours.

It can also be a physically demanding job.

If you can still see yourself being successful even with the negatives that come with the job, you may be on your way to a very rewarding career.

Jamie Willis
Career Specialist at BecomeopediaHi, my name is Jamie Willis, and I have been helping students find their perfect internships and education paths for the last ten years. It is a passion of mine, and there really is nothing better than seeing students of mine succeed with further studies.

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