What an Orthodontist Does
An Orthodontist is a specialist dentist dealing with straightening teeth. They will examine a patient’s teeth, usually after a referral form a dentist and decide what treatment is needed to improve them. They may also work to realign crooked jaws, correct bite, reduce overcrowding and improve appearance. They will create braces to specifically treat that patient’s problems so after treatment they should have straight teeth and will avoid damage to teeth in later life due to a poor bite.
The treatment usually takes place when children have had all of their adult teeth appear and their dentist feels that there are problems that need treating. Children can get their treatment free through the NHS, but it is also possible for adults to get treatment, although they will normally have to pay for it as most adults are not eligible for free dental treatment. Orthodontists would usually get more money from their private patients, who they will charge between £2,000-£6,000 for one to two years of treatment and so there is a good amount of salary to be taken from that.
To become an orthodontist you need to have very good GCSEs so that you can get ABB at A-level of higher. Dentistry degrees are very highly sought after and so some students do a different degree first. A degree in dentistry takes five years which needs to be completed before a candidate can sit a Membership on Orthodontics examination with it being common for them also to have a Master’s Degree or Doctorate in Dental Surgery. If you then take two years to get a Fellowship of Dental Surgery in Orthodontics you will be able to become a hospital consultant and you could even become a cleft orthodontic consultant. You will also need to keep studying and attending courses for the duration of your career. With all of this study then you would expect the salary to be worthwhile especially as it is likely that you will have to pay for your training, particularly your initial qualifications, such as your degree and masters, although there could be some bursaries available for some.
Obviously experience is important and so the initial pay for an orthodontist will be lower and that will increase with years of experience. The salary on average is £37,000 a year according to some sources but location will also have a bearing with salaries in London being higher and northern England usually paying less than southern, although there will be exceptions. The salary will depend on whether who you are employed by with work for the NHS usually being paid less than self-employed jobs doing private work. A starter salary as an NHS trainee would be £36,000-£45,750 with more experience leading to rates of up to £82,000 and high experience earning up to £100,000. Self-employed salaries will vary but they tend to start higher. Work would normally be 9-5 on weekdays but there may be some Saturday mornings and some evenings and even some emergency work to be done possibly too; especially if working in a hospital setting.