Career Opportunities in the Orthodontic Team
Orthodontic offices offer a variety of rewarding orthodontic positions: with both clinical and administrative office positions.
Choosing Your Career in Orthodontics
The orthodontic field is full of wonderful opportunities. Each career choice can be both personally and professionally satisfying. In all positions you will be a member of a special team which produces better oral health, enhanced self-esteem and beautiful smiles for people of all ages. In addition to being able to manage your own career path (molding it to fit your lifestyle)... and to the financial rewards that come with a career in orthodontics...as a member of the orthodontic team you will be rewarded watching someone’s smile change gradually before your eyes. As their teeth shift into alignment, patients’ personalities change too. Their self confidence blossoms. Teens, men and women become more ready to smile, and meet the world with greater confidence.
If you love people, you will love being in the field of Orthodontics.
What Is Orthodontics? Within the dental profession, orthodontists are the specialists to bring teeth, lips and jaws into proper alignment. The term “malocclusion,” which means “bad bite,” or “facial disharmonies,” is used to describe the abnormalities treated by orthodontists. Orthodontists deliver lifelong benefits to our patients... the kind of benefits that can improve physical and emotional health. We provide treatment that can prevent serious, costly health problems in later life.
It Takes a Team
The team leader is the orthodontist. But the successful orthodontic practice depends on a variety of other professional and clerical staff members, such as:
· Treatment Coordinator
· Scheduling Coordinator
· Office Administrator
· Financial Administrator
· Clinical Coordinator
· Certified Dental Assistant with the Orthodontic Module
· Orthodontic Laboratory Technician
· Instrument Coordinator
No matter what you choose, orthodontics can put you on a career path that provides you with the satisfaction of helping patients, improving their smiles, their dental health and their self-esteem. It is a positive, upbeat career that lets you deal with generally healthy, motivated people who are on the road to better lives.
What Does It Take To Join The Team?
The various positions on the orthodontic team require different levels of education and experience. Ask anyone here at Maple Ridge Orthodontics for information regarding career choices. Here are a few examples of the type of work, education and skills for various positions:
Typical Responsibilities include examining each patient, reviewing the patient’s orthodontic records, planning the patient treatment, communicating with the patient and family about the treatment and options, placement of orthodontic brackets and bands, adjusting the orthodontic arch wires. Also most orthodontists run the business and manage the office.
Requirements: high school diploma, a dental degree (5-7 years depending on the country), an orthodontic diploma (an additional 2-3 years), excellent hand/eye coordination, good communication skills and computer skills
Certified Dental Assistant
Typical Responsibilities include assisting the orthodontist with treatment, taking x-rays/records, educating the patients about oral health and overall health, serving as a key communications link between the patient and the doctor, preparing the teeth for placement of orthodontic brackets and bands, working with the orthodontic arch wires, taking impressions and instructing patients in all areas of treatment. Orthodontic Assistants also play key roles motivating patients to do their part to acheive the best result from their treatment.
Requirements: high school diploma, customer service skills, excellent eye and hand coordination, computer skills, taking and developing x-rays. Certification is about a one year course and the Orthodontic Module is an additional short course.
Typical Responsibilities include serving as the primary communications link between the patient and the doctor and the parent and doctor. They play the main role in explaining the treatment plan and instructing patients including helping motivate patients to do their part in achieving the best result from their treatment.
Requirements: high school diploma, excellent customer service skills, computer skills, taking photographs. Certification is not required, but a good knowledge of dentistry is very helpful.
Orthodontic Office Administrator
Typical responsibilities include scheduling appointments, taking care of clerical and bookkeeping duties, understanding and explaining insurance and financial matters, preparing financial arrangements for patients, coordinating telephone contacts with patients, family dentists, other dental specialists and physicians, and having special skill in customer service relations.
Requirements: High school diploma, customer service skills, good spoken and written communication ability, business training and/or experience. In modern orthodontic practices, computer skills are generally essential in orthodontic practices for patient record-keeping, patient and professional communications, billing, and scheduling.
Orthodontic Laboratory Technician
Typical Responsibilities include preparing orthodontic study models, make orthodontic retainers, designing appliances for tooth and bone movement, coordinating office needs with outside labs. After training, a lab technician can work at a commercial orthodontic laboratory or even open their own laboratory if they desire to own their own business.
Requirements: high school diploma followed by certification, excellent eye and hand coordination, computer skills. It helps to have hands-on experience working with patients.
Becoming a member of the orthodontic team requires a unique combination of skills, a steadfast commitment to long-term goals and a desire to excel. In some positions, an interest in science is important. All positions require individuals who thrive on creativity and challenge... and who love working with people. If you like to help people and would enjoy the respect that comes with being a member of a highly regarded health-care profession that has the capacity to change people’s lives (the greatest joy of our job) , then consider a career in orthodontics.