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What is an Orthodontist?

Orthodontist Definition Examine, diagnose, and treat dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Design and fabricate appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.

What Do Orthodontists Do On a Daily Basis?

  • Diagnose teeth and jaw or other dental-facial abnormalities.
  • Adjust dental appliances to produce and maintain normal function.
  • Prepare diagnostic and treatment records.
  • Coordinate orthodontic services with other dental and medical services.
  • Examine patients to assess abnormalities of jaw development, tooth position, and other dental-facial structures.
  • Fit dental appliances in patients' mouths to alter the position and relationship of teeth and jaws or to realign teeth.

Skills Needed to be an Orthodontist

These are the skills Orthodontists say are the most useful in their careers:

Active Listening: Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.

Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

Other Orthodontist Job Titles

  • Orthodontist
  • Dentofacial Orthopedics Dentist
  • Pediatric Orthodontist
  • Board Certified Orthodontist
  • Orthodontist, Small Business Owner

Are There Job Opportunities for Orthodontists?

There were about 6,600 jobs for Orthodontist in 2016 (in the United States). New jobs are being produced at a rate of 18.2% which is above the national average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 1,200 new jobs for Orthodontist by 2026. The BLS estimates 300 yearly job openings in this field.


The states with the most job growth for Orthodontist are Arizona, Maryland, and Florida. Watch out if you plan on working in South Carolina, Maine, or Idaho. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

Orthodontist Average Salary

The average yearly salary of an Orthodontist ranges between $72,780 and $208,000.


Orthodontists who work in Arkansas, Colorado, or Indiana, make the highest salaries.

Below is a list of the median annual salaries for Orthodontists in different U.S. states.

State Annual Mean Salary
Arkansas $208,000
California $197,390
Colorado $230,400
Connecticut $211,240
Florida $204,750
Idaho $202,030
Illinois $199,050
Indiana $232,900
Iowa $267,870
Kentucky $139,450
Louisiana $129,830
Maryland $199,210
Massachusetts $282,740
Michigan $217,730
Montana $187,130
Nebraska $208,000
New Hampshire $208,000
New Jersey $274,400
New Mexico $193,750
New York $250,890
North Carolina $276,550
Ohio $228,420
Oklahoma $261,650
Oregon $208,000
Pennsylvania $258,940
South Carolina $279,610
Tennessee $219,860
Texas $188,190
Utah $113,710
Virginia $208,000
Washington $208,000
Wisconsin $209,880

What Tools do Orthodontists Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Orthodontists:

  • Web browser software
  • Dolphin Imaging & Management Solutions Dolphin Management

How do I Become an Orthodontist?

What education or degrees do I need to become an Orthodontist?


What work experience do I need to become an Orthodontist?


Where do Orthodontists Work?


The table below shows some of the most common industries where those employed in this career field work.



Image Credit: Airman 1st Class Amy Perry via Public domain

More about our data sources and methodologies.

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