Orthodontist  What They Do

Just the Facts


Orthodontists Career Video



Examines, diagnoses, and treats dental malocclusions and oral cavity anomalies. Designs and fabricates appliances to realign teeth and jaws to produce and maintain normal function and to improve appearance.

This career is part of the Health Science cluster Therapeutic Services pathway.


A person in this career:

  • Studies diagnostic records, such as medical or dental histories, plaster models of the teeth, photos of a patient's face and teeth, and X-rays, to develop patient treatment plans.
  • Adjusts dental appliances to produce and maintain normal function.
  • Fits dental appliances in patients' mouths to alter the position and relationship of teeth and jaws or to realign teeth.
  • Diagnoses teeth and jaw or other dental-facial abnormalities.
  • Examines patients to assess abnormalities of jaw development, tooth position, and other dental-facial structures.
  • Provides patients with proposed treatment plans and cost estimates.
  • Instructs dental officers and technical assistants in orthodontic procedures and techniques.
  • Prepares diagnostic and treatment records.
  • Designs and fabricates appliances, such as space maintainers, retainers, and labial and lingual arch wires.
  • Coordinates orthodontic services with other dental and medical services.

Insider Info

Dig into the details and check out what people in this job have to say about their work.



Working Conditions and Physical Demands

People who do this job report that:

  • You would often handle loads up to 10 lbs., sometimes up to 20 lbs. You might do a lot of walking or standing, or you might sit but use your arms and legs to control machines, equipment or tools.
  • Work in this occupation involves use of protective items such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hearing protection, a hard hat, or personal flotation devices
  • Exposed to disease and infections more than once a month through work such as patient care, laboratory work, and sanitation control
  • Work in this occupation involves using your hands to hold, control, and feel objects more than one-third of the time
  • Exposed to hazardous situations involving possible injury such as cuts, bites, stings, and minor burns more than once a month
  • Work in this occupation requires being inside most of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves making repetitive motions more than one-third of the time
  • Work in this occupation involves sitting more than one-third of the time

Working in this career involves (physical activities):

  • Seeing clearly up close
  • Speaking clearly enough to be able to be understood by others
  • Identifying and understanding the speech of another person

Work Hours and Travel

  • Regular working hours and limited travel

Specialty and Similar Careers

Careers that are more detailed or close to this career:

  • Dentist -- Diagnoses and treats disorders of the teeth and mouth.