How to Become an Orthodontist in Canada

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An orthodontist is basically a dentist specialized in diagnosing, preventing and treating tooth irregularity. Sometimes, an orthodontist can deal with facial growth and reconstruction in general, other than focusing on dental issues only. But in most cases, his work is related to dentistry and teeth and jaw disproportional relationships and irregularities. To become an orthodontist in Canada, a candidate has to pursue and finish postgraduate studies in the specialty of Orthodontics after completing regular dental school. That means that after high school, another 12 or more years of formal education are needed in order to become an orthodontist in Canada.

  • Complete the necessary level of education needed for applying to a certified orthodontics program in Canada. Note that in order to become an orthodontist, you must first become a licensed dentist. After high school, two years of college are a minimum level of education needed for applying to dental school. While still in high school and college, concentrate on subjects such as biology, chemistry and physics, because dental schools in Canada are highly competitive and excellence in these sciences is considered to be an advantage.

  • Take the Dental Admission Test in order to apply to a dental school in Canada. Other than your GPA, the result on this test will be a major factor in deciding your admission. The DAT is administered by the Canadian Dental Association. Apply to take the DAT through the Canadian Dental Association website (see Resource). Registration is online only. Also, remember that other than the DAT, every university has a different admission process and criteria, so make sure to inform yourself about the specific program to which you are applying. Prepare for the test by using literature recommended by the dental school and the Canadian Dental Association. It is very important to realize that only a handful of dental schools in Canada are available, and they are highly competitive, so make sure to shape yourself into the best possible candidate.

  • Apply to a dental school in Canada and complete the required courses. Notable universities in Canada that offer basic dental education and training are the University of Toronto, University of British Columbia, University of Montreal, and the University of Western Ontario. The program lasts about four years, after which period you will receive a degree as a Doctor of Dental Medicine or Doctor of Dental Surgery, depending on the program you chose. After receiving your degree, and before applying to a postgraduate orthodontic program, it is highly recommended to complete at least a brief residency in the field of general dentistry.

  • Apply to an advanced orthodontics program in Canada. You can choose a program such as Master of Science in orthodontics at one of the universities in Canada. This postgraduate study program can last from two to five years, depending on the university.

  • Finish a residency at a CDA-approved program, which lasts from two to five years as well. This period of time will be a good practice for you and a chance to use the skills you obtained in school. Universities and hospitals in Canada offer the best and most challenging residency opportunities only to the best candidates, so make sure to stand out by using your grades, experiences and extracurricular work.

  • Apply for a certificate and a license to work as an orthodontist in Canada. The details about the required test and documents can be found on the official CDA website (see References).

  • Pursue a career in orthodontics by opening your own practice or working for an established dentist.

Tips & Warnings

  • In order to stand out in the crowd of other orthodontic students, engage into extracurricular activities, such as writing articles for medical journals, attending dentistry conventions and finishing a prestigious internship.
  • Be sure to check if you have a preexisting medical condition that might be a threat to yourself or others while practicing orthodontics.

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References

  • Photo Credit Dentist at work in dental room image by Vladimir Melnik from Fotolia.com
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