It can take 10 years in total to become an orthodontist!
To become an orthodontist you must complete the 5 year undergraduate Dental Degree to become a dentist first. Following this you would gain experience by working in Oral and Maxillofacial surgery centres which gives you exposure to complex head and neck surgery and oral surgery with the completion of an exam affiliated to one of the Royal College of Surgeon’s.You can then apply to complete a further 3 years of postgraduate training in a University and Dental Hospital setting. The course gives you the skills to diagnose and prevent problems with the eruption of teeth and positions of the jaws and involves treating orthodontic patients over the three year period. This is finalised with an exam at The Royal College of Surgeons and masters or doctorate viva.
You then apply to be added to the Specialist List of Orthodontists at the General Dental Council. Only orthodontists who have completed this training and are registered on the Specialist List can call themselves an orthodontist.
Once an orthodontist, you can then spend more time learning additional techniques such as lingual braces or clear aligners. In fact we continue to study throughout our career and will attend conferences on an annual basis to keep up with new developments.