Tips for Aspiring Orthodontists

Are you an aspiring orthodontist who’s looking to make everyone around you smile? Great choice! Summit Orthodontics has offices in Jackson and Charlotte. Our orthodontist, Dr. Backinger, knows a thing or two about what it takes to succeed in the field. Orthodontics is a rewarding career where you can make a real difference in people’s lives. A smile is usually the first thing we notice about other people. Even if two people don’t speak the same language, they can still smile at one another. Who wouldn’t want to leave a mark on something so important? Here are a few ways that Dr. Backinger suggests for all the up-and-coming orthodontic professionals out there. 

Prioritize Your Education

First things first, hit the books! A solid educational foundation is crucial for your success as an orthodontist. Focus on excelling in your biology, chemistry, and physics classes. These subjects are the backbone of orthodontics. Once you’re in college, aim for a degree in a science-related field. Dental school is your next big step, so make sure to prepare for and ace the Dental Admission Test (DAT). During dental school, soak up all the knowledge you can. Getting involved in orthodontic-related clubs or groups is also a good idea. They can provide extra learning opportunities and valuable connections. Remember, the more you learn now, the better prepared you’ll be for the challenges ahead

Gain Hands-On (Or Maybe “Teeth-On”) Experience

Books are great, but nothing beats real-world experience. Seek out internships and shadowing opportunities with practicing orthodontists. This hands-on experience will be invaluable for you. You’ll see firsthand how clinics operate, learn about patient care, and get a feel for the day-to-day responsibilities of an orthodontist. Volunteering at dental clinics or participating in community health events can provide practical insights, too. The more time you spend in natural clinical settings, the more comfortable and confident you’ll become. Moreover, these experiences look fantastic on your resume and can open doors to future job opportunities.

Tips for Aspiring Orthodontists

Check Out The Tech

Orthodontics is always evolving, thanks to new technologies. Staying updated is key to providing the best care. Make it a habit to read orthodontic journals and attend workshops or seminars. Become familiar with emerging tools and techniques, like 3D imaging and clear aligners. Our Summit Orthodontics team uses these. These advancements can make treatments more effective and comfortable for patients. Don’t be shy! Ask seasoned orthodontists about the new tech they’re using. They can provide insights and tips you won’t find in books. Keeping up with technology not only improves your skills but also shows your commitment to offering top-notch care. Dr. Backinger also suggests learning more about technology through continuing education (more on that later).

Talking Is Different Than Communicating

To be a great orthodontist, you have to focus on more than building strong teeth. You need strong communication skills! You need to explain treatments clearly and make sure your patients understand their options. Practice active listening—patients will appreciate it when you truly hear their concerns. It’s also important to develop a friendly, approachable chairside manner. Patients, especially kids, need to feel comfortable and safe. Don’t forget about non-verbal communication. As an aspiring orthodontist, you should know that a warm smile can go a long way! Good communication helps build trust and makes the treatment process smoother for everyone involved.

Tips for Aspiring Orthodontists

Network With Other Orthodontic Professionals

Who you know can be just as important as what you know. Networking is crucial to success in orthodontics. Go to conferences, join professional organizations like the American Association of Orthodontists, and participate in local study clubs. These events are great for meeting experienced professionals and staying current with industry trends. Don’t hesitate to reach out to mentors like Dr. Backinger for advice—she’s been where you are and can offer valuable insights. Building a strong professional network can create job opportunities, collaborations, and even lifelong friendships.

Put People First

At the heart of orthodontics is patient care. Always put your patients first. Take the time to get to know them and understand their needs and concerns. Each patient is unique, so mold your treatment plans to fit their specific situations. Pay attention to the little details that make a big difference, like following up after appointments and being available to answer questions. A solid patient experience can lead to better outcomes and more referrals. Happy patients will come back and recommend you to their friends and family. 

Embrace Continuing Education

We touched on this earlier, but learning doesn’t stop once you’ve got your degree(s). Orthodontics is a field that’s always changing, so staying up-to-date is mission-critical. Attend workshops, enroll in advanced courses, and participate in webinars. Continuing education helps you stay informed about new techniques, tools, and best practices. It also keeps you passionate and excited about your work. Many states require continuing education for you to renew your license, but even if it’s not mandatory, it’s worth the effort. Look into resources provided by professional organizations and dental schools. Staying educated ensures you’re offering the best care possible and shows your commitment to excellence. Plus, it’s a great way to meet other professionals and expand your network.

Develop Business Skills

Being a great orthodontist also means being a savvy businessperson. Learn about managing finances, marketing your services, and handling administrative tasks. Consider taking business courses or attending seminars focused on dental practice management. Knowing how to budget, set fees, and manage expenses will keep your practice financially healthy. Marketing skills help you attract new patients and retain existing ones. It’s also important to understand human resources if you have a team. Good leadership and management skills can create a positive work environment. 

Tips for Aspiring Orthodontists

Orthodontic Excellence With Dr. Backinger

Looking for more information as an aspiring orthodontist near Jackson or Charlotte? Visit our Summit Orthodontics careers page. You can also use this link to refer a patient to schedule a consultation with Dr. Backinger.