How to Become An Orthodontist

I AM FREQUENTLY ASKED, how does one become an orthodontist?

I Was Inspired By My Orthodontist, Dr. Larry Olivera

In middle school and high school, it’s good to like dentistry, people, and orthodontics. I was inspired in 7th grade by my orthodontist, Dr. Larry Oliviera of New Bedford, Massachusetts to become an orthodontist. I thought his work was fun.

I loved his orthodontic office and looked forward to going there. His brother was our Monsigneur and his sister was one of my mother's best friends. I admired him as a person and thought that he was very nice. If you feel this way about going to your orthodontist, perhaps you should consider becoming one.

I Prepared For Dental School At Wellesley College

There will be several college classes you will need to take for your dental school application. These include: Biology (2) Chemistry (2) Organic Chemistry (2) Physics (2) Calculus (2) and English (2). During Junior year, you will need to take the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT) which will test these subjects.

You will need to have a good DAT score and good grades to get into dental school. At Wellesley College, I majored in Molecular Biology and Music.

Research Projects Strengthen Your Application

While in college, it is a good idea to do a research project. This will strengthen your dental school application. In college, I had a research grant and worked at Massachusetts General Hospital in the lab of a young oral surgeon, Dr. R. Bruce Donoff. My research project was “Collagen Synthesis in Wound Healing”.

I was with Dr. Donoff the day he paid off his student loans. Now he is Dean of Harvard School of Dental Medicine! I also had students loans. Don’t let money prevent you from following your dream of going to dental school.

Dental School Is Busy, But Exciting!

Once in Dental School, you will be working full time on your studies. Your classes are assigned. You will take Biochemistry, Physiology, Anatomy, Pathology, Neurobiolgy, Immunology, Pharmacology, Dental Anatomy, Nutrition, and other classes.

Then after two years you take the National Board Part I on these subjects. At Harvard School of Dental Medicine where I went to school, we also took the Medical Board Part I. During Third and Fourth years of dental school you will be treating patients full time. Then you take the National Board Part II Exam on clinical subjects and Regional Board exam on live patients.

Dental School is a lot of fun. You live in the dorm and spend a lot of time studying with your friends. The time passes quickly.

To Be An Orthodontist Requires Additional Training After Dental School

To become an orthodontist or any dental specialist, you must study hard and be near the top of your dental school class. I was the only orthodontist from my dental school class of thirteen students at HSDM '88 to become an orthodontist. After Junior year, you fill out your application for residency and go on interviews to these programs.

I did my residency at Northwestern University in Chicago, Illinois. I loved Chicago and lived two blocks from Oprah! My biggest surprise, however, was that I was the only female student! These guys were like my brothers.

Questions? Please Ask!

To learn more about orthodontics and how to become an orthodontist visit Dr. Ann Marie Gorczyca at Gorczyca Orthodontics in Antioch, California or invite her to come and speak at your school. She would love to see you! At Gorczyca Orthodontics, we love orthodontics, braces, Invisalign, and retainers and being an orthodontist. You will, too!

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