California Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Careers

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that deals with irregularities of the teeth and their correction. Dentofacial orthopedics is a specialty that deals with the correction or "normalizing" of the growth of an individuals bone structure and/or repairing irregularities of the jaws and face. Together, says the American Dental Association (ADA), the orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics specialty includes the diagnosis, prevention, interception, and correction of malocclusion, as well as neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of the developing or mature orofacial structures.

While the orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics field is popular across the U.S., the highest population of professionals in this field can be found in Illinois, with California at a close second.

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Education and Training Programs

In addition to obtaining a degree from an accredited dental school, aspiring orthodontists specializing in dentofacial orthopedics must complete an additional 2 to 3+  years of education and training through a school/program accredited by the
Commission of Dental Accreditation (CODA) of the American Dental Association (ADA). In addition, every state, including the State of California, requires a license to practice orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.

A typical full-time orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics program requires successful completion of a wide range of specialized courses, labs, and hands-on training. Just a few areas of focus include biomechanics and wirebending, clinical growth and development, diagnosis and treatment planning; orthodontic fundamentals, documentation, clinical practice, and surgery, oral biology, head and neck anatomy, diagnosis and occlusion, finishing and retention, orthognathic surgery, removable aligner treatment, and more.

It is important to note that course titles may vary by program, but the content of the course is usually the same.

In general, an accredited orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics program leads to a Certificate of Specialization in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. This will satisfy the requirements of the American Board of Orthodontics for eligibility to complete Phase I and take the Phase II Written Examination to become Board Eligible toward the ultimate goal of becoming a Diplomate.

Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics Schools and Training Programs in California

According to the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) the U.S. is home to more than 60 accredited orthodontic programs. Five are located in the State of California. They include:

Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
University of California Los Angeles School of Dentistry, Los Angeles, CA
University of California-San Francisco, San Francisco, CA
University of Southern California, Ostrow School of Dentistry Division of Orthodontics, Los Angeles, CA
University of The Pacific, Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry, San Francisco, CA

The State of California has one of the highest numbers of top-tier orthodontic programs in the nation. The state shares the spotlight with New York, Pennsylvania, and Texas.

Employment and Earnings Outlook for California Orthodontists and Dentofacial Orthopedics Specialists

The U.S. is home to 5,530 licensed orthodontists, averaging $186,320 per year. In 2008, the nation was home to 5,500 orthodontists, averaging $194,930 per year.  In the State of California, which is home to 620 licensed orthodontists, the average salary is $165,960 per year. In 2008, the state was home to 540 orthodontists averaging $173,320 per year.

Although California saw a decrease in the average salary for orthodontists overall, the Los Angeles-Long Beach-Glendale Metro area remains the nation’s third highest paying metro area for orthodontists. Professionals here average an impressive $240,270 per year.