How to become an orthodontist
Firstly, you need to become a dentist
In order to register with the New Zealand Dental Council as a dentist you must complete a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) at the University of Otago. Admission into this degree is gained by achieving high grades in the Health sciences year (first year of University). The health sciences year is highly competitive because there are upwards of 2000 students hoping to be accepted into either Dental, Medical and Pharmacy school and there are limited positions. The School of Dentistry at the University of Otago is the only Dental School in New Zealand and accepts approximately 54 New Zealanders into the Bachelor of Dental Surgery degree every year. It takes fives years to complete a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS).
Secondly, you require experience as a dentist and you must demonstrate a high level of continuing education
After graduating with a BDS you must work for at least two years as a dentist before considering an application for the Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orth) at the University of Otago. In reality, it is desirable to gain dental experience by working in a regional hospital as a dental house surgeon as well as working for at least two years in a private dental practice. However, there are a limited number of dental house surgeon positions available at the regional hospitals. Historically, the majority of specialist orthodontist have worked in a regional hospital before training as a specialist orthodontist. It is also desirable to complete the primary examination with the Royal Australasian College of Dental surgeons. This is a comprehensive examination for dentists, which includes six written examinations and six oral examinations in pathology, histology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology and microbiology over a six day examination period.
Thirdly, you require a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orth)
The Doctor of Clinical Dentistry is the current qualification necessary to become a specialist orthodontist in New Zealand. Admission to the degree of Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orth) is highly competitive at the University of Otago. More than 35 exceptionally talented dentists apply every year and only 2-4 applications are accepted annually. In other words, New Zealand only produces 2-4 qualified specialist orthodontists every year and the University of Otago has the only specialist orthodontist training center for the country. The Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orth) at the University of Otago consists of a gruelling and intensive programme, which includes clinically training, theory and a thesis. It takes three years to complete a Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (Orth).