Careers in Orthodontics

The orthodontic office is comprised of the orthodontist and a team of upbeat individuals who work together to make the office function efficiently and effectively. From the front desk to the back office and the clinic, the team works together to ensure patients receive excellent customer service and high-quality care as they seek treatment to align teeth and correct bite issues. You can learn more about the different roles of orthodontic team members here.

In recent years, the opportunities for clinical orthodontic assistants have increased. Let’s explore the role of the orthodontic assistant further!

A Day in the Life

Check out this video for a glimpse into a day in the life of an orthodontic assistant!

What does an orthodontic assistant do?


The role of the clinical orthodontic assistant is to help the orthodontist in treating patients. This could include preparing and maintaining orthodontic instruments, supplies, and equipment; collecting and recording patient health histories; taking photos, x-rays, scans, and impressions; educating patients about oral health and overall health; assisting with the placement/removal of orthodontic appliances; and instructing patients in appliance care.

If you are interested in helping children and adults achieve healthier bites, beautiful smiles and increased confidence, becoming an orthodontic assistant could be very personally and professionally rewarding for you!

How to Get Started

On the Job Training

Most orthodontic offices will provide the training a motivated candidate needs to be a successful orthodontic assistant.

  1. Find an orthodontic office near you by using our locator.
  2. Call or visit the office to let them know you are interested in a career in orthodontic assisting, and learn more about any opportunities they may have.
  3. Many are currently hiring assistants or will be glad to keep your resume on file and reach out as opportunities arise.

Formal Training/Certification

You don’t need to be certified to be an orthodontic assistant. However, dental assistant certification can help you gain basic technical skills to jump start your journey. Dental assistants can go on to specialized training in the orthodontic field to achieve an orthodontic assistant permit from the Dental Board of California. Many CAO members offer the training for this permit in their office.

Click here for a list of accredited dental assistant programs in California


Some California practices post their open assistant positions in the Pacific Coast Society of Orthodontists’ career center. Access it here.