A dentist who is specialized in correcting malpositions of teeth and jaws. The training consists of a study of dentistry, followed, in most German provinces, by one year of general dental work and three years of specialized training. The professional training requires one year of work at a university dental clinic, while the other two remaining years may also take place in orthodontic practices that have training authorization (in most German provinces). In most other countries, the training is also three-round, but only limited to universities. Disadvantage of the German system is that truancies and quality of training are hardly controlled in orthodontic practices, and furthermore, the trainee is sometimes abused as a cheap worker without acquiring profound knowledge.
People often mix up the orthodontist, who is a specialist in orthodontics, with the dentist whose focus is on orthodontics. Those are dentists who have taken a few weekend courses on orthodontics, have performed a few orthodontic treatments and have asked their dental medical association for approval.
The big difference of the qualification between orthodontists and dentists interested in orthodontics is hidden on the practice sign behind only a few letters, so that confusion by insecure patients frequently occurs. Only orthodontists or dentists for orthodontics (both have same meaning) have the full, required four-year training, while the dentist with a focus on orthodontics does not. The confusion is complemented by the recent emergence of a third title, which is Master of Science (MSc) Orthodontics. Regarding education the MSc Orthodontics is more advanced than the dentist with focus on orthodontics, but is formally behind the orthodontist. However, with good training in appropriate orthodontic practices, every dentist can achieve a high level of orthodontics – just as the title orthodontics is by no means a guarantee of competence.