All orthodontists were once dentists, but not all dentists are orthodontists. It takes more than a whirlwind weekend course to become the latter. In fact, it requires an additional three years’ specialist study and 5,000 hours of practical training – over and above general dentistry – to become a specialist orthodontist. Your smile is a big deal. And when it comes to straightening teeth and aligning jaws, your choice of practitioner is a big deal, too.