Ottawa-Gatineau Orthodontists Alliance
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10,000 hours – how practice makes a dental expert

Posted by Dr. Sharleen Tan, 2017-08-28

Malcolm Gladwell could have been talking about Orthodontists!

In Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell examines the factors that contribute to high levels of success in various people and occupations: musicians, athletes, doctors, lawyers, business professionals, and so forth. In his best-selling book, the magic number that Malcolm Gladwell eventually lands on is 10,000. In other words, in order to achieve world-class expertise in any skill, you must practice for 10,000 hours. How does this relate to Orthodontists?


It takes practice to be exceptional

While many people are born with natural talent, a specific amount of practice is needed to be exceptional. Musicians like Adele and The Beatles or hockey greats like Wayne Gretzky and Bobby Orr didn’t just take to the stage or to the ice without hours of practice and skill development.


Not surprisingly this also relates to Orthodontists

After studying for approximately eight years to become a dentist, an additional two to three years of study is needed to become an Orthodontist. By the time someone graduates from an orthodontic residency program, they will have gained most of those 10,000 hours. Within the first few years of practice as an Orthodontist, they will have easily surpassed those 10,000 hours.


Proficiency in Orthodontics comes from an immersion in the study: the more a craft is practised, the better a person becomes at it. With a lifetime career of specializing in the field of Orthodontics, and practising only Orthodontics, Orthodontists are without a doubt experts.


Orthodontics is probably much more than you realize

Contrary to popular belief, orthodontics does not only consist of moving teeth! Orthodontists are experts in dental-facial orthopaedics and orthodontics: the guidance and development of facial growth and moving teeth. Orthodontists have the ability to change the growth direction of the face as it develops, optimizing the function and aesthetics of the future adult face.


There is a reason why Orthodontists are acknowledged experts and why orthodontics is a recognized dental speciality! Hours of study and practice make perfect!

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