Craniofacial Orthodontist

Give special needs patients a smile they can be proud of.
picture of Craniofacial Orthodontist

Quick Stats


Salary Range
~ $182,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Craniofacial Orthodontists do?

Orthodontists help straighten the teeth and jaws of their patients. These patients might be teenagers with crooked teeth or adults who have jaw pain. Standard cases involve applying and monitoring braces, retainers, and other devices in the mouth.

Craniofacial Orthodontists, on the other hand, don’t have standard, run-of-the-mill patients. That’s because they specialize in patients who suffer from birth defects or have been involved in an accident.

When you’re a Craniofacial Orthodontist, the majority of your patients are children. You work with kids who were born with cleft and/or palate deformities. Because these children have special needs, you often need a long-term treatment plan.

But not all of your patients are under 18. Adults also come to you when they’ve suffered dental trauma or been disfigured.

Being a Craniofacial Orthodontist means being highly specialized. But you don’t do it alone. You work with other specialists to provide care for the patient as a whole, not just the jaw, gums, and mouth.

Often, that treatment starts at birth when the Pediatrician or Medical Doctor makes an initial evaluation of the patient’s condition. Then you, Craniofacial Surgeons, Ear, Nose and Throat Doctors (ENTs), and Speech Pathologists work together to create a long-term plan.

This job requires patience and attention to detail. While it can be emotionally draining to see children suffer, the rewards more than make up for it. With your Orthodontist skills, talent for working with a team of professionals, and ability to communicate with patients and their families, your patients will soon reward you with brilliant smiles.

Should I be a Craniofacial Orthodontist?

You should have a doctoral degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Leader: You're good at taking charge, giving directions, and inspiring other people.
  • Trustworthy: You are known for your personal integrity and honesty.
  • Helpful: You always keep an eye out for what other people need.

  • Also known as: Dentofacial Orthopedics Dentist

    How to Become a
    Craniofacial Orthodontist

    Most Craniofacial Orthodontists have a Doctorate. Start by getting your Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:aaaal9&chl=||||master%27s+%2816%25%29|doctorate+%2884%25%29&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,0,84
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