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Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry

Program Overview

Introduction

Graduate study in orthodontics is available for selected candidates who wish to specialize in the field. The faculty of the orthodontic graduate program intends to produce leaders in orthodontics, whether in clinical practice, teaching, or research.

The graduate program in Orthodontics, established in 1923, is the oldest degree granting orthodontics program in the world. It has historically played and continues to play a strong leadership role by providing the research and academic direction to the profession. The graduate program in Orthodontics is of 35 months duration and grants an M.S. in Orthodontics through the Rackham Graduate School. It admits seven students annually. A PhD track is also available for those individuals who wish to pursue full-time careers in academic orthodontics. The orthodontic faculty serves as key members of the Craniofacial Anomalies team at the C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and, together with our graduate students, provide orthodontic treatment to patients with developmental disorders in our clinic at the dental school. The program also provides collaborative treatment on complex cases in conjunction with other dental specialties including Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Prosthodontics, and Periodontics. The Department of Orthodontics and Pediatric Dentistry initiated the world-renowned Moyers Symposium in 1973, which is cosponsored by the University of Michigan Center for Human Growth and Development. This is the preeminent clinical research symposium in the profession. The orthodontic program maintains and continues to utilize the unique radiographic and dental cast records from the Michigan Growth Study for research studies.

The graduate program begins in early July and ends three years later in June. The program provides a comprehensive understanding of the science of craniofacial biology as well as its application to the various orthodontic techniques and methods in contemporary clinical practice. This program also provides experience in teaching orthodontics to undergraduate dental students as well as in the conduct of research to partially fulfill the requirements for a Master of Science degree in orthodontics.

Clinical Experience

In the beginning of the first year, each student will be assigned approximately 50-60 new patients with a broad spectrum of clinical problems. In addition to routine adolescent comprehensive orthodontic treatment, other patient experiences include:

  • Pre-adolescent growth modification (Phase I) including the use of functional appliances, headgear, and interceptive orthodontic treatment
  • Surgical Orthodontic Treatment for patients with significant jaw discrepancies
  • Adult Orthodontics including clear aligners and coordinated management of orthodontics with other dental specialties to maximize treatment for patients with compromised dentitions
  • Craniofacial Anomalies patients including cleft lip and palate, Treacher Collins, Crouzon’s and other common developmental defects
  • Patients with temporomandibular disorders.

Over the three year program, with transfer cases from senior residents, each resident will provide care for over 100 orthodontic patients.

Didactics

A strong classroom curriculum is essential to provide the graduate student with sound biological, biomechanical, and philosophical foundation. In addition to the graduate school courses listed below, additional seminars, continuing education courses, and other experiences are provided to cover the latest topics in orthodontics and craniofacial biology. Approximately 100 credit hours must be completed in order to satisfy the didactic requirement of the Master’s program.

Research

Research is an integral component of the graduate program. The foundation of the research training begins in the first semester and is designed to foster curiosity and the ability to critically evaluate historical, current, and future publications. The research experience culminates in each student led, faculty supervised thesis. As part of the thesis project, the student will formulate a specific hypothesis, test that hypothesis, and finally answer that question in his or her published thesis. The department has a rich history in research achievements that includes several faculty and alumni who have been awarded the Milo Hellman, Harry Sicher or Thomas Graber Research awards from the American Association of Orthodontists.

Graduation Requirements

  • Successfully complete all didactic courses and assignments related to aspects of scientific methodology including the critical evaluation of published papers.
  • Completing a novel research project culminating in a thesis that satisfies the requirement of the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies.
  • Demonstrate ability to successfully deliver all aspects of clinical orthodontics. This includes satisfying the completed case requirement established by the faculty.
  • Satisfactory completion of comprehensive examinations, case displays and OSCEs.

The orthodontic curriculum is designed to be flexible, especially during the third academic year where, after consultation with the faculty, additional emphasis can be placed on clinical experience, teaching, and/or research. The department goal is to provide each student with a strong background which once completed, can be tailored to best prepare each student for his or her future career goal of clinical practice, research, or academics. The third year also provides an opportunity to complete treatment of the majority of the cases started in the first year.