The American Association of Orthodontists was founded in 1900 and is the oldest and largest dental specialty organization in the world. It’s membership consists of more than 17,000 orthodontist members throughout the United States, Canada and abroad. In order for an individual to become an orthodontist they must first complete dental school. They are then required to attend an additional 2 to 3 years of schooling at an accredited orthodontic residency program. Only then are they allowed to call themselves an orthodontist and gain membership into the American Association of Orthodontists. What this means is that it is made up of highly qualified and educated individuals and their positive reputation is well earned.
What Does the American Association of Orthodontists Do?
As stated on their Mission and History page, they are “dedicated to:
- Ethically advancing the art and science of orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics worldwide.
- Improving the health of the public by promoting quality orthodontic care, the importance of overall oral health care, and advocating for the public interest.
- Educating the public about the benefits of orthodontic treatment and the educational qualifications of orthodontic specialists.
- Supporting AAO members in the practice of orthodontics.”
American Association of Orthodontist Foundation
Through their charitable entity, the American Association of Orthodontist Foundation, they provide funding and support for orthodontic research and education programs. Over $10 million in funding has been provided in support of Junior Faculty since 1994. The result of which has been the publishing of over 100 articles in orthodontic journals and even many publications outside of the profession. Dozen of lectures at orthodontic, dental and various other scientific meetings have also been made possible by this funding.
The American Association of Orthodontist Foundation also aids in professional advancement.
“Of the 66 Department Chairs and 36 Program Directors (total of 102) in the 72 graduate orthodontic residency programs in the U.S. and Canada, 31 were supported early in their academic careers by the AAO Foundation.”
Along with supporting Junior Faculty, the Foundation has started the AAOF Craniofacial Growth Legacy Collection and launched a new campaign, Research Initiative. The first is a massive collaboration of orthodontic collections with the intent to both preserve these records as well as make them available for academic research and other clinical purposes. Research Initiative is their latest fundraising effort with the goal of realizing $5 million in new pledges by December 31, 2015. The result of which would be an additional $300,000 dedicated strictly to orthodontic research.
My Life My Smile by the American Association of Orthodontists
My Life My Smile is all about helping and educating the public. Through this website you can learn about, and find information on, treatment options available to you and what to expect during treatment. You can use the site to locate an orthodontist near you that is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists. There are over 250 reports, essays, and clinical summaries available and even public service announcements; the latest of which warns against do it yourself orthodontic methods. To put it simply, the American Association of Orthodontists created My Life My Smile to provide a wealth of knowledge and resources to the consumer.
The American Association of Orthodontists strives to improve and further orthodontic science while also educating not only their members but the public as well. It is for these reasons that they will undoubtedly continue to grow and reshape the orthodontic industry.