Does The Orthodontist Really Do Anything Except Braces?
Orthodontist's are much-maligned for being the issuers of painful braces and archaic techniques that are meant to straighten teeth.
The Orthodontist DOES work in "braces" and straightening kid's teeth, but that's not all that is going on. An Orthodontist is the gatekeeper for Dental Surgery as well. Sometimes an Orthodontist is your first step in getting your teeth fixed instead of jumping straight to an Oral Surgeon.
If you have a tooth that may be impeding another tooth and the Dentist wants to pull it you might think "No way!" but feel like you have no other choice. Perhaps an Orthodontist can straighten that tooth through "non-removal" means so you don't have to get it pulled. Also, the orthodontist can help to crooked teeth away from impeding wisdom teeth to reduce pain and make the removal of said wisdom teeth easier.
If you have a tooth that is twisted and the Dentist thinks you may need a minor oral surgery to open your gum and turn the tooth manually the Orthodontist may have a form of braces that can slowly turn that tooth without surgery. Basically, the Orthodontist is charged with everything in their power that is NOT surgical to help fix your teeth.
Because Orthodontists are specialized Dentists they can also perform regular Dental Work. Granted, they are not always equipped for such things, but if you were working as an Orthodontist and didn't want to do braces all day you could easily see regular Dental patients on the side to add to your income (or for fun!)
Orthodontists can also install and care for braces in adults. This is a relatively new trend in the industry, but this helps you to expand your client base because you don't have to "wish" for kids to have crooked teeth. Sometimes adults just didn't have the money to get their teeth straightened when they were kids. Now, you can offer an option to adult patients without them feeling embarrassed about their teeth.
Plus, some adults can use "invisible braces" and mouthguards that work the same as metal braces, but are not visible while you're wearing them. This brings in another set of clients for the Orthodontist and offers adults another way to get straight teeth.
Because Orthodontists typically deal with children they might make an excellent Pediatric Dentist because their dealings with children have allowed them a way to work better with kids than a "normal" Dentist. Not many Orthodontists do this kind of work, but if you worked in a small community it may be to everyone's benefit to have their Orthodontist and Dentist be the same person. (Plus, you could get your Dental School degree in Dental Surgery and do THAT too!)
The Orthodontist might be scary, but they mean you no harm and might be able to work with you from childhood all the way through adulthood if they want to have a regular client base. There are no limitations on Orthodontists, and easy ways for them to make more money AND enjoy their career.