Board Certification

What is the American Board of Orthodontics?

The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) was founded in 1929 and is the oldest specialty board in dentistry. Today, it is the only certifying board recognized by the American Dental Association for the specialty of Orthodontics. Key objectives of the ABO are to elevate the standards the practice of orthodontics, and to certify continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics

Is Every Orthodontist Board-Certified?

No. Certification as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics signifies a unique achievement—a large step beyond the two to three years of advanced education required for a dentist to become a specialist in orthodontics. The current procedure requires the candidate to demonstrate actual accomplishments in patient care with detailed case reports on the treatment provided for a broad range of patient problems. Board certification is a voluntary process by which an individual orthodontist is thoroughly examined by an expert panel as to orthodontic knowledge and clinical skills.

If Board Certification is voluntary, why would an orthodontist become board certified?

The passage of the examination process is a demonstration to the dental profession and the general public of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics. It is a representation of a commitment by a licensed specialist that he/she has the necessary knowledge base and skills to treat patients to the highest standards. It exemplifies a practitioner’s commitment to continue to keep abreast of the latest advances in patient care, and to continue to deliver these latest advances to patients.

What is the process by which orthodontists may become board certified?

Since its founding in 1929, the process has changed numerous times. Today, the process involves a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of information on which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable. Successful passage allows the orthodontist to then present detailed case reports, which demonstrate a history of excellence in patient care. These cases are evaluated by expert examiners of the Board during a Clinical Examination. An Oral Examination in then given, and the applicant is tested on a wide variety of academic and clinical topics. Certification is then awarded for a time-limited period and the orthodontist must re-examine on a periodic basis to maintain the board certified status.

For further information on the American Board of Orthodontists, click here.

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