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Are All Orthodontists Board-Certified?
No. All practicing orthodontists are licensed, but only about 30% of all orthodontists are Board Certified as well. Becoming a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics is a unique achievement.
The current certification process requires the candidate to demonstrate meaningful accomplishments in patient care, including detailed case reports on the treatment provided for a wide range of patient issues. Board certification is an honor reserved for the most committed of candidates, as it follows a process by which an individual orthodontist is thoroughly examined by an expert panel in all matters pertaining to orthodontic knowledge and clinical skills.
What is the American Board of Orthodontics? Are there other recognized boards in orthodontics?
No. Currently, this is the only certifying board recognized by the American Dental Association for the specialty of orthodontics. Founded in 1929, the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is the oldest specialty board in dentistry. Objectives of the ABO include the evaluation of orthodontic standards and practices, as well as the assurance and certification of continued proficiency and excellence in the field.
If it’s not mandatory, why do orthodontists choose to become board certified?
Completing the rigorous process of board certification is a demonstration of excellence to both the general public and dental professionals everywhere. The certification is proof of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics. Moreover, it is a symbol of commitment by a licensed specialist that he/she has the knowledge and skillset to treat patients in accordance with the highest of standards. It proves to patients and the orthodontic community that the specialist is committed to staying abreast of the latest advances in patient care, and that he/she will continue to deliver these advances to all patients.
What does the board certification process entail?
Since the board’s founding in 1929, the certification process has undergone many changes. Currently, the process requires candidates to pass a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of information on which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable. Once he/she has passed the exam, the orthodontist must present detailed case reports, demonstrating a history of excellence in patient care. Examiners of the Board evaluate the reports during a Clinical Examination. Finally, an Oral Examination is given, testing the applicant on a wide variety of academic and clinical subjects. Certification is then awarded for a time-limited period. This requires the orthodontist to be re-examined on a periodic basis in order to maintain the board certified status.
For additional information regarding the American Board of Orthodontists, click here.