All about being a board certified orthodontist

Are all orthodontists Board Certified?

No. All orthodontists must be licensed to practice, but at this time only 1 in 3 orthodontists have Board Certification. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) certification process signifies a unique achievement.  It is a step beyond the years of advanced education it takes for a dentist to become a specialist in orthodontics. The process requires the orthodontist 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 achievement that all orthodontists do not choose to pursue. In order to become board certified by the ABO, an individual orthodontist will go through an examination by a highly respected panel of examiners to demonstrate their orthodontic knowledge, clinical skills and judgment.

american board of orthodontics pyramid

Why Choose A Board Certified Orthodontist

Orthodontics is more than just straightening teeth. Orthodontists understand the complexity of growth development and facial form. Treatment plans include issues related to the jaw and bite, not just movement of teeth. There’s a reason orthodontists go to additional years of highly competitive orthodontic school – to learn and perfect their ability in the specialty. A board certified orthodontist is one step above a licensed orthodontist.

A board certified orthodontist has shown commitment to providing the highest level of patient.  This is demonstrated in their examination with evidence of a comprehensive treatment plan and quality work. And board certified orthodontists must re-new their certification every 10 years to demonstrate their continuous commitment to excellence.

What is a Board Certified Orthodontist?

A board certified orthodontist is an orthodontist who has gone through hundreds of additional hours of preparation to demonstrate their judgment, skills and knowledge required for providing the highest level of patient care. They have achieved board certification through the American Board of Orthodontics ABO.  The American Dental Association recognizes the ABO as the only orthodontic specialty board.

An orthodontist must first graduate from a program in dentistry and receive their DDS or DMD.  Following that they complete a residency of an additional 2-3 years in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics.  Achieving board certification is the last step in a long and intensive educational experience to ultimately provide excellent patient care.

Why would an orthodontist complete this certification process?

Successful completion of the examination process demonstrates the orthodontist’s highest commitment to excellence in orthodontics – to both the orthodontic profession and the general public. It shows that a specialist has the necessary knowledge base and skills to treat patients to the highest of 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. Many orthodontists see it as a demonstration of their dedication to the specialty and the highest level of personal achievement.

Steps to complete the ABO certification process?

Since the establishment of the ABO in 1929, the certification process requirements have continued to adjust to the demands of the specialty. Today, the process involves a thorough Written Examination (240 questions) covering all areas of information which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable. Successful completion of this “board exam” allows the orthodontist to proceed to the Clinical Examination.  In the Clinical Examination the orthodontist presents detailed case reports demonstrating excellence in patient care from their practice. The orthodontist discusses the cases during an oral examination and must pass the oral test on academic and clinical topics. After successful completion of these examinations, the orthodontist has officially achieved Board Certification, for a time-limited period. Every 10 years a board certified orthodontist completes a renewal certification in order to maintain certification status.

wheaton board certified orthodontist
wheaton orthodontics abo logo

For further information about The American Board of Orthodontics and Board Certification, click here.