About Board Certification

Are all orthodontists Board Certified?

No.  All orthodontists must be licensed to practice, but at this time a little over half of all orthodontists have continued on to complete Board Certification. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) certification process is a valuable and unique achievement and signifies passion a step beyond typical orthodontic schooling. The process of getting board certified requires the orthodontist to show detailed case reports that prove actual accomplishments in patient care and demonstrate a  wide variety of treatments provided for a broad range of patient problems. Board certification is voluntary, and not all orthodontists choose to take the extra step. In order to become board certified by the ABO, an individual orthodontist is thoroughly interviewed by a highly respected panel of examiners to demonstrate their orthodontic knowledge, clinical skills, and judgment.

How many certifying boards are recognized by the American Dental Association in the specialty of orthodontics?

One. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is the only certifying board in the specialty that is recognized by the American Dental Association. The ABO was founded in 1929 and is the oldest specialty board in dentistry. The board’s purpose is to elevate the quality of orthodontic care for the public by promoting excellence through certification, education, and professional collaboration.

Why would an orthodontist choose to complete this voluntary certification process?

Completing the ABO certification process is a source of pride for many orthodontists because it demonstrates exemplary dedication to the field and a passion for helping patients. Excellence in orthodontics depends on continuous education and commitment. The ABO certification shows that a practitioner possesses the skills and desire to remain a leader in orthodontics and to serve patients with state-of-the-art modernized orthodontic care. 

What steps are required to complete the ABO certification process?

The process for board certification is rigorous and requires expertise and dedication. Since its establishment in 1929, the ABO continues to update and change its certification process to fit the demands and advances within the orthodontic specialty. The first step toward board certification is a 240 question written exam. Upon passing this exam, orthodontists move on to a clinical examination. During the clinical examination, the doctor presents case studies and records from their career and residency showcasing a wide variety of excellence in patient care. After panel evaluation and decisions, a certification may be awarded. 

ABO certification is given for ten years. After ten years, the orthodontist can choose to go through certification renewal to show continued dedication to the ABO standard of excellence in patient care. 

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