Board Certified Orthodontist
What does it mean to be a Board Certified Orthodontist, Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics?
Dentist

All dentists and orthodontists begin in the same place after completing their undergraduate degrees. After passing the dental acceptance exams, they go on to dental school, and once graduated, will take state and national licensing exams. Once passed, a dentist may begin practicing right away.

Orthodontist

A dentist who wants to be an orthodontist, however, must complete additional steps before before being named an orthodontist. He or she must be accepted into an accredited orthodontic program and complete an orthodontic residency, which can take an additional three years. Once completed, the dentist is now an orthodontist.

Board-Certified Orthodontist

But about 25% -33% of orthodontists go one step further by becoming accredited by the American Board of Orthodontists. The accreditation process is voluntary, but requires hundreds of hours of dedication by the orthodontist to prove his or her dedication to providing the very best in orthodontic care.

ABO history

The American Board of Orthodontics was created in 1929 and is the oldest specialty board in dentistry. It was created to elevate the standards of practice in orthodontics, as well as to help familiarize the general public with the aims and ideals of the field, and protect the public against unqualified practitioners. The ABO is sponsored by the American Association of Orthodontists and is the only specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association.

  • To evaluate the knowledge and clinical skills of graduates of accredited orthodontic programs by conducting exams and conferring time limited certificates.
  • To re-evaluate clinical knowledge and skills through administration of recertification exams throughout a Diplomate’s career.
  • To support the development of quality graduate, postgraduate and continuing education programs in orthodontics.
  • To promote and encourage certification expertise throughout the world.
How an ortho becomes board-certified?

To become board certified, an orthodontist must pass a written exam, a clinical exam, and present real-life case studies to a peer review board. The written and clinical exams are rigorous, and every orthodontist must also undergo a comprehensive review of his or her credentials. The initial certification process can take between five and ten years to complete, and then the orthodontist must become recertified every ten years to retain the status.

A board certified orthodontist is also known as a Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontists. This designation indicates that the orthodontist has voluntarily been examined by his or her peers, and signifies a pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics.

Board certification shows patients that an orthodontist is committed to the highest level of patient care that includes a comprehensive approach to treatment.

ABO Pyramid
Board certification shows patients that an orthodontist is committed to the highest level of patient care that includes a comprehensive approach to treatment.

Undergraduate Degree

Dental Acceptance Test

Dental School

State & National Licensing Exams

Undergraduate Degree

Dental Acceptance Test

Dental School

State & National Licensing Exams

Accredited Orthodontic Program

Orthodontic Residency

Undergraduate Degree

Dental Acceptance Test

Dental School

State & National Licensing Exams

Accredited Orthodontic Program

Orthodontic Residency

Completion of ABO Written Exam

Case Submission & Completion of ABO Clinical Exam

Peer Review