ABO Certified

American Board of Orthodontics Doctor Certification

The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) was founded in 1929. It is the oldest and most prestigious specialty board in dentistry.

The Board upholds four main objectives supported by its mission:

  • 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

Becoming Board Certified

To become board certified, an orthodontist has to pass a rigorous set of written and clinical examinations, as well as a comprehensive review of his or her credentials. The initial process of becoming board certified can take anywhere from five to ten years. Once certified, the orthodontist must become recertified every ten years to maintain board-certified status.

Why would an orthodontist choose to complete this voluntary 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 represents a commitment by a licensed specialist that he/she 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.  

Are all orthodontists Board Certified?

No.  All orthodontists must be licensed to practice, but at this time only 1 in 3 orthodontists have continued on to complete Board Certification.  The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) certification process signifies a unique achievement—a significant step beyond the two to three years of advanced education required 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 is thoroughly interviewed by a highly respected panel of examiners to demonstrate their orthodontic knowledge, clinical skills and judgment.  

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