Orthodontists diagnose and treat problems arising from the teeth and jaw. They are trained to identify future issues affecting a patient’s dental well-being. So, it suffices to say that being an orthodontist means much more than just straightening crooked teeth.
Certifications are an integral part of any career. And it is no different for an orthodontist. You may have heard of terms like “licensed orthodontist”, “board certified orthodontist”, “board eligible orthodontist,” and so on when looking up a reliable option in your vicinity.
It must have had you wondering what they are and if they matter. Let us find out.
What Does It Mean To Be a Board Certified Orthodontist?
There are three different categories of professionals in dentistry:
- A dentist
- A Licensed Orthodontist
- A Board Certified Orthodontist
All orthodontic practitioners are licensed. But not all orthodontists are board certified. It is a voluntary achievement. The majority of orthodontists do not pursue it. In fact, only a third of the orthodontists, about 33%, are certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO).
ABO was first established in the year 1929 with a mission to boost the quality of orthodontic care for the general public. The American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recognize the American Board of Orthodontics as the only orthodontic specialty board.
In order to be certified by the ABO, an orthodontist has to prepare, train, and present cases and go through a rigorous educational experience. He will be judged by expert panelists who meticulously examine the orthodontist on both theoretical and clinical knowledge.
An orthodontist must demonstrate an understanding of a broad range of dental problems with supporting case reports.
Board certification is a distinctive honour. It is a voluntary credential earned by an individual. It means that the orthodontist has vowed to uphold the standards of his chosen specialty through personal and professional commitment.
Board Certification does not stop at being a coveted status, but it facilitates excellence not just via mastery and professional collaboration.
Roadmap To Certification
The road to being a board certified orthodontist is long and arduous, requiring years of patience and commitment. It occurs in three stages:
- Completion of an undergraduate program (2-4 years)
- Passing Dental Acceptance Test (DAT)
- Graduation from accredited dental school (3-4 years)
- Obtaining a license after passing the relevant examinations (State and National)
- Acceptance to accredited Orthodontic program
- Completion of Orthodontic residency program (2-3 years)
Board Certified Orthodontist
- Completion of ABO written examination
- Completion of ABO clinical examination
- Peer review through clinical outcomes
- Obtain certification
- Renew certification every ten years to maintain a board-certified status
Why Choose an Orthodontist With an ABO Board Certification?
Having spent hours upon hours honing their skills through preparation, preparing relentlessly for the exams, being reviewed by experts, and eventually being certified proves an Orthodontist’s competency.
Achieving a board certified status in itself is a noteworthy achievement. Moreover, it provides the opportunity to gain valuable experience and expertise. It is a demonstration of an individual’s dedication to his craft.
A certificate of this caliber also demonstrates an orthodontist’s commitment to staying on top of the latest advancements in orthodontics by being a lifelong learner. All this translates to high standards of orthodontic care and ensures trust from valued patients.
Choosing a Board Certified Orthodontist
A board certified orthodontist should offer an individualistic and thorough approach to treatment. They must understand the complexity of teeth and jaw issues arising from growth and development irregularities.
They must not limit treatment to teeth alignment and movement but formulate restorative plans that address both jaws and bite.
Orthodontists are professionals too. Ultimately, it is better to stick with certified orthodontists who have undergone intensive training and have come out victorious in their chosen field.
A board certified orthodontist has focused their time, energy, and attention on gaining mastery over specific skills, making them experts in the subject. To be good at sprinting, you’d choose a professional sprinter to train with, not a triathlon athlete, won’t you?
When it comes to dental care, trust only the best. Consider your specific needs and always choose an expert.
The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) does not recognize the term “Board Eligible” used by some orthodontists. If you are unsure whether your preferred Orthodontist is Board Certified, you can use the ABO’s Orthodontist Locator.
What Is a Board Certified Orthodontist?
Dr. Bill Redmond is a native of Southern California, the son of an orthodontist and the husband of a general dentist. That makes family gatherings pretty interesting…if you like teeth!