The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is the only certifying board for orthodontics recognized by the American Dental Association. Founded in 1929, it is the oldest specialty board in dentistry. The ABO serves to protect the orthodontic specialty and distinguish orthodontists committed to lifelong learning and exemplary care. Successful completion of this rigorous examination process demonstrates a dedication to excellence in orthodontics.
While all orthodontists must be licensed to practice, board certification is a significant accomplishment beyond the two to three years of advanced specialty education following dental school required to become specialized in orthodontics. Only one in three orthodontists go on to become board certified marking a unique achievement. The certification process requires the orthodontist to complete hundreds of additional hours of preparation while showcasing the judgment, knowledge, and skills required for providing the highest level of patient care. The pathway to board certification requires passing a written examination covering all areas of orthodontic knowledge before applying to take a clinical examination of detailed reports of the orthodontist’s own cases. These cases are peer-reviewed and later discussed during an oral exam where the orthodontist must defend the diagnosis, treatment, and results as well as concepts in research, academics, and clinical practice in an interview by a panel of examiners consisting of some of the nation’s most highly-regarded orthodontists.