Dr. Conn answers FAQs about the importance of board certification in the field of orthodontics
Across the United States, most patients have several choices of highly-qualified orthodontists when they are ready for their Invisalign or braces treatment. There are many important considerations that go into selecting an orthodontist, but a particularly meaningful distinguishing credential is whether an orthodontist is Board certified. In this article, we provide some responses to frequently-asked-questions about Board certification.
No. All orthodontists must be licensed to practice, however Board certification is a voluntary achievement that all orthodontists do not choose to pursue.
In order to become Board certified by the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), an individual orthodontist is thoroughly tested to demonstrate their orthodontic knowledge, clinical skills and judgment. The most fair, reliable and valid testing methodology is utilized to test clinical proficiency in an objective manner. The 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.
Successful completion of the examination process demonstrates the orthodontist’s personal commitment to excellence in orthodontics – to both the orthodontic profession and the general public. 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 professional achievement.
Since the establishment of the ABO in 1929, the certification process requirements have continued to adjust to the demands of the specialty. Today, the process involves a thorough Written Examination (240 questions) covering all areas of orthodontics and dental facial orthopedics, which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable about. Successful completion of this Board examination allows the orthodontist to proceed to the Scenario-based Clinical Examination where they are objectively evaluated on their knowledge, abilities and critical thinking skills based on proficiency and clinical excellence in four core performance areas/domains. Both examinations take significant preparation and time. After successful completion of these examinations, the orthodontist has officially achieved Board certification, for a limited time period. The orthodontist must go through Certification Renewal every 10 years to maintain their certification status by demonstrating this continued level of patient care.
Just One. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is the only certifying board in the specialty that is recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards as the national certifying board for Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics. 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.
Only some orthodontists choose to take the extra step to become Board certified. So before you visit an orthodontist, ask them if they’re Board certified.
Karen Conn, DMD, MS is a Board-certified orthodontist and co-owner of Bryn Mawr Orthodontics (Bryn Mawr, PA), where she specializes in Invisalign and braces for children, teen sand adults. She has been recognized as a Philadelphia Magazine Top Dentist, SuburbanFamily Top Orthodontist, and is among the nation’s top 1% of Invisalign providers. Dr. Conn received her undergraduate and doctorate degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her residency in Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics at Temple University, where she also earned a master's degree in Oral Biology.
Bryn Mawr Orthodontics serves its neighbors in Bryn Mawr, Gladwyne, Villanova, Ardmore,Haverford, Wynnewood, Narberth, Radnor, Penn Valley, Bala Cynwyd, Merion, Wayne, and the entire Main Line.