It’s shocking, but most orthodontists aren’t board certified. In fact, only 33 percent are — it’s not required to practice orthodontics.
Being board certified, or re-certified, is optional. Always ask orthodontists if they are board certified, and you can quickly gauge just how committed they are to their practice.
Getting board certification is the final step in a long and comprehensive educational journey. To be certified, an orthodontist has to tackle hundreds of extra hours of study and training. Next, they have to prove (through testing) that they have the skills, knowledge and expert judgment to provide premium patient care.
The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO), the only specialty board that’s recognized by the American Dental Association, offers the certification. The ABO also is affiliated with the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO).
According to the AAO, children should see an orthodontist by at least age 7, even if their teeth look straight. But your general dentist may refer your child to an orthodontist when he or she is much younger.
Still, there’s no such thing as too old for orthodontics, and more adults are getting braces and Invisalign than ever before. Today, orthodontists are seeing a big increase in adult patients, often because they missed out on the opportunity as children.
Seeing a board-certified orthodontist, for yourself or your child, is one of the simplest ways to ensure you’re in good hands. All orthodontists must have their DDS or DMD (doctor of dental surgery or doctor of dental medicine), as well as a residency in an accredited orthodontic program (this takes an extra two to three years).
These residencies are highly competitive. Still, going that last extra mile for certification shows that an orthodontist is passionate about his or her work.
A Long Way to the Top
After getting their bachelor’s degree, prospective dental students must pass the DAT (dental acceptance test), then apply to dental school. Dental school, where they get their doctorates, takes up to four years. To qualify to practice general dentistry, they must pass national and local tests/certifications.
At this point, at least eight years of schooling have been completed — but orthodontists choose to attend an orthodontics program for up to three more years. Their residency — another three years — follows this training.
However, for board certification, they then must pass the ABO written exam and a case submission at a clinical exam. Finally, they tackle a peer review with a clinical outcome.
To get the best orthodontic care in your region, contact Johnson Elite Orthodontics today.