Founded in 1929, the American Board of Orthodontics Doctor Certification (ABO) is the oldest and most prestigious specialty board in dentistry. The ABO aims to elevate the standards of the field of orthodontics, to be sure the public is familiar with both its aims and ideals, and to protect the public against unqualified practitioners.

The Board’s mission statement defines four main objectives:

  • 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 must pass rigorous written and clinical examinations and undergo a comprehensive review of his credentials. This process can take anywhere from five to 10 years, and once board certified, the orthodontist is required to update his certification every 10 years. Board certification signifies the orthodontist’s pursuit of proficiency and excellence in orthodontics. Never assume that a general dentist is qualified to provide proper orthodontic care.