Do you need to be certified by a professional organization to become an orthodontist? The answer is no. Orthodontists don't need to be board-certified to practice their trade. All they need is a license from the state in which they practice. However, board-certified orthodontists have demonstrated their achievements in patient care and have passed an interview conducted by expert examiners.
To become an orthodontist, you must first obtain a bachelor's degree. After that, you must obtain a professional degree in dentistry. After four years of dental school, you must follow a graduate training program or an orthodontic residency. Once you have completed the educational requirements, you must apply to the state licensing board for a license.
Licensing requirements vary from state to state. Board certification is voluntary, so if an orthodontist has gone through the process, it shows that they are passionate about keeping up with their education. Examinees in the certification process who have three or more cases “on file” have two options for completing the board certification process. Plus, all orthodontists can now go through the certification process regardless of their practice environment and where they are in their career. Becoming an orthodontist requires two to three more years of education before obtaining a certification in orthodontic care. Only one-third of orthodontists choose to complete board certification, but it is a rigorous voluntary achievement that demonstrates an ongoing mastery of orthodontics and a commitment to lifelong learning. Certification by the American Board of Orthodontics is not mandatory for obtaining licenses.
When deciding which orthodontist to choose for yourself or your child's teeth, you may be faced with an ABO Board-certified candidate. An orthodontist who has completed the certification process already has years of experience in the dental industry. The renewal of the certification provides an opportunity for board-certified orthodontists to continue training, stay up to date on the latest technologies, and reevaluate their approach and critical case evaluation.