If you want to become an orthodontist, you must first become a dentist. This requires completing college and spending four years in dental school. If you know you want to pursue this career path by the end of high school, there are combination dental programs that reduce the number of years needed to go to college and study dentistry. After completing an orthodontic residency, you must pass the national dental board exam and meet the state licensing requirements of the state in which you intend to practice. Examinees who have three or more “archived” cases have two options to complete the board certification process.
They can either take the written examination or submit additional cases for review. Both options require a fee and must be completed within a certain time frame. Maintaining your orthodontic certification requires completing continuing education courses and submitting case reports every two years. You must also pass a written examination every five years. The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) provides resources and guidance for orthodontists who are looking to maintain their certification.