When it comes to getting specialty dental work performed, your regular dentist will likely refer you to an orthodontist. An orthodontist is different from a dentist because they have the experience and training to focus on issues like straightening teeth and correcting bites. Most people don’t think much about their dentist’s qualifications, so it can seem easy to ignore these for your orthodontist as well. However, it’s extremely important to choose the right orthodontist, just as you would any other medical professional.
As you look, you’ll start to notice that there are two main categories of orthodontists. These are board certified and non-board certified. While it makes initial sense to go with the orthodontist who is board-certified, it can still be helpful to understand what you’re getting from each category.
What Does Board Certified Mean?
It’s important to note that not all orthodontists choose to be board certified. This certification is done on a voluntary basis by the individual. The board that orthodontists answer to is the American Board Of Orthodontics, or ABO. The board evaluates each orthodontist who voluntarily applies to be board certified.
During this evaluation, each orthodontist undergoes a rigorous demonstration of their abilities. They have to bring actual detailed case reports of treating a variety of orthodontic issues at their practice to the board. Each person applying to be board-certified will need to showcase their knowledge, judgment, and clinical skills to a highly-respected panel of examiners.
The Four Main Objectives Of The ABO
The American Board Of Orthodontics utilizes four main objectives when evaluating candidates for board certification. Each one is aimed at enhancing the individual’s standard of practice of orthodontia. These goals are:
- Evaluate Knowledge And Clinical Skills By Conducting Exams
- Continued Re-Evaluation Of Knowledge And Skills For Recertification Exams
- Develop Quality Continuing Education Programs In Orthodontics
- Promote Certification Expertise Throughout The Globe
Getting Certified Takes Time
As the board certified experts at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics know, it can take five to ten years for the initial process of certification! After certification has been granted by the ABO, each orthodontist must be recertified every ten years to maintain their status.
Having the title of Diplomate of the American Board of Orthodontics is a long way of saying “board certified,” but it’s something you can look for as you search for an orthodontist. Dental professionals who reach this title have undergone voluntary examination by their peers, meaning they’ve had their knowledge and clinical skills properly tested and continue to pursue proficiency in their knowledge going into the future.
Board Certification Isn’t Mandatory
As you’ve likely determined by now, board certification is not mandatory to practice in the orthodontic field. In fact, only about one third of orthodontists practicing in the United States are actually board certified. This sets those who are certified well apart from the rest in their field.
Given the choice of whether or not to choose a board-certified orthodontist, it simply makes sense to do so. They’ve proven to have the right knowledge and clinical skills in their field. And, the best part is that they continue to learn and practice as they’re required to get re-certified. As with everything, it comes down to making the best possible choice for your health and dental wellbeing.
Is Our Orthodontist Board-Certified?
Yes! Dr. Meagan Struby is a board-certified orthodontist with over 15 years experience.
Schedule a Consultation
Our team of board certified dentists and orthodontists are excited to meet and begin achieving your dental goals with the right treatment plan for you. To get started, we invite you to contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online form.