What is a Board-Certified Orthodontist?
Dr. Pittman is a board-certified orthodontist and we have many patients that ask what exactly that means! We will discuss the process to becoming an orthodontist and as well as the board-certification process below.
If you’re in high school and thinking that you want to become an orthodontist. The first step is to attend college. It doesn’t necessarily matter the undergraduate degree but you will need to take certain pre-dental courses. You also must take the DAT (dental admissions test). Dental school is very competitive so you must work hard! You then will need to attend dental school for four years to obtain your DDS or DMD degree (doctor of dental surgery or doctor of dental medicine). You can practice as a dentist after dental school but if you choose to specialize, you must then apply and enter into a CODA-accredited specialty program. Orthodontics is one of the most competitive specialties in dentistry and requires an additional 2-3 years of training. Admissions look at your dental school grades, board scores, GRE scores, research, volunteering and extracurricular as they decide who will match in their program. By graduating from a CODA-accredited specialty program one is officially considered an orthodontist, different than a dentist who practices orthodontics or has limited their practice to orthodontics.
To become board-certified, there is an American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) written exam and clinical exam. This is a voluntary credentialing process that represents an orthodontist’s personal and public commitment to high standards of specialty practice and life-time learning. They require recertification every 10 years. Not all orthodontists choose to pursue board certification, but Dr. Pittman found that the process was a helpful process in pursuing excellence in clinic care. He also feels that the organization’s mission helps educate patients. He enjoyed the process, and in fact, one of his cases was selected to be displayed at an orthodontic convention!