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What is an Orthodontist?

In much the same way as doctors choose to specialize in areas such as cardiology and neurology, dentists can also choose to specialize.  Orthodontists are fully qualified dentists who embark on a further two to three years of university-based study and gain extensive clinical experience in an orthodontic residency program.  

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) is the regulating body for this branch of dentistry.  Selecting an orthodontist who is a member of this organization adds the assurance that treatment is being administered by an individual with specialty education in oral biology and biomechanics.  

A dentist who graduates from a specialty program becomes an orthodontic specialist who is eligible to become board certified through the voluntary examination process of the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). Involvement in the certification process is a demonstration of the orthodontist's pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence.

The certification process involves a thorough Written Examination covering all areas of information on which an orthodontist should be knowledgeable.  Successful passage allows the orthodontist to present treated cases which will be evaluated by expert examiners of the Board during a Clinical Examination.  Certification is awarded for a time-limited period and the orthodontist must be re-examined on a periodic basis to retain the board certified status.


If you have any questions about orthodontists and the treatments they provide, please contact our office.