The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) appreciates Dr Jorgensen’s enthusiastic recommendations to address the challenges faced by the orthodontic specialty (Jorgensen G. Rethinking American Board of Orthodontics certification: a paradigm shift. Am J Orthod Dentofacial Orthop 2017;151:1-2). The Board supports efforts to unify the orthodontic specialty by differentiating orthodontists from general dentists and to inform the public of that distinction.
As noted in the ABO’s article in this issue of the Journal , “New certification renewal options of the American Board of Orthodontics,” the Board continues to respond to our specialty’s changing environment in numerous ways. Considerable input for these changes is based on open dialog with orthodontic educators in regularly scheduled Educator Symposiums. This collaboration is intended to ensure that the ABO’s written and clinical testing methods meet both the needs of the residents and the expectations of the educators. Additionally, the ABO’s written and clinical examinations are developed and administered by numerous educators who comprise the ABO’s examination committees. The structure of the examination process therefore depends on contributions from those who mold our future colleagues. Based on the input from the educators, as well as review of the certification requirements of other dental and medical specialties, a new noncase-based examination is now offered for certification renewal.
The ABO is also surveying American Association of Orthodontists members to determine which board certification requirements are most realistic, as well as to solicit recommendations for future changes in the certification process.
The Board fully supports the idea of certifying orthodontic residents at graduation or soon thereafter. The innovative changes enacted by the Board in 2005 that enable residents to do so are ample testimony of that commitment. The ABO continues to work diligently to promote participation in the Initial Certification Examination (ICE) of all orthodontic residents within 2 years of their graduation. Only 1 case is presently required for enrollment in the ICE process to start the “banking” process and to engage the new graduate in the certification process.
The ABO certification process continues to evolve, thanks to the feedback from orthodontists and educators, and in response to the changing health care environment.
As stated by Dr Jorgensen, change does not happen overnight, however, and the ABO welcomes any suggestions and all opportunities for collaboration to meet our specialty’s future challenges.