Initial Certification Examination


-Successful completion of ABO Written Examination.

-Graduate of an advanced specialty education program in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics in the United States or Canada, accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

  • Examinees participating in extended programs will be required to complete their program prior to being eligible to take the Clinical Examination.
  • Examinees with concerns about expiring visas, passports or travel restrictions are advised to contact their International Student Advisory Office at their University.

  *Click Here for Craniofacial Eligibility Requirements

 *Click Here for information about CE Credits issued by the ABO


Components and Criteria


1. Board Case Oral Examination (BCOE)

2. Case Report Examination (CRE) - A total of six (6) cases that meet the following criteria:

  • Three (3) cases with a DI of twenty (20) or greater, and three (3) cases with a DI of ten (10) or greater
  • At least one (1) non-orthognathic surgical case treated with four (4) quadrant extractions that demonstrates effective management of the extraction sites (identified as "Extraction Case").
  • At least one (1) non-orthognathic surgical case with bilateral end-to-end or greater Class II molar relationships present at the time of appliance placement. A unilateral full-step Class II molar relationship is also acceptable. The final treatment result should exhibit a Class I molar and canine relationship (identified as "Class II Case").
  • No more than one (1) case treated with orthognathic surgery (identified as "Surgical Case"). Note that a surgical case is not required. Any surgical case must include interim (pre-surgical) records.

3. Case Report Oral Examination (CROE)


Patient Source

 -All cases must have been entirely treated, from appliance placement through appliance removal, by the examinee. If the examinee is a recent graduate, residency cases submitted must have been under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor in a CODA approved orthodontic program.*


-Active treatment ends when the examinee removes the appliances and places the patient in retention.


-In cases of multi-phased treatment, the final phase of full treatment (appliance placement to appliance removal) administered by a single resident is acceptable.


Recent Graduate (Within 24 months after graduation) - may submit cases solely treated by the examinee from residency, clinical orthodontic practice or combination of both. Residency cases submitted for clinical examination must have been treated within the advanced specialty education program in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics under CODA standards. Affidavit for Recent Graduates required


Clinical Orthodontic Practitioner (More than 24 months after graduation) - must submit cases solely treated by examinee from clinical orthodontic practice.


* Exception: Full-time orthodontic educators, who have met all other requirements, may present a maximum of three (3) cases that the educator directly supervised while teaching within the CODA approved orthodontic program where the treatment took place. The supervised case(s) may not include a case that has been, or will be, presented to the ABO by a resident of the orthodontic program.  An Affidavit (from the Program Director and/or Chairperson) is required to assure that the cases presented meet these requirements.


Banking Process
Examinee may initially submit less than six cases for the Clinical Exam.  If less than three cases are initially submitted, the following form must be completed: Exam Exception Request Form

Cases presented which are evaluated as Complete will be “banked”, or documented, at the ABO central office. The examinee will have ten (10) years and two (2) more attempts to collect the balance of cases. Residency cases may only be used towards balance if the cases are submitted within the 24 month period after graduation.


  1. The examinee will register for a future exam and submit the balance of cases for evaluation, by mail, if:
  • at least three (3) cases are Complete
  • and includes at least one (1) case with a DI of 20 or above
  • and the BCOE is Complete.

2. The examinee will register for a future exam and return in person with the balance of cases if:

  • less than three (3) cases are complete
  • three (3) cases are complete, but do not include one (1) case with a DI of 20 or  above
  • the BCOE is incomplete.

 3. The examinee becomes Board Certified when the BCOE and six (6) cases are Complete within the allowable time frame.

4. If no cases are complete, or requirements are not fulfilled within the allowable time frame, the examinee may submit a new registration at any time and present six entirely new cases.