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Choosing a specialist when seeking orthodontic treatment is important. Making this decision can be a challenge if you do not know the right questions to ask. The ABO would like to help you make a well-informed decision so that you can feel confident in the choice you make.


What is a Board Certified Orthodontist?

An orthodontist is a dentist who has not only completed a graduate program in dentistry to receive their DDS or DMD (Doctor of Dental Surgery or Doctor of Dental Medicine), but has also gone through a competitive residency at a CODA-accredited orthodontic program for an additional 2-3 years to be trained specifically in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics. 

ABO Board Certification is a voluntary credential that represents an orthodontist’s personal and public commitment to the standards of specialty practice and lifelong learning. The ABO Certification process requires the completion of peer-developed, externally validated written and clinical examinations. A Board Certified Orthodontist has reached this level of achievement by pursuing additional voluntary education and ongoing self- assessment. 

Board Certification is confirmation of an orthodontist’s personal commitment to providing lifelong quality patient care.

The American Board of Orthodontics is partnered with the American Association of Orthodontists and is recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards as the national certifying board for Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics.  

How to Choose An Orthodontist

The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommends that your child get a check-up with an orthodontist at the first recognition of the existence of an orthodontic problem, but no later than age 7.  However, you are never too old to benefit from orthodontic treatment. Adults represent a significant percentage of patients in most orthodontic practices.

Finding the right orthodontist is an important decision. We know you want the best care and an excellent result at an affordable price. The ABO wants to help you with this important and sometimes challenging process.

Orthodontist Locator

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  • Recommendations from your dentist, family and friends
  • Search for local board certified orthodontists on the Orthodontist Locator
  • Verify that recommendations are trained, orthodontic specialists
  • Refer to What is a Board Certified Orthodontist 
  • View Orthodontist’s website and patient reviews
  • Verify if the orthodontist is board certified by searching on the Orthodontist Locator
  • Ask the right questions to make a well informed decision – Refer to What to Ask Before You Choose
  • Discuss recommended approach for treatment and other treatment options
  • Review associated costs and discuss insurance coverage options

What to Ask Before You Choose

Finding the right orthodontist is a big decision. Knowing the right questions to ask will help you make a well informed decision.

Top Ten Questions:

  1. From which accredited Dental School did you graduate?
  2. Where did you complete your Orthodontic Residency Program?
  3. Do you only perform orthodontic treatment, or do you also offer general dentistry services such as root canals, cavity filings and extractions?
  4. What is the scope of the proposed treatment plan and possible consequences if we do not choose to move forward with one of these options now?
  5. Do you personally do all of the work on your patients (bend the wires, attach brackets, etc.) or will some of the work be completed by other associates? If so, what is their level of expertise?
  6. What are the practice office hours?
  7. How are treatment costs determined and what billing options will be made available to me?  What insurance plans to you accept?
  8. What should be expected as far as post-treatment follow up?
  9. Do you provide patient references?
  10. Are you a member of the American Association of Orthodontists and/or board certified by The American Board of Orthodontics?