This year the American Board of Orthodontics conducted its first Scenario-Based Oral Clinical Examination and administered its final Traditional Case-Based Clinical Examination.

The ABO reports that the first scenario-based exam, implemented in February, went smoothly and received many positive reviews from examinees. A total of 181 orthodontists were certified/recertified during the exam. The examination had a 68 percent pass rate.
View the Certification/Recertification List from this Exam

Examinee comments included:

  • “Overall, I appreciate the ABO’s commitment to strive for excellence and improvement and would recommend any orthodontist take the new exam. I truly feel I have become a better orthodontist because of it.”
  • “Overall, the experience was humbling, inspiring and educational!”

The final Traditional Case-Based Clinical Examination took place in June, resulting in certification/recertification of a total of 66 examinees.
View the Certification/Recertification List from this Exam

Following these examinations, the ABO currently represents 46 percent of AAO members.

Next Three Certification Exams Have Filled to Capacity

The next Scenario-based Oral Clinical Examination will be in November 2019 and is filled to capacity with registration closed. Registration for 2020 opened on May 22, 2019 with a third examination added due to anticipated demand. To date, both the February and July 2020 examinations are at full capacity with registration closed.

The November 2020 examination is nearing capacity. For a complete update on the Scenario-based Clinical Examination, please read the article included in the June 2019 edition of the AJO-DO.

Exam Format Change Made after Thorough Research and Deliberation

The ABO Board of Directors first announced plans to change the traditional case presentation portion of the certification exam to a scenario-based system in a 2018 editorial in the AJO-DO. The written portion of the exam was to maintain the same format. The ABO Board cited a lengthy process of evaluation that indicated the requirement to present treated cases was a barrier to Board certification for many of today’s orthodontists. The Board noted a trend toward scenario-based exams among dental specialty boards in the United States and Canada.

The AAO Board of Trustees subsequently endorsed the change to the scenario-based ABO clinical exam.

ABO Offers Resources for Prospective Examinees

Visit the ABO website for complete details on how to prepare for the Scenario-based Oral Clinical Examination, including an Examination Study Guide and ABO Sample Cases.

If you have questions or are interested in learning more about the board certification process, please contact the ABO at or call 314-432-6130.