May 2019 Volume LIV Number 3


An Update from the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry

May 2013 Volume XLVIX Number 3

 In order to produce valid and relevant certification/recertification processes, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) annually consults experts within and beyond our specialty, confers with other dental and medical specialty boards, surveys stakeholders, and modifies our examinations. We also modify protocols to assure the assessment and renewal processes are reliable and user-friendly.


ABPD bases the content of the Qualifying Examination on the educational standards for residency programs and the Oral Clinical Examination on the scope of practice of educationally-qualified specialists. Each year, the Board sponsors a workshop for the three examination subcommittees to facilitate development and review of test items. This year, a focus group ‘took’ the written examination prior to its finalization to help substantiate clarity, relevance, and correctness of each item, all the while confirming the breadth of the test. A new computer-based system for case development for the oral examination will facilitate a more expansive review of each clinical vignette prior to its use. Providing more meaningful feedback on examination performance for both successful and unsuccessful candidates is a goal for 2013.

The Renewal of Certification Process (ROC-P) addresses life-long professional growth and self-improvement to ensure that Diplomates continue to practice at the highest standards of professionalism. More than 98 percent of Time-limited Diplomates successfully completed their annual requirements in 2012. However, nearly two-thirds of those surveyed report logging into ABPDs website only when faced with a deadline. Waiting until the end of the year can preclude staff availability to assist with questions or technical issues. To better support Diplomates, ABPD has changed some timelines for the annual renewal processes. The deadline for reporting Continuing Education and completing Continuous Quality Improvement Modules is now November 30.


This modification will facilitate assistance when unforeseen circumstances arise near the end of the renewal cycle. Beginning October 1, annual credentialing requirements for the coming year can be completed online. Thus, in a single session, a Diplomate can finalize requirements for one year and renew for the following. These earlier timelines also will allow staff to verify certification status to hospital credentialing committees and other agencies before the end of the year a need expressed by many Diplomates.


At one time, becoming board certified was primarily for personal accomplishment. However, motivation may be changing. In a recent survey, 54 percent of responding Diplomates who have hospital privileges reported certification is required by those institutions. With health care reform, regulatory boards and agencies will have an increased interest in protecting the public and quality outcomes. Moreover, the American Association of Dental Boards (an organization representing state dental boards as well as Commission on Dental Accreditation, Council on Dental Education and Licensure, and Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations) has invited ABPD to participate in a forum on the importance of renewal of certification.


ABPD encourages all pediatric dentists to become board certified. Certification provides assurance to the public that a pediatric dentist has successfully completed accredited training and a voluntary examination process designed to continually validate the knowledge, skills, and experience requisite to the delivery of quality patient care.     

Jenny Ison Stigers, D.M.D.

President, ABPD