Board Certified Periodontist

69 – Board Certification

Hi there. You are listening to the Perio Patient Podcast, a podcast for my patients and anyone else who cares to listen. Dr. Ben Young here, and I am a periodontist in private practice here in beautiful San Antonio, Texas.

The title of this podcast is: About What it Means to be Board Certified

On the American Academy of Periodontology Website it says: All periodontists must complete an additional two to three years of specialized training in periodontics following dental school.

Let me stop here and say that I do not know of any periodontics residencies today that are two years. I could be wrong, but the additional year became necessary as our specialty became more focused on the surgical aspects of dental implants – this obviously involves their placement and management of dental implants that develop periodontal-like problems. That was the topic of my last podcast #68 in case you are jumping in here for the first time. Back to the statement about Board Certification:
However, some periodontists opt to take the board-certification examination, which is offered by the American Board of Periodontology once per year.
The point here is that board certification is optional. It comes following completion of training. Reading on:
Board certification in periodontology denotes someone who has made significant achievements beyond the mandatory educational requirements of the specialty, including demonstrating a comprehensive mastery of all phases of periodontal disease and treatment and in the placement of dental implants. Recertification is required every six years. I’ll tell you what, when you are going through the residency, it is not uncommon to wonder why it’s such a good idea to go through both the preparation as well as the stress of the examination process since it is not mandatory – and for some that is what
they decide to do. So let me give you my personal take.

My personal take is that it is very personal. If you are going through an intense training program, but one in many throughout the world, would you not like to know that your training was valid? Up to the point of graduation, you have been trained and examined by the same people. The Board Certification program puts you in front of the top researchers, the top educators and the top clinicians in the field of periodontics. I was
examined by more than one text book author for example.

Some of the people you meet are the people who wrote the most important articles that you read in school. Not only this, they are asking you questions. Sure, it is intimidating, but it is also immensely satisfying to come away knowing that you can hold your own and that the information that was poured into you over three years was at least digested enough by the time you take this examination for you to feel confident that you have a good grasp on the
subject. And should you not pass, it is not the end of the world.

That is something also very valuable to understand. I was fortunate enough to pass the first time, but can completely understand how things can go wrong in taking both the written portion of the examination or the oral examination. Now I no longer keep up with the current requirements for submitting cases, taking examinations and all the rest. In fact the board has sent me a nice reminder of my age recently with a certificate for having been a boarded periodontist now for over twenty-five years. But even though it is no longer a
concern of mine, I do remember clearly the nervousness I felt. But again, this passes and as is true with life in general, even if we fail at something, it is usually not the end of the world (alright I can think of some instances where it might be) but taking examination like this one simply in the bigger picture of things do not qualify.

Let me finally say as we end here that the re-examination process is frankly very useful.

It requires reading a current set of articles and taking essentially an open-book examination – in other words, the intent is not to pass and fail people it is to help them review and, in some instances, come up to date with newer concepts and material – it’s all good in my opinion. Ultimately, it helps our patients obtain the best care available – and that is why it is a good idea for specialists to seek and obtain board certification if at all possible.

Well, that’s what I have for you today – except to encourage you to go back and check out my website. It has been updated with the podcasts accessible more by topics. If you click on the different tabs – like finances and dental insurance – you will see what I mean.

This has been The Perio Patient Podcast and I am still Dr. Ben Young. Thanks for listening.

Have a great day. Bye for now.