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About Certification

The mission of the American Board of Orofacial Pain (ABOP) is to enhance the quality of care and service provided to the public through certification of dentists in the field of Orofacial Pain.
The scope of knowledge necessary for the practice of Orofacial Pain was initially determined by a national practice survey of clinicians and teachers engaged in this field. In 1998, the original survey was refined by nationally recognized experts and reflected the most current clinical practice parameters. Recently, the American Dental Association, through the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA), has designated Orofacial pain as an advanced area of dental education and has developed educational standards for advanced general dentistry education programs in Orofacial pain. Working with CODA standards, a Core Curriculum in Orofacial Pain has been accepted as the basis for advanced Orofacial Pain programs throughout the United States. The standards for approval of these programs may be found on the following link, beginning with Standard 2-5 on page 15 of that document: http://www.ada.org/sections/educationAndCareers/pdfs/op_proposed.pdf
The purposes of the ABOP Certification Program are:

  • To determine the level of knowledge required for minimum competency in Orofacial Pain as defined by CODA, and to assess this level of knowledge in a valid manner.
  • To formally acknowledge individuals who achieve the level of knowledge set by the CODA Standards.
  • To enhance the quality of Orofacial Pain clinical care.
  • To advocate professional excellence in the management of Orofacial Pain.
To achieve these goals, the American Board of Orofacial Pain annually administers both a written and oral examination. Those who successfully pass this two-part examination, earn the designation of Diplomate of the American Board of Orofacial Pain with all the rights and privileges that come with that honor.


The Scope of Certification

The ABOP Certification Program has based the examination materials on the prevailing standard of Orofacial Pain management as defined by practice surveys and CODA Standards. The ABOP Board of Directors and Examination Council routinely collaborate with outside experts in relevant subject areas to formulate a certification process that will accurately reflect acceptable levels of scientific and clinical expertise in Orofacial Pain consistent with accepted legal and ethical principles recognized by the Board and CODA.

While the ultimate goal is improved patient care, no certification program can guarantee the competence of its Diplomates or treatment success. Due to rapid changes and advances in science and medical and dental knowledge, the ABOP does not certify that the examination will at all times represent the most current state of the art information in the field. The ABOP is receptive to any comments and constructive suggestions, whether from the profession or from the public at large.

The ABOP is not aligned with any professional organization and does not subscribe to any particular clinical construct.

The ABOP certification process is designed to conform to the joint technical standards on testing as set by the American Psychological Association.


Eligibility Requirements

Certification Examination candidates must fulfill ALL of the following requirements: 
1. You must have an unrestricted license to practice dentistry in one of the states of the United States of America, or have a military or full-time dental school faculty member exemption. Foreign applicants who do not practice in the United States are exempt from this requirement but must have an unrestricted valid license in their country of 
residence. All licenses must be current through the date of the examination. 

2. You must have accumulated at least 400 hours of Continuing Education credits focused specifically in Orofacial Pain or have completed at least a one year full-time training in a university or hospital based program in OFP. (As previously stated in this document, eligibility status does not apply to full time enrollment in orthodontic, oral surgery, oral medicine and other post-graduate programs in dentistry or medicine) 

3. Candidates who have completed a one or two-year full time Orofacial Pain management program should submit a letter from their program directors indicating their board eligibility status