Board Certified Orthodontist: Ensuring High-Quality Care and Expertise

July 28, 2023

Orthodontics is a specialized branch of dentistry that focuses on correcting misaligned teeth and jaws. As with any profession, it is essential to ensure that orthodontic practitioners possess the necessary skills and knowledge to provide the best possible care to their patients. Dr. Morgan Zwickel is committed to delivering excellent care and results to her patients. This is where the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) plays a crucial role. In this blog post, we will explore what the American Board of Orthodontics is, the significance of ABO certification, how board-certified orthodontists offer superior care, and the extensive educational path required to become an orthodontist.


What is the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO)?


The American Board of Orthodontics is the certifying board for the orthodontic specialty in the United States. Established in 1929, it is the oldest and most esteemed specialty board in dentistry. The primary objective of the ABO is to elevate the standards of orthodontic care by ensuring that practitioners meet rigorous educational and clinical requirements. Only around 30% of orthodontists are board certified. 


ABO Certification: A Symbol of Excellence


Achieving board certification from the American Board of Orthodontics is a significant milestone for orthodontists. Dr. Zwickel is one of the only board certified orthodontists in our area. It is a voluntary process that demonstrates an orthodontist's commitment to excellence and continuous learning. The certification process involves meeting stringent educational criteria, completing a written examination, and evaluation of orthodontic cases that are reviewed by expert examiners. Attaining ABO certification signifies that an orthodontist has gone above and beyond to demonstrate exceptional skills and knowledge in the field.


Enhancing Patient Care through Board Certification


Board-certified orthodontists bring a higher level of expertise and quality to their patients. Here are some key reasons why seeking treatment from a board-certified orthodontist is advantageous:


Rigorous Standards: Board-certified orthodontists have met the ABO's high standards in education, experience, and clinical skills. They undergo a comprehensive evaluation process, ensuring that they possess the knowledge and proficiency necessary to provide optimal orthodontic care.


Advanced Techniques and Technologies: ABO certification requires orthodontists to stay updated with the latest advancements in the field. Board-certified orthodontists are well-versed in cutting-edge techniques and technologies, enabling them to offer the most effective and efficient treatment options available.


Comprehensive Treatment Planning: Board-certified orthodontists excel in creating individualized treatment plans tailored to each patient's unique needs. Their expertise allows them to consider all aspects of orthodontic care, including aesthetics, functionality, and long-term oral health, ensuring the best possible outcomes.


Exceptional Results: The knowledge and experience gained through the board certification process enable orthodontists to consistently achieve excellent treatment results. Patients can trust that their orthodontist has the skills to deliver the desired outcome effectively and safely.


Years of Schooling to Become an Orthodontist


Becoming an orthodontist requires a significant commitment to education and training. On average, it takes approximately eleven years of post-high school education to become a board-certified orthodontist. The educational path typically involves the following steps:


Undergraduate Education: Prospective orthodontists must complete a bachelor's degree, usually in a science-related field. While specific majors are not required, courses in biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics are highly recommended. Dr. Zwickel obtained her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Medical and Agricultural Biotechnology from the University of Kentucky.


Dental School: Following completion of a bachelor's degree, aspiring orthodontists must attend dental school, which typically takes four years. Dental school provides a foundation in general dentistry and covers essential topics in oral health, diagnosis, and treatment planning. Dr. Zwickel obtained her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from LECOM School of Dental Medicine in Bradenton, FL.


Orthodontic Residency: After graduating from dental school, individuals interested in becoming orthodontists must apply and complete a Master’s of Orthodontics residency program. These programs typically last three years and focus exclusively on orthodontic theory, diagnosis, and treatment techniques. Dr. Zwickel obtained her Masters in Orthodontics from Seton Hill University in Greensburg, PA. 


Board Certification: After completing an orthodontic residency, orthodontists can pursue board certification through the American Board of Orthodontics. This involves passing written and clinical examinations to demonstrate proficiency and knowledge in the field. Dr. Zwickel successfully passed both portions of her American Board of Orthodontics exam. 




The American Board of Orthodontics plays a vital role in ensuring that patients receive the highest quality orthodontic care. Board certification from the ABO signifies an orthodontist's dedication to excellence, expertise, and ongoing professional development. Seeking treatment from a board-certified orthodontist ensures that patients receive comprehensive, individualized care backed by years of education and training. As a board-certified orthodontist with eleven years of post-high school education, Dr. Zwickel is committed to delivering exceptional orthodontic care and helping patients achieve healthy and beautiful smiles with confidence.

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(850) 244-3880

Fort Walton Beach, FL
824 Eglin Parkway NE

(850) 244-3880

DeFuniak Springs, FL
746 Baldwin Ave.

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