Dental Certifications and Their Meanings

Feb 13, 2021

We’ve all seen those letters after the names of our dentists, but do you know what they mean? Dentists undergo a rigorous education before licensure, and most continue training throughout their entire careers. For those not in the dental field, it isn’t easy to distinguish what each certification or accreditation means, so we’ve made it simpler. We’ll break down each of them, what it takes to achieve, and how that affects the care you receive at DeJesus Dental Group.

Degrees in Dentistry

The most common professional degree in dentistry is the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). Some universities instead offer a DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry). While they do have different names, the educational requirements are the same.

Those requirements of becoming a DDS or DMD are demanding. Aspiring dentists generally go through at least four years of undergraduate education. Then, they move on to four years of dental school. Here, students participate in classroom lessons as well as clinical training and labs. Upon completion of their degrees, they must pass both a written exam for national certification.  Additionally, they must pass a regional or state exam to receive a license to practice. Licensure isn’t finite either. To remain knowledgeable on new technology and research, dentists have to undergo continuing education throughout their careers to keep their license

ICOI Advanced Credentials

Some dentists choose to practice as a DDS or DMD and never acquire advanced credentials. Others choose to seek to pursue credentials from the International Congress of Oral Implantologists (IOCI). The congress offers three levels of advanced certification, specifically in regards to dental implants.  Each level involves strict requirements. For example, to achieve the status of fellow (FICOI), dentists must complete at least 100 hours of education on implants, show proof of completion of 20 dental implants, and submit a letter of recommendation from someone already within the ICOI community. The documentation of implants performed must be highly detailed, showing dates, type of implant, and current status of the implant. Fellows must be proficient in several types of implant dentistry procedures. 

Dr. Philip DeJesus reached fellowship status in 2013 and maintains this status today. Maintenance requires attendance at an ICOI event every three years as well as accumulation of 100 hours of “implant education” upon achieving fellowship.

Recognitions from the Academy of General Dentistry 

The AGD is a professional association dedicated to the continuous improvement of general dentistry through education and advocacy. They educate and support both dental professionals and their patients. The AGD offers two distinctions for dentists passionate about continuous learning in their field – Fellow and Master. Both are prestigious, but mastership demands the most in terms of educational requirements.

Along with Dr. DeJesus, the esteemed status of Master of the Academy of General Dentistry (MAGD) is also held in our office by Dr. Benjamin Schultz. Less than 2% of dentists hold this status in the United States. It requires completing more than 1,100 hours of continuing education and an additional exam that many say is just as difficult as boards themselves. MAGD status shows a strong commitment to staying abreast of the latest technology and techniques in dentistry to serve patients with innovative and top-quality care.

Certifications from The American Board of Orthodontics

For dentists choosing to specialize in orthodontics, the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is the most highly recognized orthodontic specialty board. Certification from them signifies the utmost commitment to quality patient care in orthodontics. To become board certified, like Dr. Isaak Yelizar, orthodontists must pass both a written and clinical exam. Like other certifications in dentistry, renewal of this requires continuing education and passing further exams throughout your career.

In addition to certification, the ABO offers a wealth of resources for orthodontic professionals and serves as an educator and advocate for everyone in the industry.  

Commitment to Care from DeJesus Dental Group

By simply discovering the requirements for these advanced certifications in dentistry, it’s clear the commitment the entire team of professionals at DeJesus Dental Group has to excellence in patient care. We stay up-to-date with the latest techniques and best practices in the industry to bring you the best dental care year after year. Whether you need a simple dental cleaning, are curious about orthodontic options, or are considering a full-mouth reconstruction, we are here to help. Each of our doctors welcomes the opportunity to meet with you and discuss your oral health and how we can help to improve it.  Contact us today to witness firsthand the DeJesus Difference.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this blog is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Consult a qualified dental professional to determine the best dental/orthodontic treatment for your needs.