Craniofacial Examination



  1. Graduate of an advanced specialty education program in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics accredited by CODA.
  2. Successful completion of the ABO Written Exam.
  3. Must be 0.6 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) or greater in a recognized or approved craniofacial program or craniofacial team practice. Affidavit for Craniofacial Examination
  4. Requires prior approval of the board. To request approval, please complete the Petition for Craniofacial Examination and email to


Components and Criteria


  1. Board Case Oral Examination (BCOE)
  2. Case Report Examination (CRE) for a total of six (6) cases each with a DI of ten (10) or greater selected from the required Case Categories described below. A combination of the Initial Certification Examination and the Craniofacial Examination is permitted provided a minimum of four cases from Case Categories 1-4 are submitted and meets the following requirements:
  • A minimum of four cases must have a recognized craniofacial deformity
  • Must bring one case from EACH Category 1-4. 
  • Additional cases MUST come from categories 1-4, OR may be fulfilled by a First Phase Case; however, only one First Phase Case may be submitted.
  • Must have at least one orthognathic surgery case, but no more than four.  


  1. Case Report Oral Examination (CROE)

  *Click Here for information about CE Credits issued by the ABO


Case Categories


  1. Complete Alveolar Cleft: Comprehensive orthodontic treatment beginning in the transitional or permanent dentition.
  2. Class II or Class III: Comprehensive treatment of a craniofacial case with at least bilateral end-on or unilateral full step Class II or III (may be an orthognathic surgery case)
  3. Space Management/Closure Case: Comprehensive orthodontic treatment of a case with four quadrants of space closure. Management of space closure in four quadrants where teeth were extracted or missing.
  4. Multi-disciplinary: One craniofacial case that is treated to completion. May be prior to final dental restorations. 
  5. First Phase Case: First Phase of treatment in the primary or transitional dentition involving active orthodontic mechanics (not solely alveolar molding).  This category is only available for submission if one is submitting more than four total craniofacial cases.
  6. Optional: This category can be satisfied by an additional case from categories 1-4.


Patient Source


Recent Graduate (Within 24 months after graduation) - may submit cases solely treated by the examinee from residency, clinical orthodontic practice or combination of both. Residency cases submitted for clinical examination must have been treated within the advanced specialty education program in orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics under CODA standards. Affidavit for Recent Graduates required.


Clinical Craniofacial Practitioner (More than 24 months after graduation) - must submit cases solely treated by examinee from a recognized or approved craniofacial program or craniofacial team practice.


  • If initially submitting less than three cases, the following form must be submitted: Exam Exception Request Form
  • All cases must have been entirely treated, from appliance placement through appliance removal, by the examinee. If the examinee is a recent graduate, residency cases submitted must have been under the direct supervision of a clinical instructor in a CODA approved orthodontic program.*
  • Active treatment ends when the examinee removes the appliances and places the patient in retention.


* Exception: Full-time orthodontic educators, who have met all other requirements, may present a maximum of three (3) cases that the educator directly supervised while teaching within the CODA approved orthodontic program where the treatment took place. The supervised case(s) may not include a case that has been, or will be, presented to the ABO by a resident of the orthodontic program.  An Affidavit (from the Program Director and/or Chairperson) is required to assure that the cases presented meet these requirements.



Banking Process


Cases presented which are evaluated as Complete will be “banked”, or documented, at the ABO central office. The examinee will have ten (10) years and two (2) more attempts to collect the balance of cases, with a minimum of four (4) cases from Case Categories 1-4 being submitted. Residency cases may only be used towards balance if the cases are submitted within the 24 month period after graduation.


  1. The examinee will register for a future exam and submit the balance of cases for evaluation, by mail, if:
  • at least three (3) cases are Complete
  • If Recent Graduate, includes at least one (1) case with a DI of 20 or greater. If Clinical Craniofacial Practitioner, includes at least two (2) cases from Categories 1-4 above.
  • at least one orthognathic surgical case
  • the BCOE is Complete.

2. The examinee will register for a future exam and return in person with the balance of cases if:

  • less than three (3) cases are complete
  • three (3) cases are complete, but do not include one case with DI of 20 or greater for the Recent Graduate, or two (2) cases from Categories 1-4 above for the Clinical Craniofacial Practitioner.  
  • the BCOE is incomplete.

3. The examinee is not certified until six (6) cases with a minimum of four (4) cases from the Case Categories are complete within the allowable time frame.

4. If no cases are complete, or requirements are not fulfilled within the allowable time frame, the examinee may submit a new registration at any time and present six entirely new cases.