Challenges Facing Pediatric Dentistry Diplomates and the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry: Setting the Bar for Minimal Competency vs. Excellence.
Over the past two decades, the American Board of Pediatric Dentistry (ABPD) has admirably and conscientiously grappled with the dilemma of how to maintain the bar of clinical competency while vastly enhancing its membership numbers to pursue board certification. While it would be optimal to set the bar for achievement at the level of excellence, doing such excludes the bulk of practitioners as previously existed in health care during the previous half-century. The need to redefine what sufficiently constitutes merely an acceptable level of comprehension has become the rule rather than the exception by today’s standards.
Prior to 2002, the process of board certification in pediatric dentistry involved a rigorous four-part format which required a minimum of three to four years to complete. The initial or eligibility part began with an all-day written examination based and referenced from a well-conceived and lengthy 200 article reading list of classical and contemporary literature spanning all relevant and
related areas of pediatric dentistry. Upon completion of part 1, applicants were considered eligible to participate in the next three sections. Part 2 included freelance style oral examination by two peers over approximately one hour on any conceivable subject.
During a short interim between major changes in the two formats, applicants had the choice of taking the original format or the much-abbreviated revision. It became clear that advancing the
numbers in pursuit of certification would result and be attractive only in the direction of the abbreviated format. Hundreds of pediatric dentists now appear annually to pursue board certification unlike before with the more demanding and lengthy four-part format.
Pediatr Neonatal Nurs Open J. 2019; 6(1): e5-e7. doi: 10.17140/PNNOJ-6-e009