Boca Raton Periodontist Dr. Fred Norkin explains the rigorous board certification process and how it makes him a better clinician.
After completing dental school at Tuft University, in Boston, Massachusetts, a general practice residency at the Miami Veterans Administration Hospital, in Miami, Florida, and a periodontal residency at Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, I went on to become board-certified. Becoming a board certified periodontist is essentially a two-step process. First, you take and pass a written examination, and the next step is an oral examination. At that point, the periodontist is board certified and becomes what is called a “diplomate” of the American Board of Periodontology.
Many people are surprised to learn that only about 50 or 60 percent of all practicing periodontists become board-certified. Every seven years diplomates must be recertified in our specialty through a written examination. This is the process we use to maintain our board certification.
The value of this voluntary and prestigious credential is that it forces us, as periodontists, to hone our specialty knowledge and make sure that we are current on all of the recent studies and scientific literature. We need to show that we are able to weave that knowledge into thoughtful, sensible treatment plans and outcomes for our patients.
There may be many ways to treat a patient or an individual problem, and I may not agree completely with another colleague. The board certification process essentially makes sure that different potential treatment plans put forth by various periodontists for particular case plans make sense. By constantly challenging ourselves to think through all the treatment issues in depth and be prepared to defend our conclusions in front of our colleagues, we help ensure that patients are getting the best we have to offer.
I know from experience that my commitment to board certification has caused me to sharpen my skills and stay on the leading edge of periodontal and dental implant treatment.
Dr. Frederic J. Norkin
South Florida Center for Periodontics & Implant Dentistry