Oral Examination


The American Board of Periodontology has determined, in the interest of safety, to conduct the 2021 oral examination virtually. The application period for the 2021 oral examination is now closed.

2021 Oral Examination Session: May 3 - 7, 2021 and June 1 - 5, 2021

Oral Exam Testing RoomThe application deadline for the Oral Examination is October 31st. A completed Application Form, ABP Oral Exam Attestation Form, and ABP Oral Exam Credentials Form along with the non-refundable Examination fee of $2,100.00 must be received by the application deadline of October 31, 2020.  Applicants are encouraged to apply online. Applications for the Oral Examination will not be approved if candidate has not submitted evidence of completion of an ADA accredited program in Periodontics.  Evidence consists of a copy of the candidates certificate or an official letter signed by BOTH the program Director and the Dean (or equivalent administrative officer) that specifies "successful completion of an educational program in Periodontology, which is accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation".   Approved candidates will be scheduled for two 1.5 hour sessions on the same day.  Candidates who successfully complete the Oral Examination will be awarded time-limited certificates of six (6) years. Diplomate must complete Recertification in the sixth year or lose Diplomate status and will be required to begin the certification process again.  A one year extension period to complete Recertification may be requested due to extenuating circumstances (i.e. severe illness, etc).  Requests will be reviewed by the Directors for approval. Ultimately, granting of a one year extension is at the sole discretion of the Directors.

Approval Process

Oral Examination approved candidates will receive their schedule letter no later than February in the year of their exam.  Candidates will be scheduled for two 1 1/2 hour exam sessions conducted on the same day. Placement of candidates is on a first come/first serve basis. Ultimate placement of candidates is at the sole discretion of the Board. The American Board of Periodontology (ABP) will attempt to administer the Oral Examination as scheduled. Should the ABP cancel the Oral Examination or be prevented from appropriately administering or completing an Oral Examination at the appointed time and location, the ABP will not be responsible for any expense of the candidate in connection with the Oral Examination and any substitute Oral Examination.

Taking the Exam

Candidates must arrive and depart from the testing center via the ABP shuttle bus. The shuttle bus will pick up and return candidates at the Hilton North Hills, Raleigh, NC.  Candidates are responsible for making their own individual reservations.  After candidates receive their scheduled exam date from the Board office candidates may make their hotel reservations with the Hilton.  Reservations are based on availability, first come/first serve.  If rooms become unavailable at the Hilton or candidate prefers to stay at another hotel the candidate will need to arrive at the shuttle bus pick up location at the  to travel to the testing center.


Candidate registration and orientation will be held the same day as the exam prior to exam at testing center. Candidates are reminded that electronic devices; i.e. cell phones, pagers, etc. are NOT PERMITTED at the testing center. Candidates will be required to show photo i.d. at time of registration. Candidates who may have a name change may be permitted to take the exam, but must provide legal evidence of name change prior to receiving results of the exam. Candidates must arrive and leave the testing center via ABP shuttle bus transportation. Daily shuttle Transportation will be provided by the Board from the designated candidate hotel lobby to the Testing Center with return to the candidate hotel (Hilton North Hills).

Exam Format

All candidates must arrive and leave the testing center via shuttle transportation provided by the Board from the Hilton North Hills. ABP Directors and Examiners serve as Examiner teams at the Oral Examination. The examination follows a presentation, interview, and discussion format to evaluate the candidate’s diagnostic and therapeutic skills. Candidates may request information from the Examiners in order to answer questions.

The ABP will expect candidates to discuss the new classification system by Geurs et.al. published in the July 2015 Journal of Periodontology and approved in 2017.

Protocols developed by the Board form the basis of the testing process. Three protocols will be presented at each of the two 1 ½ hour session. Candidates will complete two 1 ½ hour sequential sessions (back to back) on the same day for a total of six protocols. Each session will be conducted by a team of two Examiners, for a total of four Examiners. Five of the six protocols will consist of a single case or procedure. Each will be graded in six skills : Diagnosis; Etiology; Prognosis; Treatment Plan; Therapy and Evaluation of Therapy; and Maintenance. The sixth protocol will consist of three ten (10) minute vignette protocols. These may include such topics as medical management, medical emergencies, periodontal or oral medicine, perio-pathology, post-op complications and management of failures. Each ten minute vignette protocol will be graded on two skills: Diagnosis and Therapy. This sixth protocol will therefore have six grades from each Examiner, which is the same number of grades as the other five protocols. Since the six grades for the vignette protocols are only in Diagnosis and Therapy catergories, these two categories will be slightly more weighted than the other four grading categories for the overall score.

Candidates will be taken back to the Hilton North Hills by shuttle transportation after their examination session is completed.

An example hypothetical protocol may be found here.

The ABP has put together a brief video to provide candidates with an idea of what the oral exam is like. All candidates are encouraged to watch this video prior to arriving onsite for their exam.


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