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Frequently Asked Questions  

How do I know when to begin my participation in Certification Maintenance?

The Certification Maintenance process begins immediately after initial certification with maintenance of a current unrestricted professional license and current hospital privileges. Current hospital privileges must permit the OMS to perform core procedures in oral and maxillofacial surgery. This information is gathered each year through the Annual Registration process. Three to five years prior to the expiration of Board Certification, a Diplomate should develop a plan to meet the Certification Maintenance and Performance in Practice requirements. Diplomates should also determine when to take the Recertification Examnation. If the Diplomate should fail to pass the Recertification Examination within the 10 year cycle, he/she will lose his/her Diplomate status when their certification expires. The ABOMS will attempt to notify a Diplomate when it is appropriate to begin the Certification Maintenance process. However, it is the Diplomate’s responsibility to seek out the information about the current requirements for the process.


How can I learn about changes to Certification Maintenance or requirements?

The Certification Maintenance process is subject to change, and it is the Diplomate’s responsibility to stay up-to-date on the process. The ABOMS will publish all changes to the Certification Maintenance process in its annual newsletter and on the ABOMS website, www.aboms.org. The ABOMS does not assume responsibility for notifying a Diplomate of changing requirements, or the impending loss of his/her certification.


If I don’t participate in Certification Maintenance what will happen?

A Diplomate with a time-limited certificate must participate in the Certification Maintenance process. If a Diplomate does not complete all components of the Certification Maintenance process, within the specified timeframe, may jeopardize his/her certification.


What is needed to fulfill the Professional Standing requirement?

To fulfill the Professional Standing requirement, a Diplomate must meet two requirements: (1) The Diplomate must show possession of a current unrestricted medical or dental license, and (2) current hospital privileges allowing patient admission and the performance of core procedures in oral and maxillofacial surgery. Evidence of both of these requirements is reported through Annual Registration in every year of the 10 year Certification Maintenance cycle.


Do I need to send a copy of my license to the ABOMS administrative office?

You must provide a copy of your current license if you are requested to do so; you are not required to send in documentation unless the ABOMS specifically requests the information.

Does it matter what category of hospital staff privileges I hold?

The category of staff appointment a Diplomate holds on the medical staff of a hospital does not matter as long as the individual has current admitting privileges and can perform all core oral and maxillofacial surgery procedures.


Is it necessary to provide trauma coverage as part of the hospital privilege requirement?

ABOMS does not require you to participate in ER trauma coverage as part of the Certification Maintenance process. Assignment to a maxillofacial trauma roster is determined by individual hospital policies and not by ABOMS.


What is needed to fulfill the Evidence of a Commitment to Lifelong Learning requirement?

To meet this requirement, you must complete 90 hours of ADA CERP (American Dental Association Continuing Education Recognition Program) or AMA CME continuing education credits in the past three years at the time of your Recertification Examination application. For those involved in the CME process, 30 of the 90 hours may be Category 2 as recognized by the AMA ACCME. All Continuing Education hours must be earned within three (3) years prior to applying for the Recertification Examination. During the Recertification Examination application, the Diplomate will attest to having all 90 hours at the time of the application.


How do I learn more about approved sponsors for continuing education?

The Board does not provide nor sanction continuing education events as preparation for Certification or the Certification Maintenance process. However, there are many excellent opportunities to earn continuing education credits at events such as the AAOMS Annual Meeting and Implant Conference, regional meetings, other specialty organizations and focused symposiums and meetings. The programs for these meetings often list their continuing education value. Specific information can be obtained by contacting the organizers directly.


How do I report my continuing education credits?

If asked by the Board, an individual must provide copies of CE documentation to the ABOMS administrative office. Otherwise, you will confirm your attainment of required credit hours when you complete the Recertification Examination application.


When must I complete the Self-Assessment / COMSSAT?

Diplomates must complete a self-assessment tool, the Certification in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Self-Assessment Tool (COMSSAT), prior to applying for and taking the Recertification Examination.


How can I access the COMSSAT?

The COMSSAT is completely web based. You may complete it from your home computer using Internet Explorer (recommended), Chrome and Modizilla Firefox . Your login credentials will be emailed to you within 48 business hours of registering on the ABOMS website. Once you begin the COMSSAT, you will 14 days to complete the self-assessment. You may stop and start your self-assessment at any time in those 14 days by exiting out of your Internet Browser. Completing the COMSSAT is required prior to applying for the Recertification Examination.


How do I exit or finish my COMSSAT?

To exit out of the COMSSAT and return at a later time, the Diplomate simply needs to exit out of his/her internet browser. Your time and answers will save. Once the Diplomate has successfully answered all 100 questions of the self-assessment, he/she may click the “Finish” button at the bottom right hand corner of the screen.


What score do I need to achieve on the COMSSAT?

COMSSAT is a self assessment tool designed to assist you in preparing for the Recertification Examination. It is not scored and does not have a Pass / Fail threshold.


When can I take the Recertification Examination?

The Recertification Examination must be completed by the 10th anniversary of original certification, but can be taken as early as the 8th year of the cycle.


How do I prepare for the Recertification Examination?

The Recertification Examination is a clinically focused examination composed of 150 questions. An examination blueprint is available for individuals taking the examination to use as a study resource.


Where do I take the Recertification Examination?

The Recertification Examination is available through PearsonVUE Testing Centers. There are over 200 testing centers in North America and US Territories. The Recertification Examination is offered in September/October of each year. Results of the Recertification Examination will be provided to each Diplomate by US Mail within 6 weeks after closure of the examination.


If I am unsuccessful when taking the Recertification Examination how does that effect my participation in the COMSSAT and earning the required continuing education hours?

If you have more years of eligibility on your Recertification Examination application you will not be asked to retake the COMSSAT. The continuing education hours you report must be current within (3) years of applying for the Recertification Examination.


What is needed to fulfill the Performance in Practice requirement?

The Performance in Practice assessment can be met by satisfactory completion of the Office Anesthesia Evaluation program administered by AAOMS or a jurisdictional licensing body. The Performance in Practice evaluation must be completed once every five (5) years or at the interval designated by the jurisdictional licensing body, and must be current when applying to take the Recertification Examination. Alternative pathways are available.


I am clinically inactive. Do I have to complete the Performance in Practice requirement?

Yes. If you are clinically inactive or do not participate in the Office Anesthesia Evaluation program, alternative options are available to fulfill the evaluation in Performance in Practice.


What is the Certification Maintenance Audit consist of?

In order to ensure that the Certification Maintenance process is functioning effectively and that Diplomates are in compliance with the requirements, statistically random audits will be conducted each year. The ABOMS staff will confirm that the Diplomate has successfully completed the following: (1) Annual Registration, which includes credentialing questions specific to whether Diplomates possess an unrestricted current license to practice the specialty, (2) the COMMSAT, (3) the reporting of continuing education hours, (4) the Recertification Examination, and (5) the Office Anesthesia Evaluation program.


What happens if I am selected for the Certification Maintenance Audit?

Approximately 10% of the Diplomates who hold certificates that expire each calendar year will be subject to audit. If you are selected for the audit, you will be informed at the beginning of each year in which your certificate expires. Only Diplomates selected for the audit will be required to submit required documentation and any other documentation deemed necessary, to the ABOMS administrative office. All documentation will be reviewed by an ABOMS Board member.


How are Examinations Scored?

The American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (ABOMS) has decided, after research and study, that the most appropriate and fair system for determining the outcomes of its certification examinations is to employ criterion referenced measures. Understanding there are numerous alternatives available testing bodies, the ABOMS believes that criterion reference systems are most appropriate for evaluating the performance of oral and maxillofacial surgeons on cognitive and practice based examinations.

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ABOMS.org Contact Information About Us
©2015 American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery.

ABOMS is a 501(c) (3) organization
625 North Michigan Avenue,
Suite 1820, Chicago, IL 60611-3177

Tel: (312) 642-0070
Email: info@aboms.org
ABOMS is the certifying board for the
specialty of oral and maxillofacial surgery
in the United States and is recognized
and approved by the Council on Dental
Education of the American Dental
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