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Oral Exam Overview - The American Dental Board of Anesthesiology

Candidates for the ADBA Oral Examination are graduates of approved anesthesiology residencies who have successfully completed the ADBA written examination, and in addition, acquired a minimum 6 months post-training anesthetic practice. The format of the oral examination allows the candidate to further demonstrate their ability to assess and manage patients presenting for anesthesia treatment , including pediatric, geriatric and special needs patients, as well as an ability to effectively communicate these relevant issues with both patients and colleagues.

The ADBA recognizes that there are differences in the didactic training and clinical experience between residency programs, and that there may often be multiple acceptable approaches to anesthetic management. However, the ability to analyze and act act in an appropriate and expedient manner in all situations is seen as fundamental characteristics of the Diplomate. The oral examination encompasses several aspects of anesthesiology practice, including preoperative management, and appropriate responses in urgent and emergency situations.

Applications for Oral Examination must be postmarked 120 days prior to the date of examination.


Conduct of the Exam
The oral examination is organized into two separate sessions, discussed in depth. Candidates will be given a primary case scenarios to briefly review immediately before the exam. They will then be asked to describe their rationale for the management of each scenario. As particular scenario progresses, the candidate may request additional relevant information to aid in their assessment and management. The focus of each discussion may also change as new issues develop in a given case. Issues of perioperative assessment and management will be covered. urgency and emergency management for each case will be identified and developed. Following this case, there will be several secondary cases that may cover the entire scope of anesthesiology. Each testing session lasts approximately 45 minutes and is conducted by two examiners. The order of the sessions varies from candidate to candidate and there may be a wait period between sessions.

Points to Consider by the Candidate
While a solid base of factual knowledge is necessary, the ability to apply that knowledge clinically and adapt appropriately is seen as most important for the successful completion of this examination. It is hoped that the candidate can comfortably anticipate and manage deviations from normal routine anesthetic care. It is also important for the candidate to communicate his or her thoughts to the examiners clearly and effectively. Otherwise, it can be difficult for the examiners to evaluate the candidate. For example, extremely slow responses, or excessive questioning of examiners, may not allow enough time for the full examination, and may not give the examiners enough information to adequately assess the candidate and lead to failure. A Diplomate should also be able to reasonably, concisely and clearly communicate and defend a course of action. 

Preparation for the Oral Examination
Candidates are encouraged during their training and practice experiences to engage in active discussion and study, an action which should serve them well in their future capacity as a dentist anesthesiologist Diplomate.

Conflict of Interest
It is the long-standing policy of the ADBA to avoid any real or perceived conflict of interest regarding examiners for the oral examination. Examiners are not allowed to serve if the candidate is a former resident, current co-worker, close personal friend or relative. Additionally, if the candidate feels that any examiner has a real or perceived conflict of interest, a new examiner will be appointed without prejudice to the candidate.