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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 passed the ADBA written examination, and in addition, acquired a minimum six (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 among residency programs and that there may often be multiple acceptable approaches to anesthetic management. However, the ability to analyze and act appropriately and expediently in all situations is a fundamental characteristic of the Diplomate. The oral examination encompasses several aspects of anesthesiology practice, including preoperative management, and proper responses to urgent and emergency situations.

Applications for Oral Examination must be postmarked no later than 120 days before the date of examination.


Conduct of the Exam

The oral examination is divided into two separate forty-five (45) minute sessions: pediatric and adult.  Two examiners will conduct each testing session.  The order of the sessions will vary for each candidate, and there may be a waiting period between the two sessions.

Candidates will be given case scenarios and will be asked to interpret and discuss findings, make a clinical judgment, and defend their position.  The candidate may request additional information that is relevant to aid in their assessment and management.

The focus of each discussion can change as new issues develop in a given case. Candidates will be evaluated throughout the preoperative, perioperative and postoperative periods.  Candidates will demonstrate how urgency and emergency situations are identified and managed.

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 essential for the successful completion of this examination. The candidate should comfortably anticipate and manage deviations from normal routine anesthetic care. It is also important for the candidate to be clear and concise to effectively communicate their position to the examiners.  Slow responses and excessive questioning of examiners can lead to insufficient time to finish the case. Candidates should be able to efficiently articulate 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.