By Conrad Dudderar
Senior Staff Writer
A well-respected orthodontist who has practiced in Yukon for more than 35 years ago says being selected for a prestigious national board position is the greatest honor he’s received.
The American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) House of Delegates on May 3 elected Stephen K. McCullough, D.D.S., M.S., of Yukon, to serve as a director of the American Board of Orthodontics (ABO). He was selected in February and the appointment was made official during the 2019 AAO Annual Session in Los Angeles, Calif.
McCullough, who opened his Yukon orthodontic practice in January 1984, said becoming an ABO director is “the most significant responsibility I have been given during my career in orthodontics.”
Headquartered in St. Louis, Mo., the ABO is the only orthodontic specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and in affiliation with the AAO.
Board certification is a process by which an individual orthodontist is voluntarily examined by his/her peers regarding orthodontic knowledge and clinical skills.
The longtime Yukon orthodontist is only the second Oklahoman selected to be a director on the national board. Dr. Don James of Oklahoma City was the first, serving the 1994-2002 term.
“I think it’s great for Oklahoma,” McCullough said of his selection. “Usually they’re from Texas. They kind of outnumber us.”
McCullough said he looks forward to working with the other directors and the ABO staff to promote ABO certification and to strive for the highest level of professionalism, dedication and compassion for patients.
The successful completion of the ABO examination process is a demonstration to the dental profession and the general public of the orthodontist’s pursuit of continued proficiency and excellence in orthodontics.
McCullough helps administrator ABO examinations to candidates seeking to become board certified.
“There’s a group of us that gives exams three times a year,” McCullough said. “We give over 190 exams over the course of a week.”
McCullough has had his private practice in orthodontics at the same location since he started – the second floor of the Spring Creek Building, 508 W Vandament.
“At this point, I’m not moving,” he said with a laugh.
A longtime member of the Yukon Rotary Club, McCullough said he’s really enjoyed practicing in Yukon and seeing the town grow.
“My kids grew up here, I love living here and being part of the community,” he said. “I have no intention of leaving!”
As an ABO director, McCullough now must attend more meetings and travel frequently. But he’s up to the challenge for the good of his profession.
Each ABO director represents one of the eight constituent organizations of the AAO and serves an eight-year term, which culminates in the position of the president.
The ABO directors are responsible for establishing policy with regard to the board certification of specialists in orthodontics.
McCullough, who represents the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists (SWSO), will become president of the ABO in the 2026-27 year. The Southwest Society covers five states: Oklahoma, Texas, Kansas, Arkansas, and Louisiana.
McCullough is a clinical professor in the Department of Orthodontics at the University of Oklahoma College of Dentistry.
He holds his master’s degree in orthodontics from the University of Michigan and obtained his dental and undergraduate degrees from the University of Oklahoma.
Certified by the ABO since 1990, McCullough is a member of the College of Diplomates of the ABO. He has been an examiner for the ABO Clinical Examination since 2007.
McCullough received the Earl S. and Wilma S. Shepard Distinguished Service Award from the ABO in 2016.
McCullough also is a member of the American Association of Orthodontists, the Southwestern Society of Orthodontists and the Oklahoma Orthodontic Society of which he was 1989-90 president.
He also is a member of the American Dental Association, the Oklahoma Dental Association and the Oklahoma County Dental Society.
Active in the Charles H. Tweed International Foundation for Education and Research, McCullough has been assistant course director for the Tweed Study Course given in Tucson, Ariz., since 1996.
He was a member of the Tweed Foundation board of directors from 2010-16 and received the Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award in 2014.