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How to become a licensed dentist in Canada?

How to become a dentist in Canada

Dentistry is a regulated profession in Canada. Each provincial dental regulatory authority is responsible for establishing the licensure requirements in their province.

Common to all provinces are the requirements that you:

Have a BDS/DDS/DMD degree

and

Hold an NDEB certificate

The process of becoming NDEB certified depends on where you obtained your dental education and if you want to be licensed as a general dentist, specialist, or both.

What process should I follow?

General dentists hold a BDS/DDS/DMD degree issued by a university.
Dental specialists hold a BDS/DDS/DMD degree and have advanced education and training in one of the following disciplines:

  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral Medicine and/or Oral Pathology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

In Canada, accreditation is determined by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). A dental program that is not recognized by the CDAC is considered to be non-accredited.

You can look up your program on the CDAC website: Canadian Graduates | International Graduates.

The NDEB defines a non-accredited dental program as a dental degree program from a university that is authorized by the government of the country it is located into award degrees.

Entry-to-Practice Pathway

Graduate of an Accredited General Dentistry Program

You completed a dental degree program from a university (BDS/DDS/DMD), and
your dental degree program is recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC).

Certification Process

NDEB Written Examination and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

NDEB Written Examination

The Written Examination assesses basic science knowledge and applied clinical science knowledge and judgement at the level of a beginning dental practitioner in Canada. Examination content is developed based on Competencies for a Beginning Dental Practitioner in Canada.

Go to Written Examination

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assesses aspects of clinical judgement, including diagnosis, treatment planning, prognosis, treatment methods, and clinical decision making.

Go to OSCE

NDEB Certification

NDEB certification is granted upon successful completion of the Written Examination and the OSCE, and after proof of graduation is provided to the NDEB. When you are certified your name will be entered in the national register and you will be mailed a hard copy certificate. NDEB certification does not expire.

Go to Getting your Certificate and Licensure

Provincial Licensure

To be licensed to practice as a dentist in Canada, you must communicate with the Dental Regulatory Authority (DRA) of the province you wish to practise in for information on their licensure requirements.

DRAs may require additional documentation, jurisprudence tests, and evidence of language proficiency prior to licensure.

Go to DRAs

Graduate of a Non-Accredited General Dentistry Program

You completed a dental degree program from a university that is authorized by the government of that country in which it is located to award such degrees, and

your dental degree program is not recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC).

Equivalency Process

Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK)

The AFK tests biomedical science and applied clinical science knowledge. The AFK serves a dual purpose; it is both an admission requirement for Canadian Degree Completion Programs and one of the examinations in the Equivalency Process. A passing grade is required before you can continue to the other examinations in the Equivalency Process.

Go to AFK

Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ) and Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS)

Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ)

The ACJ assesses your ability to formulate a diagnosis and make clinical decisions, as well as evaluate your knowledge in oral radiology and ability to make a radiographic interpretation and diagnosis.

Go to ACJ

Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS)

The ACS assesses clinical competence through the performance of clinical requirements on simulated patients.

Go to ACS

If you have chosen to complete a Qualifying and Degree Completion Program, you do not need to take the ACJ or the ACS.

OR

Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs

Accredited Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs are offered by Faculties of Dentistry in Canada. These programs are designed to familiarize international graduates to dentistry and dental practice in Canada. Upon successful completion of a Qualifying or Degree Completion Program individuals are eligible to participate in the NDEB Certification Process.

Go to Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs

If you have chosen to complete a Qualifying and Degree Completion Program, you do not need to take the ACJ or the ACS.

Certification Process

NDEB Written Examination and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

NDEB Written Examination

The Written Examination assesses basic science knowledge and applied clinical science knowledge and judgement at the level of a beginning dental practitioner in Canada. Examination content is developed based on the Competencies for a Beginning Dental Practitioner in Canada.

Go to Written Examination

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

The Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) assesses aspects of clinical judgement, including diagnosis, treatment planning, prognosis, treatment methods, and clinical decision making.

Go to OSCE

NDEB Certification

NDEB certification is granted upon successful completion of the Written Examination and the OSCE, and after proof of graduation is provided to the NDEB. When you are certified your name will be entered in the national register and you will be mailed a hard copy certificate. NDEB certification does not expire.

Go to Getting your Certificate and Licensure

Provincial Licensure

To be licensed to practice as a dentist in Canada, you must communicate with the Dental Regulatory Authority (DRA) of the province you wish to practise in for information on their licensure requirements.

DRAs may require additional documentation, jurisprudence tests, and evidence of language proficiency prior to licensure.

Go to DRAs

Graduate of an Accredited Dental Specialty Program

You hold a masters degree from an accredited dental specialty program,

your dental specialty is recognized in Canada, and

your dental specialty degree is from a university dental institution recognized through an accreditation process approved by the NDEB or a mutual recognition agreement approved by the NDEB.

NDEB-NDSE Certification

National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE)

To pursue licensure as a specialist in Canada, you must pass the NDSE in your specialty.
The NDSE tests entry-level competencies required of dental specialists, and covers general specialty knowledge including basic sciences, clinical diagnosis, and treatment planning.

The level of knowledge required is consistent with Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) requirements in each specialty.

Go to NDSE

NDSE Certification

NDSE certification is granted upon successful completion of the NDSE and after proof of graduation is provided to the NDEB. When you are certified your name will be entered in the national register and you will be mailed a hard copy certificate. NDEB-NDSE certification does not expire.

Go to Getting your Certificate and Licensure

Provincial Licensure

To be licensed to practice as a dental specialist in Canada, you must communicate with the Dental Regulatory Authority (DRA) of the province where you want to practise. DRAs may require additional documentation, jurisprudence tests, and evidence of language proficiency prior to licensure.

Go to DRAs

Graduate of a Non-Accredited Dental Specialty Program

You hold a masters degree in a dental specialty from a university that is authorized by the government of that country in which it is located to award such degrees,

your dental specialty is recognized in Canada, and

your degree is not recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC).

Dental Specialty Core Knowledge Examination (DSCKE)

The DSCKE assesses general knowledge common to all dental specialties. The DSCKE is used by Canadian Faculties of Dentistry as part of the admission process for entry into Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Programs (DSATPs).

Go to DSCKE

Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program (DSATP)

DSATPs are training programs for internationally trained dental specialists offered by some Canadian Faculties of Dentistry. Completion of a DSATP is required to apply for the National Dental Specialty Examination.

Go to DSATPs

NDEB-NDSE Certification

National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE)

To pursue licensure as a specialist in Canada, you must pass the NDSE in your specialty.
The NDSE tests entry-level competencies required of dental specialists, and covers general specialty knowledge including basic sciences, clinical diagnosis, and treatment planning.

The level of knowledge required is consistent with Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) requirements in each specialty.

Go to NDSE

NDSE Certification

NDSE certification is granted upon successful completion of the NDSE and after proof of graduation is provided to the NDEB. When you are certified your name will be entered in the national register and you will be mailed a hard copy certificate. NDEB-NDSE certification does not expire.

Go to Getting your Certificate and Licensure

Provincial Licensure

To be licensed to practice as a dental specialist in Canada, you must communicate with the Dental Regulatory Authority (DRA) of the province where you want to practise. DRAs may require additional documentation, jurisprudence tests, and evidence of language proficiency prior to licensure.

Go to DRAs

Admin Label: FAQs for Graduate of an Accredited General Dentistry Program

Frequently Asked Questions

The Written Examination and OSCE can be taken four months before months before graduation. Your expected date of graduation will be confirmed with your university prior to taking the examinations.
Yes, the Written Examination and OSCE must be taken together. If you are unsuccessful in one examination, you will only need to retake the examination that was failed.

Admin Label: Graduate of a Non-accredited General Dentistry Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, if you successfully complete a Degree Completion program at a Canadian faculty of Dentistry, you will receive a degree from an accredited university and complete the process for graduates of accredited dental programs.
There is no reciprocity between the Australian Dental Council and the NDEB. You must complete the NDEB Equivalency Process in order to participate in the Certification Process.

Admin Label: Graduate of an Accredited Dental Specialty Program

Frequently Asked Questions

You can take the NDSE if you are within the final six months of an accredited specialty program, or have completed a DSATP. The NDEB will confirm your eligibility directly with the university before you take the examination.

Admin Label: Graduate of a Non-accredited Dental Specialty Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Not all specialty programs are offered at every university. Additionally, availability of the DSATPs is dependent on the physical facilities available. Consequently, there are very few DSATP spaces offered across the county each year.