State Dental Licensure For Dentists

The requirements for dental licensure vary from state to state. However, all applicants must meet three basic requirements, which include education, a written examination and a clinical examination.

State Licensure Education Requirement

In almost all states, the educational requirements is either a DMD or DDS degree from a university based dental education program that is accredited by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. In the US the CODA directly accredits programs and indirectly accredits programs in Canada through a reciprocal agreement with the CDAC. Graduates of accredited US and Canadian dental education programs are eligible for licensure in the US.

Written Examination Requirement For State Licensure

Each examination includes only multiple choice test items. Part I of the written exam is a comprehensive examination that covers dental anatomy, ethics testlets and basic biomedical sciences. Part II of the written example is a comprehensive examination that covers clinical dental subjects, which includes management of patients.

Contact information for the agency that administrates the National Board Dental Examinations:

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations
American Dental Association
211 East Chicago Avenue, Suite 600
Chicago, Illinois 60611-2637

State Licensure Clinical Examination Requirement

In most US licensing jurisdictions, candidates for dental licenses are subject to a clinical examination requirement. In each state, the board of dentistry is responsible for establishing its clinical examination requirement. A regional board, also known as a regional agency, is formed when a group of state boards develop and administrate a clinical examination. Currently there are 5 regional agencies that conduct examinations that are used by all but 4 licensing jurisdictions.

The state of New York is not required to do a clinical examination, but they do require applicants to complete an accredited postgraduate dental education program of at least 1 year. Connecticut, Minnesota and California do offer licensure applicants the option of completed their accredited postgraduate education program at least for 1 year instead of a clinical examination.

Additional State Licensure Requirements

Once all 3 above have been completed, candidates are then eligible to apply for a dental license. In addition, the board of dentistry in each state may have additional requirements, some are listed below: