Dental licensure is the process whereby a state grants someone the legal authority to practice dentistry in that state. Typically, fourth-year dental students complete specific requirements to obtain their dental license.
Each state sets its own licensure requirements. Use this state map to find out what methods your state accepts, or visit your state’s dental board. There is no universal licensure exam, which means getting licensed in your state doesn't guarantee the ability to practice in another state. Although specifics vary, all states have three requirements:
There are five testing agencies that administer clinical exams on manikins and live patients. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many states now permit students to take all or part of their clinical exam requirements on a manikin. Review the licensure laws and regulations for your state on the state board website. from the individual state board websites for real-time information about which exams are accepted where licensure is sought.
ASDA is a leader in dental licensure reform. We are committed to eliminating the use of live human patients in obtaining dental licensure. You can find more information and ways to support ASDA’s efforts in our Licensure Reform page.
In June 2020, the Joint Commission on Dental Examinations released the Dental Licensure Objective Structured Examination (DLOSCE) as an alternative to the live-patient clinical exam. The DLOSCE is comprised of multiple questions requiring candidates to use their clinical skills to successfully complete one or more dental problem solving tasks. As of June 2021, six states permit the use of the DLOSCE. In some states, passage of the DLOSCE only partially fulfills the clinical examination requirement for licensure. Visit your state dental board website for specific details, clarifications and updated policies.
NBDE Reprints: ASDA sells released examinations with actual questions from the NBDE. ASDA members receive a discount.
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