COVID-19 Licensure Actions

We stand by the American Dental Association (ADA), the American Dental Education Association (ADEA), the Student Professionalism and Ethics Association in Dentistry (SPEA) and many dental school deans across the country, among others, who believe that to protect the public, maintain the integrity of the profession of dentistry and ensure that only competent dental school graduates can gain a dental license, performing exams on human subjects in a high-stakes, one-shot scenario must end.

Licensure reform happens at the state level and students around the country are working to make change. Check out the Council on Advocacy’s Advo-cast on action-oriented licensure reform to learn how you can make a difference in your state. 

Licensure Reform Toolkit

ASDA created a number of resources to help educate students, the dental community and other stakeholders on the need for licensure reform. Use these at lunch and learns and advocacy academies, as well as in discussions with legislators and other constituencies.

  • ASDA's white paper details the major shortfalls of the current licensure exam process.
  • The licensure reform infographic illustrates the problems with the current exam and shows how ASDA’s ideal exam addresses them.
  • The licensure timeline provides a historical look at dental licensure and reform efforts over the years.
  • ASDA’s licensure talking points outline the association’s issues with the current exam, ASDA’s ideal exam and its stances on exam alternatives in a brief, easy-to-follow format. This is a great resource for students who may be speaking with key stakeholders in their state about licensure. These talking points have been updated to reflect implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.


At Annual Session 2016, the House of Delegates adopted the L-1 policy to further advance ASDA’s licensure reform efforts. Check out the policy below. If you have any questions, contact your district trustee.

L-1 Initial Licensure Pathways 

ASDA understands alternatives that are preferable to the current process exist, however the Association believes an ideal licensure exam:

  • Does not use human subjects in a live clinical testing scenario
  • Is psychometrically valid and reliable in its assessment
  • Is reflective of the scope of current dental practice
  • Is universally accepted

The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) believes demonstration of both kinesthetic and clinical decision-making competence is necessary to obtain initial dental licensure.  ASDA believes this should be demonstrated through the following:

  • Manikin-based kinesthetic assessment,  
  • A non-patient based Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) and
  • Submission of a portfolio of comprehensive patient care.

ASDA Response to Buffalo CIF 

The Buffalo Curriculum Integrated Format (CIF) model is a modification of the traditional licensure exam format. Modifications include:

  • Calibrating faculty and integrating the exam into the curriculum
  • Restricting eligible patients to patients of record
  • Offering multiple exam dates
  • Proctoring the exam during the normal clinic day

At their meeting in January 2016, the ASDA Board of Trustees approved a new position statement in response to the Buffalo CIF. This statement represents ASDA's stance on this new licensure model, which while a step forward, does not meet the conditions for a licensure pathway outlined in ASDA's L-1 policy.

Licensure Reform in the News

Licensure Reform Resources