Dentistry in the United States
The practice of dentistry in the United States is overseen by several agencies including the American Dental Association, the Commission on Dental Accreditation and the regional boards. Ultimate licensure is the responsibility of individual states. There are roughly 190,000 practicing dentists in the United States.
In order to be accepted to an American dental school, most candidates must possess at least a bachelor's degree as well as the pre-requisite courses.
The first 2 years of dental school consist mostly of didactic education as well as simulation courses. The last two years generally involve direct patient care under supervision. There tends to be much overlap in most schools' curricula; the didactic years may have some clinical components while the last two years still have significant didactic coursework. During dental school, students must take and successfully pass Part I and Part II of the National Board Dental Examination (also known as "the Boards"), which are administered by the ADA. Part I is usually taken after the second year of dental school, while Part II is usually taken sometime in the fourth year.
The first step in practicing dentistry in the United States is graduating from an accredited dental degree program in the United States and Canada. The graduates of Australian dental schools cannot be licensed in the United States. The reciprocity agreement between CDAC (Canada) and Australia does not extend to the United States and the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). The reciprocity agreement that CODA has with CDAC only covers Canadian programs. CODA does have policies and procedures in place for accrediting established international predoctoral education programs.
Most states require candidates to pass a regional board exam. Regional boards are agencies which are contracted to test graduating dental students on clinical skills for a specific region of the country. These exams usually have several components, both written and clinical, and the latter is performed on live patients. The different boards include the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (usually referred to as the "NERB"), Western Regional Examining Board (usually referred to as the "WREB"), Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS) and the Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA). California, Connecticut and Minnesota are states which allow candidates to complete a 1-year General Practice Residency (GPR) or an Advanced Education in General Dentistry (AEGD) in lieu of a regional board exam. As of 2007, New York no longer accepted the NERB and has since required all graduates to complete a GPR or AEGD.
Dental graduates have the option of pursuing specialty training. Currently, the American Dental Association formally recognizes 9 specialties:
- Dental public health
- Pediatric dentistry
- Oral and maxillofacial pathology
- Oral and maxillofacial radiology
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery
Every state has a regulatory body that oversees the practice of dentistry and is usually referred to as the dental board of that state.
- Board of Dental Examiners of Alabama
- Alaska Board of Dental Examiners
- Arizona State Board of Dental Examiners
- Arkansas State Board of Dental Examiners
- Dental Board of California
- Colorado State Board of Dental Examiners
- Connecticut Department of Health
- Delaware State Board of Dental Examiners
- District of Columbia Board of Dentistry
- Florida Board of Dentistry
- Georgia Board of Dentistry
- Hawaii State Board of Dental Examiners
- Idaho State Board of Dental Examiners
- Illinois State Board of Dentistry
- Indiana State Board of Dentistry
- Iowa Board of Dental Examiners
- Kansas Dental Board
- Kentucky Board of Dentistry
- Louisiana State Board of Dentistry
- Maine Board of Dental Examiners
- Maryland State Board of Dental Examiners
- Massachusetts Board of Dentistry
- Michigan Board of Dentistry
- Minnesota Board of Dentistry
- Mississippi State Board of Dental Examiners
- Missouri Dental Board
- Montana Board of Dentistry
- Nebraska Board of Dentistry
- Nevada State Board of Dental Examiners
- New Hampshire Board of Dental Examiners
- New Jersey State Board of Dentistry
- New Mexico Board of Dental Health Care
- New York State Board of Dentistry (Office of the Professions)
- North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners
- North Dakota State Board of Dental Eaxminers
- Ohio State Dental Board
- Oklahoma Board of Dentistry
- Oregon Board of Dentistry
- Pennsylvania State Board of Dentistry
- Rhode Island State Board of Examiners in Dentistry
- South Carolina Board of Dentistry
- South Dakota State Board of Dentistry
- Tennessee Board of Dentistry
- Texas Board of Dental Examiners
- Utah Board of Dentists and Dental Hygienists
- Vermont Board of Dental Examiners
- Virginia Board of Dentistry
- Washington State Dental Quality Assurance Commission
- West Virginia Board of Dental Examiners
- Wisconsin Dental Examining Board
- Wyoming Board of Dental Examiners
- "Health, United States, 2012" (PDF). United States Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved 14 June 2014.
- "Dental Licensing, Certification, and Education in the United States". For You Dental. 13 June 2014. Retrieved 14 June 2014.