What other certification is needed to begin practicing dentistry?
In order to be certified to practice dentistry after earning a DDS, students must successfully complete an exam administered by the National Board of Dental Examinations. This grants graduates the ability to apply for a dental license in the state in which they intend to practice. A
What can I expect from the National Board Dental Examination (NBDE)?
The National Board Dental Examination Part I and II are administered as an oral and practical examination. Part I, taken after the second year of dental school, tests the student’s understanding of the previous two years education in anatomic science (structure and parts), physiology (function), microbiology (knowledge and effects of micro-organisms), and pathology (origin and nature of disease) as it pertains to dentistry.
Part II of the test is taken in the last year of dental school and consists of operative dentistry (dental surgery), pain control, pharmacology (knowledge of drugs and medicine), pathology, and occlusion (alignment of the teeth and jaws). It also tests procedural understanding of endodontics, periodontics, orthodontics, radiology, and pediodontics.
What does dentistry require in terms of continuing education and licensure?
Since a license to practice dentistry is granted by the state, the requirements for continuing education (CE) vary between states. Most dentists go beyond the expectations set by their particular state just in an effort to stay current in their field. Dentists would assert that they are personally motivated to pursue some continuing education through classes, or by attending lectures and seminars to stay relevant in their profession.
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The ADA has established the Continuing Education Recognition Program (CERP) which evaluates and certifies CE programs and institutions that meet the various state requirements. In most cases the successful completion of CE through CERP-certified institutions is enough to satisfy state board requirements without additional testing.