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How to Prepare for Dental Licensure Exams (228 hits)

When you enrolled in MN dental care school, you started already with preparation for the dental licensure exams as Part I of the National Boards is taken following the second year of school. Before getting ahead of things, though, it helps to know that licensure is an all-round system that takes time to both fully understand and complete. Since dentists are not licensed at the national level, jurisdictional requirements vary by state, districts or dependencies but generally follow the same basic outline: Education, written examination and, finally, the clinical requirement.

Education Requirement

All jurisdictions recognize graduates of ADA-CODA-accredited dental schools as completing the educational requirement. Graduates of Canadian schools accredited by the Canadian Dental Association are also accepted. The National Board Dental Examinations (NBDE) were established to fulfill the written examination requirement whether completely or partially. States can determine limits on NBDE scores and what they are willing to accept. For example, some states will not accept exam scores that are more than 10 years old.

Written Examination Requirement

The National Boards are a two-part exam. Part I is taken upon completing the second year of dental school and spans the following:
  • Anatomic Sciences
  • Biochemistry-Physiology
  • Microbiology-Pathology
  • Dental Anatomy and Occlusion

Part II is a comprehensive exam lasting 1½ days covering clinical dental sciences and patient management with approximately 20 percent of it based on patient cases. It is completed during the final year, and both parts can be completed online. Some states may require additional exams, though all licensing boards use the NBDE to satisfy the greater portion of their licensing exam requirements.

Candidates have three chances to pass the exams after which they must wait 12 months before reapplying. Once the waiting period is over, a new 3-exam attempts cycle is reestablished. However, successful completion of both Parts I and II must be achieved within five years of testing or five attempts to pass, whichever occurs first.

Clinical Examination Requirement

Clinical exams may vary. They are developed by the five regional testing agencies:
  • Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA)
  • Central Regional Dental Testing Services, Inc. (CRDTS)
  • The Commission for Dental Competency Assessments (formerly the Northeast Regional Board of Dental Examiners (NERB)
  • Southern Regional Testing Agency, Inc. (SRTA)
  • Western Regional Examining Board (WREB)

The clinical exam is the last step to completing the requirements for dental licensure. The best advice for this stage is to be prepared. Pour over your candidate’s guide before the exam. Underline, make notes in the margins, list your questions for the chief examiner and keep the guide with you at all times.

Write flow charts for your procedures. Your guide will be useful to create a schedule for yourself including timelines, a list of instruments your patient needs to bring to the examining area. You should print copies for you and your assistant.

Prepare and organize your supplies and equipment. Plan to bring along any special materials you need or want. Pre-arrange to rent equipment, if needed. Check that your own equipment is functioning properly before you take the exam.

Arrange to have setup trays with everything you will need for each procedure. Listing the items will allow your assistant to add any items from previous setups to the completed tray setups. Planning for all contingencies, including touring the facility ahead of the exam, is to be prepared.
You are better off not relying on information to be accurate, but to check for yourself to be sure. Check with your state licensing authorities for up-to-date information. You can also visit the American Association of Dental Boards for your state’s current license requirements and information. You have worked too hard not to take great care and go through great pains to get this right for you, for your future, for your family and for your patients and staff to be.
Posted By: Dixie Somers
Thursday, February 1st 2018 at 1:34PM
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