Dentistry in Canada

The practice of dentistry in Canada is overseen by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) in conjunction with other agencies, such as The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada and The Royal College of Dentists of Canada. Although ultimate licensure is the responsibility of individual provinces and territories, dentists must be certified on the federal level as well. Unlike medicine, dentistry is not funded by the government in Canada. There are roughly 16,000 practicing dentists in Canada.

Contents

Licensure

Graduation from an Accredited Program

The first step in practicing dentistry in Canada is graduating from an accredited dental degree program in Canada, Australia, or the United States. By reciprocal agreement, programs that are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada are recognized by both the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association and the Australian Dental Council, and vice versa. There are ten approved dental schools in Canada:

NDEB Examination

Candidates seeking to practice dentistry in Canada must successfully complete the three-part examination administered by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB). Dental students at accredited Canadian and American dental schools are permitted to take the examination no earlier than 3 months prior to graduation, which usually means the March of their graduating year. Upon successful completion of the exam, the NDEB issues a certificate to the candidate.

Provincial Licensure

Although being licenced at the federal level is a requirement to practice in Canada, individual provinces and territories regulate the practice of dentistry in their jurisdictions. Several provinces require applicants to complete a Jurisprudence and Ethics examination which tests knowledge related to local laws, ethics, and regulation of the profession.

Specialty Examination

Dentists who have completed specialty training and wish to practice as specialists must successfully complete the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE) administered by the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC). The RCDC was established by an Act of the Federal Government of Canada in 1965 to promote high standards of specialization in the dental profession and to recognize properly trained dental specialists. This is accomplished through examinations created specifically for each dental specialty. Successful completion of the RCDC specialty examination may lead to Fellowship in the College and the use of the designation FRCD(C). The RCDC administers an examination for 9 specialties:

  • Dental Public Health
  • Endodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Oral Medicine and Oral Pathology
  • Orthodontics
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Periodontics
  • Prosthodontics

The RCDC also offers an Examination in Dental Sciences to dentists who possess a dental degree and who have undertaken a minimum of two consecutive years of advanced training, which ideally culminates with the awarding of an M.Sc. or Ph.D. degree. A Fellowship in Dental Sciences does not create a specialist in a field already recognized as a specialty by the College, nor does it create a new sub-specialty.

Foreign-Trained Dentists

As of January 1, 2011, graduates of non-accredited dental programs must successfully complete an accredited Qualifying or Degree Completion Program OR the NDEB Equivalency Process prior to being eligible to take the NDEB Written and OSCE Examinations.

The Equivalency Process provides an alternate route to certification as a dentist in Canada for graduates of non-accredited dental programs and is also integrated with the admission process for the Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs. The Equivalency Process consists of three Assessments. Successful completion of the Assessments allows individuals to participate in the NDEB Written and OSCE Examinations. Canadian Faculties of Dentistry will also use results of select Assessments in the admission process for Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs.

The Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry facilitates graduates of non-accredited dental programs in becoming licensed practitioners in Canada by providing the Eligibility Examination/Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) for general dentists and the Dental Specialty Core Knowledge Examination (DSCKE) for graduates of specialty programs. The Eligibility Examination is currently an admissions requirement used by dental education institutions that provide a Qualifying Program or a Degree Completion Program for general dentists.The last Eligibility Examination will be administered in February 2010. After this date, the PLA will replace the Eligibility Examination as the requirement for entry into these programs. The DSCKE is used to facilitate the admission process for entry into Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Programs offered at various Canadian faculties of dentistry.

Provincial Regulation

Every province and territory has a local Dental Regulatory Authority that oversees the practice of dentistry. In addition to a Dental Regulatory Authority, each jurisdiction also has a dental association. Membership in the provincial/territorial and national dental associations may be a necessary component of licensure. In other provinces, membership in a dental association is voluntary.

Province/Territory Dental Regulatory Authority Dental Association
Alberta Alberta Dental Association and College Alberta Dental Association and College
British Columbia College of Dental Surgeons of British Columbia British Columbia Dental Association
Manitoba Manitoba Dental Association Manitoba Dental Association
New Brunswick New Brunswick Dental Society New Brunswick Dental Society
Newfoundland & Labrador Newfoundland & Labrador Dental Board Newfoundland & Labrador Dental Association
Northwest Territories Government of the Northwest Territories Northwest Territories & Nunavut Dental Association
and Yukon Dental Association
Nova Scotia Provincial Dental Board of Nova Scotia Nova Scotia Dental Association
Nunavut Nunavut Registrar's Office Northwest Territories & Nunavut Dental Association
and Yukon Dental Association
Ontario Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario Ontario Dental Association
Prince Edward Island Dental Council of Prince Edward Island Dental Association of Prince Edward Island
Quebec Ordre des dentistes du Québec Québec Dental Surgeons Association
Saskatchewan College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan College of Dental Surgeons of Saskatchewan
Yukon Registrar's Office Northwest Territories & Nunavut Dental Association
and Yukon Dental Association


Dental Economics

Although famous for its state administrated system of medicine, Canada does not currently have a government-funded dental system such as Medicaid in the U.S. Traditionally, dental care is paid for by individual patients or through private and/or employer-sponsored insurance plans.

References

NDEB
Royal College of Dentists of Canada
Canadian Dental Association
Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry


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