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Letters: Licensure exams

June 20, 2016 In the discussions in the ADA News in regard to the use of live patients for state licensures ("Using Patients in Board Exams Under Debate in Iowa," Feb. 15 ADA News), I observed the following:

State board examiners stated that an examination with live patients is necessary. The rationale being they notice that some candidates are not good candidates for licensure. Yet, the dental school states that the student is qualified. They have three years of experience under supervision. Do the states notify the ADA that there are a sufficient number of dental students who fail the examination for licensure from a particular school? What is the role of the ADA if a sufficient number of students fail the state board? The Commission on Dental Accreditation certifies that the dental school is accredited. This means that the school will provide the necessary knowledge, training and experience under supervision to prepare the student for practicing dentistry. With the huge expenditure that is necessary to become a dentist, what is the responsibility and obligation to the students of the schools to provide the proper education, training and experience? How many who do not pass are successful at the next exam? Even though it is over 55 years ago that I took my licensing exams, I still remember the anxiety I experienced when one of my patients did not show. Another student had an extra patient, and I took the exam and passed that section. I question why use live patients when there are other avenues to observe the competence of the student?

Robert W. Carter, D.D.S.
Staten Island, New York