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Dental Specialties

A specialty is an area of dentistry that has been formally recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards as meeting the specified Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialties. The responsibilities of the different areas of specialization, the requirements and other information can be found here in Dental Specialties. Currently there are nine dental specialties recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards.

Requirements for Recognition

Dental specialties are recognized by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards to protect the public, nurture the art and science of dentistry, and improve the quality of care. It is the National Commissions’ belief that the needs of the public are best served if the profession is oriented primarily to general practice. Specialties are recognized in those areas where advanced knowledge and skills are essential to maintain or restore oral health (Association policies are contained in the ADA Principles of Ethics and Code of Professional Conduct).

Not all areas in dentistry will satisfy the requirements for specialty recognition. However, the public and profession benefit substantially when non-specialty groups develop and advance areas of interest through education, practice and research. Acknowledged by the profession, the contributions of such and their endeavors are encouraged.

Following approval by the National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards, the sponsoring organization must establish a national board for certifying diplomats in accordance with the Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists (PDF). The National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards and the sponsoring organization monitors the administrative standards and operation of the certifying board.

As part of the specialty recognition process, applicants must complete an Application for Specialty Recognition. Please contact Cathy Baumann, director National Commission on Recognition of Dental Specialties and Certifying Boards at baumannca@ada.org to request an application.