Dental licensure

Every dentist must go through the licensure process at least once during their professional life.  Find out how to obtain your license.

Patient Discussion

The 3 requirements for licensure

In the U.S., licensure requirements are set by the state board of dentistry, also known as the board of dental examiners or licensing board. Although licensure requirements vary by state and territory, all   licensure candidates must meet three basic requirements: educational requirement, written examination, and clinical assessment. 

Educational requirement
Nearly all states require a D.D.S. or D.M.D. degree from a university-based dental education program accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA).

Written assessment. All U.S. licensing jurisdictions require applicants to pass the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE). The INBDE, developed in response to changes in educational curricula and instructional methods, was launched in August 2020 and replaced the NBDE Part I and Part II. Learn more about the INBDE.

Clinical assessment
Applicants for dental licensure in most U.S. licensing jurisdictions are subject to a clinical assessment.  Most state boards of dentistry rely on third-party testing agencies to administer a clinical assessment and acceptance varies by state and territory. View clinical assessments accepted by each state and territory.

Additional information 

Find contact information for each state and territory.
View the examinations, credentials, and CE requirements for each state/territory.
Help shape the future of dentistry. Get involved with the New Dentist Committee.

ADA licensure policies 

While the American Dental Association recognizes and supports a state's right to regulate dental licensure, it has adopted policies on licensure issues, including licensure mobility for dentists, specialty licensure and the elimination of patients in clinical assessment process.
Learn more about the ADA comprehensive licensure policy and how it has evolved.
Review Ethical Considerations When Using Patients in the Clinical Examination Process.
Read the report that discusses contemporary approaches to licensure for modern needs.
Initial licensure for students

Ready to obtain your first dental license? Learn about the examinations and varying state requirements.

Dental Student Grad
Man at Laptop
Licensure by credentials

Learn how to obtain a dental license in a new jurisdiction by using your existing credentials.

Still have licensure questions?

We're here to help you find the answers you're looking for.

Please note: response times for submitted questions may vary. Licensure questions typically take from 2 to 9 days to resolve. Your inquiry is important to us and we'll do our best to assist you as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience!