New clinical dental licensure examination to launch in June

The Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination, or DLOSCE, is expected to launch in June, the Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations announced April 2.

“The DLOSCE arrives for use by dental boards at an opportune time, when its use is greatly needed," said Dr. Cataldo Leone, Joint Commission chair. “The JCNDE has been contacted by dental boards, dental educators and students, all of whom are looking for a valid and reliable pathway to licensure. These calls are coming from across the country.”

The DLOSCE is a professionally developed, content-valid examination built specifically for clinical licensure purposes that assesses candidates’ clinical judgment and skills using sophisticated 3D models, without the need to involve patients, Dr. Leone said in a letter to dental boards, the dental education community and dental students.
“We continue to innovate in our efforts to serve the needs of those who use our examinations to inform their decisions,” Dr. Leone said in the letter. “This innovation and drive for excellence is more important than ever given these uncertain times, the challenges that face all of us, and the implications of [Joint Commission] examinations for stakeholders, communities of interest and the public.”

The release of the examination comes roughly three years after development of the examination was approved in February 2017. At that time, the DLOSCE Steering Committee was formed and charged with the task of developing and validating an examination for clinical dental licensure purposes. Governance of the DLOSCE Program was assigned to the Joint Commission in January 2020. On March 31, the Joint Commission approved a resolution making the DLOSCE available for use by dental boards.
The Joint Commission indicates that the DLOSCE is comprehensive in its assessment of clinical judgment, including content in the following areas: restorative dentistry; prosthodontics; oral pathology; pain management and temporomandibular disorders; periodontics; oral surgery; endodontics; orthodontics; medical emergencies; and prescriptions.
“Diagnosis, treatment planning and occlusion are assessed across all of the examination topic areas,” Dr. Leone said.
The Joint Commission added that the DLOSCE is supported by content validity arguments, the same type of validity evidence used to support the Joint Commission’s other examination programs: the National Board Dental Examinations Parts I and II, the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination and the Integrated National Board Dental Examination.
The Joint Commission will conduct webinars in the coming weeks to share additional information and to answer questions from communities of interest in preparation for the release of this new examination program.
Each webinar will focus on a particular stakeholder group or community of interest (dental boards, dental educators, students, etc.) to provide information that is directly relevant to their specific needs.
“The [Joint Commission] is confident that the DLOSCE is a strong examination that is well-suited for use in addressing the clinical examination licensure requirements of each board, and is particularly responsive to their pressing needs in these challenging times,” Dr. Leone said in the letter. “The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations has a long and distinguished track record of providing valid and reliable high-stakes examinations for licensure purposes, to protect the public health. The DLOSCE continues that tradition, complementing the National Board Examinations and enabling the Joint Commission to provide a full and comprehensive evaluation of candidates’ dental skills, so that boards can use this information to inform their decisions as to whether candidates are ready to safely practice.”
For more information on the DLOSCE, visit the Joint Commission’s DLOSCE’s webpage at
For more information on dental licensure, including updates on state changes to obtaining and renewing dental licenses due to the COVID-19 crisis, visit