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 requirements vary from state to state, all dental licensure applicants must meet three basic requirements: educational, written examination, and clinical examination.

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 examination

All U.S. licensing jurisdictions require licensure candidates to pass Part I and Part II of the written National Board Dental Examination (NBDE). NBDE Part I and Part II are being discontinued and replaced by the Integrated National Board Dental Examination (INBDE). The INBDE was developed in response to changes in educational curricula and instructional methods and launched August 1, 2020.
Learn more about the INBDE.

Clinical examination

Candidates for dental licensure in most U.S. licensing jurisdictions are subject to a clinical examination requirement. Most state boards of dentistry rely on regional testing agencies to administer a clinical examination.

Review each state’s specific licensure requirements and contact information.
View the exams, credentials, and CE requirements for each state/territory.
Dental Student Grad
Initial licensure for students

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

Licensure by credentials

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

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See how ADA licensure policy 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.