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How Foreign Trained Dentists Can Get Licensed in Canada: A Comprehensive Guide

Canada, with its advanced healthcare system and diverse population, is an attractive destination for foreign-trained dentists. However, obtaining a license to practice in Canada requires a thorough understanding of the process. This guide aims to provide a step-by-step breakdown for foreign-trained dentists seeking licensure in Canada.

1. Understanding the Canadian Dental Regulatory Authorities

Before diving into the licensing process, it's essential to understand the regulatory bodies involved. In Canada, each province and territory has its own dental regulatory authority or college. These bodies are responsible for licensing and regulating the practice of dentistry within their jurisdiction.

2. National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) Equivalency Process

Foreign-trained dentists must undergo the NDEB Equivalency Process, which assesses their qualifications and compares them to current Canadian standards.

Steps involved:

  • Application: Begin by applying to the NDEB Equivalency Process. This involves submitting your academic credentials and paying the associated fees.

  • Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK): Once your application is accepted, you'll need to pass the AFK exam, which tests your understanding of basic dental principles.

  • Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS): After passing the AFK, you'll move on to the ACS, a two-day pre-clinical exam that evaluates your clinical skills.

  • Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ): This is the final exam in the equivalency process, testing your clinical judgement through written scenarios and radiographic interpretations.

3. NDEB Certification

After successfully completing the Equivalency Process, candidates must pass the NDEB Written Examination and Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) to become certified.

4. Provincial Licensing

With NDEB certification in hand, you can apply for licensure in the Canadian province or territory of your choice. Each dental regulatory authority has its own specific requirements, so it's crucial to research the province you're interested in.

5. Additional Requirements

Some provinces may have additional requirements, such as:

  • Jurisprudence exams: Testing knowledge of local dental laws and ethics.

  • Language proficiency tests: Especially in provinces with a significant non-English speaking population.

6. Continuing Education

Once licensed, dentists in Canada are often required to participate in continuing education to maintain their licensure. This ensures they stay updated with the latest advancements in the field.


Becoming a licensed dentist in Canada as a foreign-trained professional is a rigorous but rewarding process. By understanding the steps involved and meeting all the requirements, you can achieve your dream of practicing dentistry in Canada. Always refer to the latest guidelines and stay updated with changes in the licensing process to ensure a smooth transition.

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