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Updated: Jul 2, 2021

Photo Credits -Afrah Misbah

“Failure Will Never Overtake Me If My Determination To Succeed Is Strong Enough.” – Og Mandino


This is a first-hand report from a friend who has done this process and it would benefit you to read this first to help you in your journey.

"The first step was applying for Permanent Residency(PR), PR or citizenship is needed to apply to dental schools except for speciality programs. I think most dentists with few years of experience will not have a problem with this. You need to get a good score in the English language exam.

Then I started with the journey of exams AFK, ACJ, applications to university, university bench exams and interviews at university. Getting a good score in AFK is important if you want to apply to dental schools but if you are planning to pursue direct licensing just a pass is good enough in each of the exams. Dental schools invite students for their practical exams and interviews from the highest scores of the AFK exam. Each dental schools have a different way of the practical exam. It is important to know the requirements of each school so that you can practice for that particular task. All these procedures till Acceptance to a dental school can be done by living in a different country. I was working in Kuwait while giving all these exams. Had to travel each time for exams. Logistically difficult but still doable. Less risk than leaving a job that you have before getting into a new system in my opinion.

A big concern for everyone is the huge fees dental schools charges in North America. But all the major banks will give you a student loan for the entire fees and living expenses once you give them the acceptance letter to University. Once in university, you join into the 3rd year of dental school and you complete year 3 and year 4 of dental school along with native students who started from year 1.

After 2 years you receive the same DMD degree as other students after you complete the national board exams which are 2 parts -theory and OSCE for certification.

Once you qualify it is not hard to find a job but it is hard to find a job in a desirable and good city. So a lot of people move to suburbs because of less living expense and ease of establishment. It is totally something that is achievable even though the steps might sound daunting. Take baby steps and just keep the next goal in focus all the time. Dentistry is a very rewarding profession in North America. I do enjoy it very much albeit the stress involved in dentistry."


  1. Successfully complete the NDEB equivalency process by Direct Licensing by completing the exams.

  2. Do an advanced standing degree completion program at a Canadian dental school (two-year/three-year program) and then write the NDEB exam.

  3. Apply for openings at Canadian dental schools for a teaching post. There is a possibility you could be hired if you have a sufficient postgraduate degree.

  4. You can apply and complete a 4 year DMD/DDS program in Canada and pass the NDEB's. If you choose this path in a dental college that does not have an advanced standing program - you will need to take the DAT/MAT exams to apply.

  • There is an online assessment that gives you only a sense of your preparedness to successfully complete the process.

  • Then you apply and have your credentials vetted and if accepted the first level is the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AKF).

NDEB- National Dental Examination Board- TO START THE EXAMINATION PROCESS

  • Application to the NDEB Equivalency Process involves 3 steps

​Step 1 Creation of an online profile.

step 2 Submission of required documents

step 3 Document verification

  • Graduates of eligible non-accredited dental programs can apply for the NDEB Equivalency Process through the NDEB online application portal. The application fee is $800.00 CDN and is payable online at the time of submission.


Assessment in Fundamental Knowledge(AFK)

  • The first level is the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AKF) which is a written exam to test basic science and didactic dental knowledge

  • The AFK is conducted as 2 Books of 150 multiple-choice questions. Each book is given in a three-hour session. The sessions are held in the morning and afternoon of the same day.

  • The fee for the exam is around $1000. The passing score required to go to the next level is 75. The pass rates for these exams are not good, so you have to put in a lot of time and effort.

  • If you pass the AFK exam you can decide whether u want to go to university for a DDS degree or do direct licensing.

1.Do a degree completion program

  • Dalhousie University

  • University of Western Ontario

  • University of Saskatchewan

  • University of Alberta

  • The University of British Columbia - close international program.

  • University of Manitoba

  • McGill University

  • University of Toronto

  • If u decide to go via this route then u have interviews plus a clinical exam and based on your performance they will allocate a place for you to study in a university.

  • A good article regarding advanced standing programmes in Canada.

2. Do Direct licensing

  • There are 2 more exams to clear for this and there are only 3 attempts for each exam.

Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ)

  • The Assessment of Clinical Judgement (ACJ) is a 5 ½ hour assessment with a 30-minute break. The assessment consists of 120-150 single-answer and multi-answer multiple choice type questions and there is negative marking for wrong answers.

  • Usually 2 sections

1. Diagnosis, treatment planning and clinical decision making questions - Case histories, dental charts, radiographic images, and photographs may be provided and you will need to make the diagnosis, and treatment plans.

2. Radiographic interpretation questions evaluate your knowledge in oral radiology and ability to make a radiographic interpretation and diagnosis using radiographs

  • The pass rate is poor and you need 75 to pass this part of the exam. The fee for writing this exam is $1800.

Assessment of Clinical Skills (ACS)

  • The ACS is a clinical-based exam over two days during which you perform twelve (12) dental procedures on manikins in a clinical setting. This consists of the following

    • Class II amalgam preparation

    • Class III composite resin preparation

    • Full metal crown preparation

    • Metal-ceramic crown preparation

    • Endodontic access preparation

    • Class II composite resin restoration

    • Class IV composite resin restoration

    • Class II amalgam restoration

    • Provisional crown restoration

    • Record of procedures

    • Infection control and safety

    • Rubber dam

  • The exam fee is around $5,500 and are graded using a four-point grading system, explained in the protocol. If you fail the exam you can are eligible to view your typodonts in person to offer you the chance to review your work to prepare your submission for an appeal of results.

Objective Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE)

  • OSCE is a 'station type' examination held in a morning and afternoon session. You will have five minutes to answer the questions at each station. Most stations require the candidate to review the information supplied (e.g., case history, dental charts, photographs, radiographic images, casts, models, videos) and answer extended match-type questions. Some stations require the candidate to review the information supplied and write an acceptable prescription for a medication commonly prescribed.


  • A certificate is issued upon successful completion of the Written Examinations and OSCE, and after proof of graduation is provided to the NDEB office.

  • In Quebec, the Ordre des Dentistes du Quebec (ODQ)

    • The dentist profession is an exclusive practice profession. This means that everyone must hold a permit from the Ordre des dentistes du Québec (ODQ) and be registered with the Ordre to practice the profession. The ODQ is a professional order that governs the practice of the profession in Quebec and whose main function is to ensure the protection of the public.

    • Graduates outside Quebec who wish to practice dentistry in Quebec must:

  1. Obtain recognition of diploma and training equivalence.

  2. Possess an appropriate knowledge of the French language to practice the profession, in accordance with the provisions of the Charter of the French language, RSQ, chapter C-11.

  3. Obtain a license to practice from the ODQ.

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