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Specialist Dentistry in Canada

Updated: Jul 31, 2021

Photo Credit - Dr Afrah Misbah

You Are Never Too Old To Set Another Goal Or To Dream A New Dream.” – C.S. Lewis

  • If you are trained as a specialist and would like to pursue the speciality - you can get all the information about this from the Canadian Dental Specialist Association.

  • There are nine nationally recognized dental specialities in Canada. The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC) reviews and accredits the education programs in the nine dental specialities.

  • Accreditation is a process by which CDAC recognizes dental and allied dental education programs - as well as health facility dental services - as having met nationally determined requirements or standards, as established by CDAC.

  1. Dental Public Health

  2. Endodontics

  3. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

  4. Oral Medicine and Pathology

  5. Oral & Maxillofacial Radiology

  6. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics

  7. Pediatric Dentistry

  8. Periodontics

  9. Prosthodontics​

Becoming a specialist in Canada

  • Once you get a certification, you can apply to the university which has about 3/4 places per department for the 3-year speciality programs in different universities

Equivalence of speciality training in Canada

  • Individuals who are within the final six months of accredited dental speciality programs or individuals who have completed an accredited speciality program are eligible to take the NDSE.

National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE)

  • Individuals wishing to pursue licensure as a specialist in Canada must pass the NDSE in their speciality.

  • In Canada, there are nine dental specialities. The Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada accredits and reviews the education programs included in these dental specialities.

  • Accreditation is a tool used by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada. This is a vital method in recognizing dental education programs that have met their stringent requirements.

  • NDSE is a one-day examination, administered once a year.

  • Successful completion of the NDSE will allow an individual to obtain licensure as a specialist anywhere in Canada. This exam costs around 7500 dollars.

Dental Specialty Core Knowledge Examination (DSCKE)

  • This is the path you have to take if you have a specialist degree from any of the non - accredited universities. (MDS from India)

  • Graduates of non-accredited dental speciality programs who are interested in becoming licensed specialists in Canada can apply to take the Dental Specialty Core Knowledge Examination (DSCKE).

  • The DSCKE is used by Canadian faculties of dentistry as part of the admission process for entry into Dental Specialty Training Programs. Please note that there are very few positions available in the DSATPs.

  • These exams will be delivered electronically at Prometric test centres.

  • The examination consists of a combination of 95 - 100 single-answer and multiple-answer multiple-choice questions administered in a 3-hour session.

  • The exam protocols and sample questions can be found here.

  • There are only 2 attempts for this exam.

Application for the DSCKE involves two steps:

  1. Application and submission of required documents ( the papers need to be notarized and may be translated - so please check all paperwork required and take it with you )

  2. Credential verification

Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Programs (DSATP)

  • This is the one-year residency program for the conversions of their speciality at one of the Canadian universities.

  • A self-assessment checklist for each speciality checklists for each speciality has been developed as a guide to assist potential applicants in evaluating whether their speciality training meets the basic criteria for admission into a DSATP.

  • Esp some of the courses like conservative and endodontics or Preventative dentistry and pedodontics are not really accepted in Canada as they are not a pure speciality that is done in Canada which is ONLY 'Endodontics' or 'Pediatric dentistry'.

Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario

As copied from Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario:

“Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland operate according to a mutually recognized system of accreditation of dental training. Accordingly, graduates of Canadian, American, Australian (Australian candidates must have graduated on or after March 31, 2010), New Zealander (New Zealand candidates must have graduated on or after December 14, 2011) or Irish (Irish candidates must have graduated on or after December 5, 2012) are eligible to apply directly to sit the national examinations – a written and an Objective Structured Clinically Examination (OSCE) - administered by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB).

If your dental training was outside of these jurisdictions then you are considered to be “internationally trained.” To practise as a dentist in Ontario, you must therefore successfully complete one of these accredited four-year programs or the NDEB Equivalency Process.

For the internationally trained these two paths are the only means by which you can become eligible to take the NDEB national examination – a requirement for all candidates.

You cannot transfer your licence to practice dentistry from another Canadian jurisdiction to Ontario. Each province/territory has a dental regulatory authority that is governed by its own provincial legislation for regulated health professions.

If you are already licensed to practise dentistry in another Canadian jurisdiction, you must submit an application for licensure in Ontario. The requirements are quite similar from coast to coast, with the added requirement of being able to speak French in Quebec.

This will give you an idea of the number of dentists and distribution by age in the province of Ontario, which you can find for all provinces to help you decide where you will want to start practising.

Video about the application process in Ontario


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