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Speciality Dentistry in NZ


Photo Credit - Dr Afrah Misbah


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Becoming a specialist in NZ

You must meet these criteria:

  1. you must be fit for registration

  2. You must have a prescribed qualification

  3. You must have a qualification that’s assessed as being equivalent to a prescribed one, for your scope of practice

  4. you must be competent to practise within that scope of practice.

If you would like to study post-graduation in NZ there is only one university and it is quite competitive. The University of Otago.

Qualification approved by the Board

A prescribed qualification is one that has been through a formal accreditation process to verify that it is of an appropriate quality and standard, either by us, the Dental Council, or another jurisdiction whose accreditation processes are recognised by us.

Qualification not approved by the Board

If your qualification is not prescribed, you can either:

  • sit an examination

  • apply to have your overseas, non-prescribed qualifications, training and experience assessed.

New Zealand Dental Specialist Registration Examinations​


Eligibility for examination

  1. A three-year postgraduate dental qualification in the speciality from a recognised tertiary academic institution. Applicants who have completed a two-year qualification with appropriate subsequent experience may be admitted to the examination.

  2. The Dental Council also requires applicants to possess an appropriate level of knowledge and skills of general dental practice. The Dental Council will be satisfied on this account where an applicant: for eg: sitting and passing all or part of the NZDREX general dental examination

  3. An applicant should provide evidence of their competence

    • to practise in the practised in the speciality to the required level in the last three years

    • undertaken appropriate continuing professional development within the last three years


4 . Evidence of research undertaken by the applicant is required and may be assessed

5. Appear to satisfy the fitness for registration requirements

6 . Demonstrate the ability to communicate and comprehend the English language to a level sufficient

7. Provide a valid Hepatitis B and C report (requirements for a valid report can be found on the Dental Council website)

Application for examination

  1. You can apply by submitting the New Zealand dental registration examination is written examination application form.

Sitting the examination


The examination is made up of five components:

  1. A written examination to establish whether you have an adequate understanding of the scientific basis of a speciality and can apply that knowledge to clinical situations

  2. Case presentations where you submit documentation of a number of specific cases relating to your speciality

  3. A clinical examination

  4. An oral examination

  5. An evaluation of your research skills.

  • To pass the examination you must pass all five sections.

  • You only have one attempt to sit and pass all components of the specialist examination.

  • Once you have been assessed as eligible to sit the examination in your speciality, it may take some time for the examination to be set.

  • Cost of examination -$22,305


Individual assessment of qualifications and experience

  • You should start your application through the online assessment tool to direct you to the correct form.

  • An academic involved in the teaching of a New Zealand prescribed qualification, to which your qualification is compared, assess your qualification curriculum and any further studies completed, to determine whether it is comparable to New Zealand prescribed qualification.

  • a professional peer, registered in the scope of practice in which you wish to apply for registration, will also assess your clinical experience

  • Once the assessment report has been received, your application and the report are considered at the next available Council meeting.

  • It will determine whether your qualifications, training and experience may be considered equivalent to, or satisfactory as, a prescribed qualification.

  • Council will also consider whether you satisfy the fitness for registration requirements.

  • Due to the process involved, these applications take some time from receipt until a decision is reached.

  1. Identification documents eg. passport

  2. Qualification document eg. Course completion certificate, Internship completion certificate, Academic Transcript

  3. Health information eg. Hepatitis B report

  4. Fitness to practice

  5. Examination results

  6. English requirement

  7. Practice experience

  8. Current and past registrations

  9. Professional referees

  • All documents certified -We need the copies of some of the items of your supporting documentation certified

  • Getting your documents translated -If any documents are not in English you are required to submit an official translation together with a certified copy of your original document.

  • Certificate of good standing -You are required to submit an original certificate of good standing from each Board or Council where you have been registered during the last seven years. Certificates of good standing must be no more than three months old at the time your application is received.

  • English language requirement -If you require a pass in a Council-approved English test to meet the English language requirement, you will need to submit your pass test results with your application form. Please remember that: results must be obtained in one sitting and a pass is valid for two years for new applications.

  • Fees -$5500

  • You need to familiarise yourself with New Zealand’s conditions of practice, To practise in New Zealand, you need to understand the cultural, social, and legal framework of practice.

If your registration application is not successful if Council determines that your qualifications, training and experience are not equivalent to a prescribed qualification, you could consider sitting the relevant New Zealand Dental Registration Examination or completing a prescribed qualification.

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