The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (College) regulates the dentistry profession in the province of Ontario, which passed the first Dental Act in the world into law on March 4, 1868.
By law, no one is allowed to practice as a dentist in Ontario without a licence issued by the College known as a Certificate of Registration. There are different classes of certificate depending on your situation, for example, whether you are a student, a visiting intern or a professor. Most applicants seek a General Certificate which grants the full, unrestricted right to deliver dental services to the public of Ontario.
This Career Map focuses on obtaining a General Certificate of Registration.
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) accredited dental programs 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 practice as a dentist in Ontario, you must successfully complete a full-time, two-year qualifying program 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 examinations – a requirement for all candidates.
The qualifying programs are known by several names, including:
degree completion or advanced standing programs,
Internationally Trained Dentists Program, or
International Dentist Advanced Placement program.
The Equivalency Process provides an alternate route to certification as a dentist in Canada for graduates of non-accredited dental programs. This process is also integrated with the admission process for the Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs. The Equivalency Process comprises three Assessments. Successful completion of the Assessments allows you to participate in the NDEB Written and OSCE Examinations. Canadian Faculties of Dentistry also use your results on select Assessments in the admission process for Qualifying and Degree Completion Programs.
The diagram below illustrates the two but integrated pathways to certification as a dentist in Canada.
Once the certificate of the National Dental Examining Board has been granted, to obtain a General Certificate of Registration (the most common form of certificate used to engage in general practice) all applicants must:
have a degree in dentistry showing that you have successfully completed a course in dental studies of at least four years at a university-based dental school
passed the Canadian National Examination and obtained a certificate from the NDEB
be reasonably fluent in either English or French (evidence may be requested)
have successfully completed the College’s examination in Jurisprudence and Ethics
be a Canadian citizen or a permanent resident of Canada or have received the appropriate authorization from Citizenship and Immigration Canada permitting you to engage in the practice of dentistry in Ontario
be mentally competent and physically able to safely practice dentistry
have sufficient knowledge, skill and judgement to competently engage in the practice of dentistry
have a clear record wherever you are or have been registered/licensed or otherwise entitled to practice dentistry in another jurisdiction and/or have engaged in the practice of dentistry anywhere in the world. You must not currently nor in the past have been:
found guilty in relation to a criminal offence
the subject of an investigation or proceeding for professional misconduct, incompetence, incapacity or a similar investigation or proceeding
the subject of a finding of professional misconduct, incompetence, incapacity or a similar finding
Before You Arrive in Canada
Step 1 - The first thing you must do is contact Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) to determine whether you are eligible for migration to Canada. There are specific criteria for obtaining immigration status in Canada that is beyond the control of any regulatory body.
Step 2 - As mentioned above under Registration Requirements, internationally trained candidates must complete a qualifying program or the NDEB Equivalency Process. If you are eligible for the Equivalency Process then depending on your personal circumstances and financial situation you may be able to fly to Canada, take the applicable assessment and fly home. This would allow you to maintain a practice and source of income while attempting to meet the qualification assessments. It may also be possible to attempt the first assessment of the Equivalency Process, the “Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge”, before you arrive in Canada. Past tests have been administered in England, Asia and New Zealand but it varies year to year depending on location and number of applicants in a given area. If it proves necessary for you to attend one of the two-year advanced standing programs then obviously those are full-time, classroom situations where you will have to be in Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand or Ireland.
If you are not fluent in English or French, it is a good idea to improve your English or French by taking language courses before arriving in Canada and to take a recognized language test such as TOEFL or IELTS.
When You Arrive in Ontario
To begin your application to the College, follow these five steps.
Step 1 – Pass NDEB Examinations
As mentioned above, you must complete the National Dental Examining Board of Canada’s examinations before you apply to the College. To qualify for this examination you must have successfully completed an approved two-year advanced standing program or the NDEB Equivalency Process.
Step 2 – Complete the application form
You must submit a completed, signed and notarized College Application Form which will then be valid for three months.
Step 3 — Provide certified documents
The College requires a combination of original and certified documentation depending on the nature of the document. By legal definition, a certified copy is a copy of a document issued by a court, a government or a lawyer or notary public.
The College will not accept photocopies that are not certified.
Step 4 — Pass NDEB Examinations
Step 5 — Complete Required College Courses
You must also successfully complete the College’s web-based course in Jurisprudence and Ethics.
Step 6—Demonstrate Language Proficiency Assessment
You should be reasonably fluent in either English or French. Many dental programs throughout the world are taught in English so you may or may not be required to submit evidence of fluency.
When it is necessary, the College currently accepts TOEFL – minimum scores of 600 PBT, 250 CBT or 100 ITB. For IELTS – a minimum band of 6.5 for the General test.
NOTE: Completion of the TOEFL or IELTS – “Academic” version will not be accepted.
Accredited dental programs in Australia
For graduates of a dental program approved by the Australian Dental Council who have graduated on or after March 31, 2010. For a list of accredited dental programs in Australia, please contact:
Australian Dental Council
Ground Floor, 120 Jolimont Road
East Melbourne Vic 3002
ABN 70 072 269 900
Telephone: + 61 3 9657 1777
Fax: + 61 3 9657 1766
Accredited dental programs in New Zealand
For graduates who have graduated on or after December 14, 2011 from a dental program approved through accreditation by the New Zealand Dental Council. For a list of accredited dental programs in New Zealand, please contact:
New Zealand Dental Council
Level 5, 138 The Terrace
PO Box 10-448
Wellington, NZ 6143
Fax: + 64-4-4991668
Accredited dental programs in Ireland
For graduates who have graduated on or after December 5, 2012 from a dental program approved through accreditation by the Irish Dental Council. For a list of accredited dental programs in Ireland, please contact:
Irish Dental Council
57 Merrion Square Dublin 2
Telephone: (00353) 1 6762069
Fax: (00353) 1 6762069
Copyright in this Career Map is held jointly by the Queen's Printer for Ontario and the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario, © 2016.