• Dental Licensing
  • NBDE Part 1 Exam
  • NBDE Part 2 Exam

The Dental Licensure Process

The licensure process for International Dental Graduates (IDGs) varies from that of U.S Dental Students.  

  • IDGs need to obtain specific licensure requirements from the state in which they want to practice.  

  •  IDGs must pass the NBDE Part I.  Nearly all states require internationally trained dentists to complete additional education in the U.S.  The NBDE Part I is a requirement for acceptance into a dental education program, as well as for state licensure. (Some dental programs may also require successful completion of NBDE Part II.) 

  • Some accredited dental programs admit qualified individuals with advanced standing—usually this means the applicant is accepted at the end of the second year and then completes the program with the other students. Most programs grant a dental degree at the end of the program; a few grant a certificate of completion (which may meet the licensure requirement only in the state where the program is located). The purpose of the additional education requirement is to prepare individuals from other countries for dental practice in the U.S. health care delivery system. 

  • Following the completion of the educational program, IDGs take the NBDE Part II, if they haven’t already. 

  • Just like their U.S. graduate counterparts, the IDG must pass a clinical licensing examination administered by the state where they want to practice.

  • Some states have additional requirements, such as the completion of a course or test on the state dental practice act, and/or proof of malpractice insurance. 

Any student interested in pursuing a dental career in the U.S. must read the information on the ADA website for international students

 

NBDE Part 1 Test Overview

  • NBDE Part 1 is a one-day, computer-based examination. 

  • Most students usually take Part I after they've completed two years of dental school, although this may be different for International Dental Graduates (IDGs). 

  • The administration of the test is divided into morning and afternoon sessions. Each session is approximately 3.5 hours long and consists of 2 tests of approximately 200 questions each. So the entire day will contain 2 tests, with approximately 400 total questions. 

  • The test is entirely composed of multiple choice questions each with a possible 3-5 answer choices. 20% of the test will be grouped in testlets with an interdisciplinary and clinical focus.

  •  Questions are taken from a wide variety of topical areas, including Microbiology and Pathology; Anatomic Science; Biochemistry and Physiology; and Dental Anatomy and Occlusion. 

For International Students/Dentists

If you are a foreign trained dentist or an international student, it is important to learn about the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and how this organization sets the rules for admitting foreign-born persons into the United States. Click here for more information.

 

NBDE Part 2 Test Overview

  • The NBDE Part 2 is a two-day examination administered twice a year, usually in late March/early April and December. The test is also offered year-round on computer. 

  • Most students take the exam in their final year of dental school. 

  • To be eligible, students must have passed the NBDE Part 1. 

  • The first day is divided into morning and afternoon sessions. Each session is approximately 4 hours long and consists of 200 questions each. These questions are taken from a wide range of topics, including Operative Dentistry, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Periodontics, Pedodontics, Orthdontics, Oral Surgery, Pharmacology, and more. 

  • The second day consists of a morning session with approximately 100 questions divided among a group of case studies. The case studies represent patients with a medical history, dental history, charts, x-rays, models, photographs, etc. Questions are centered on appropriate premedication, treatment, patient management or social aspects of patient treatment.

For International Students/Dentists

If you are a foreign trained dentist or an international student, it is important to learn about the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) and how this organization sets the rules for admitting foreign-born persons into the United States. Click here for more information.