How to Become a Dentist in the USA for Foreign-Trained Dentist?

The most effective approach to practicing dentistry in the US and qualifying to take the licensing exam is to finish a CODA-accredited curriculum provided by a US dental school. Foreign-trained dentists who are accepted into an international school can undergo Advanced Standing Programs. It is a shortened version of the standard DDS/DMD curriculum that typically takes two to three years to complete. 

Foreign dentists can obtain a DDS or DMD to qualify for an American dental degree that allows them to practice in any US state. 

Why Does the USA Need Foreign-Trained Dentists?

There has never been a finer and more appropriate time to avail and be a dentist in the history of the United States. And as a result, there are more options for dentists with training abroad to obtain a license to operate in the US. This is due to various reasons.

  1. Growing Need for Dentists: The need for dental care is expanding due to the growing elderly population, which leads to oral and general health concerns.
  2. Increasing the Variety of the Population: The necessity for multilingual healthcare professionals arises from the fact that many residents of these locations speak inadequate English and frequently have worse health.
  3. Dentist Shortage: US is Experiencing a shortage of dentists where they are most needed. At the end of 2018, the Health Resources and Services Administration recognized 5,700+ regions with a lack of dental health professionals. According to HRSA, the nation would require more than 10,000 dentists. If there is less than one dentist for every 5,000 individuals in a population, the government deems the region to be underserved. 

Steps for Foreign Candidates to Become Dentists in the USA

Having a dental license entitles you to independent general dentistry practice. All candidates for dental licensure and for becoming eligible must satisfy the fundamental criteria: the education requirement, the written test requirement, and the clinical examination requirement, even if the standards differ from state to state.

Here are the steps to follow to become a dentist in the US and secure a license to work as a general:

1.Completing a CODA Certified Program

Completing a CODA-certified program provided by a US dental school is one of the best ways to qualify for licensure. DDS or DMD program graduates can sit for state or regional board exams to qualify and practice in the United States. Advanced training programs are a reduced version of the curriculum that many US dental schools provide to dentists with foreign training.

2.Evaluation of the Documents

In a credential examination, academic and professional degrees from one nation are contrasted with those from another one. Credential assessments are used in the admissions process at colleges taking part in the ADEA CAAPID to assess foreign education. 

To be qualified to sit for the Integrated National Board exam, applicants must get a Course-by-course report from ECE (Educational Credential Evaluators). The WEC (World Education Services Evaluation) is another sort of evaluation. The candidate would need to translate the transcripts and diplomas if they were issued in a language other than English.

3.INBDE (The Integrated National Board of Dental Examination) Preparation

Students’ understanding of fundamental sciences, case studies, science, and clinical knowledge is tested on this exam. The conventional NBDE Part 1 and Part 2 tests have recently been superseded by the new INBDE, or integrated national board dental examination, for foreign dentists. 

INBDE test must be taken in the US, and extensive study of all dental topics is required. Therefore, as indicated by the number of tries, prepare and study appropriately and show up for it when well-prepared. 

There is no score on this test. It is graded as a pass or fail status. This would be a crucial stage in the procedure for a foreign dentist to practice dentistry in the US. 

4.Get the DENTPIN Number

Obtain the DENTPIN Number. For candidates and students participating in the US dental education system and standardized testing programs, the Dental Personal Identifier Number (DENTPIN) serves as a unique identification number.

The American Dental Association (ADA) Department of Testing Services processes applications for the NBDE examination programs. The first step in the application procedure is obtaining a DENTPIN, an exclusive personal identification number you’ll use to take the test.

The Dentpin number can only be obtained after the ECE examination. 

5.Register with the American Dental Association (ADA), and Make an INBDE Appointment

The INBDE, which may only be administered in the US, must be scheduled for later. The Dentpin must register for the test and set a date for it. In order to be well-prepared, students usually register a minimum of two months in advance, which is recommended.

6.Take the INBDE at a Prometric Exam Center

The INBDE is a two-day test with different time durations and a number of questions:

  • First Day: It is typically a full day with 360 questions 
  • Second Day: It is a half-day with 140 questions

This test is available at several Prometric locations, which candidates can select based on convenience.

7.Attempt the TOEFL Test

The TOEFL is a test that evaluates your proficiency in using and comprehending English at the university level. It is offered online by ETS. The majority of US dentistry schools demand that you take the TOEFL to prove that you are proficient in the English language. International dental students must prove their English language competency.

The TOEFL exam is fiercely competitive, and applicants are usually graded on a scale from 0 to 120. A score of 100 or more is regarded as satisfactory by the majority of US institutions. On their separate websites, each university’s unique TOEFL qualifying requirements may be found.

8.Through the CAAPID Application, Submit your DDS/DMD Application to Universities

Filling out the Centralized Application for Advanced Placement for International Dentists (CAAPID) is the next stage towards becoming a dentist in the US. Every year, the CAAPID application is typically open from March through February, with different institutions having varied criteria and deadlines. Some institutions need direct applications since they are not included on the CAAPID site. 

CAAPID can be used to submit applications to the vast majority of colleges. The lengthy application procedure consists of four main steps and a number of prerequisites, including letters of recommendation (LOR), a work history, a list of accomplishments and certifications, honors, and so forth. 

It is essential to compile all the necessary documentation and create a fantastic Statement of Purpose (SOP). The SOP is one of the most crucial components of your application since it shows the admissions committee the real you. All applicants must complete this demanding and time-consuming phase with diligence.

9.Wait for the Interview Invitation 

After submitting your application, all you have to do is wait and hope for an invitation to an interview. Some applicants never hear back from interviewers, while others can get several invitations. Your application, profile, GPA, exam results, employment history, etc., completely determine this. 

The best course of action is to continue honing your communication and presentation abilities as you wait for an interview. While awaiting an invitation, it’s important to maintain optimism and trust in yourself.

10.Get Ready for the BENCH Test 

The hand skills test is a crucial stage in the process of becoming a dentist in the US, and success there depends on consistent practice and following the right procedures.

Along with interviews and written tests, the majority of dental schools also examine the hand-eye coordination of overseas applicants. As a result, bench preparation is crucial and time-consuming. The best way for applicants to be ready for bench exams is to locate a course or even just practice. 

11.Achieve Success on the Clinical Test and Interview

You need to pass the interview if you want to become an international dentist and get a DDS. Being confident and well-spoken on the day of the interview and bench test is essential instead of being worried and confused. Answers to the interviewers’ questions should be brief. Meetings should be held online if interviews are conducted digitally via Zoom.

12.Wait for Program Acceptance

Waiting for something is hard, but you can not avoid it. Candidates will start to see the results of their efforts in the next phase. Being eventually accepted into a DDS or DMD program is an amazing experience.

13.Management of Student Loans

A letter of acceptance does not end the paperwork. Once admitted, bank work, loans, and background checks also begin at this point.

14.Application for a Student Visa

If you are not a citizen or green card holder, apply for a student visa. US citizens have a number of benefits, such as no need for a visa change and eligibility for a loan to FAFSA, etc.

15.Finish DDS/ DMD and take the State Licensure Exam

After completing the advanced standing program with a DDS or DMD, you have a variety of career alternatives, including working as an associate dentist in a self-practice, owning a practice in the US, serving as faculty at a reputable dental school, etc. Before beginning to practice in the US, candidates must pass the licensing test there.

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