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Dental Resources: Licensure



Licensure is the process whereby a state grants dentists the legal authority to practice dentistry. The current system of licensure exams has been controversial. According to the American Dental Education Association, "ethical and practical questions about the use of human subjects, regional variations in examinations and results, and the reliability and validity of the exams have been some of the sources of concern."

ASDA Policy on Licensure


ASDA believes that any clinical licensing examination intended to measure technical skill via a sequence of independent clinical tasks should:

  • Be a non-patient based examination emphasizing the recognition, diagnosis and treatment planning of disease, in conjunction with the treatment of simulated disease by use of a typodont.

  • Be administered in the final year of dental school.

  • Provide opportunities for remediation, at the candidate's dental school, prior to graduation.

  • Guarantee anonymity of candidates and examiners.

  • Be administered by examiners who have been calibrated to provide standardized and consistent scoring.

  • Not include a written examination that duplicates the content of the National Dental Board Examination Parts I or II.

  • Be offered to candidates at the lowest reasonable cost possible.

  • Be universally accepted by all state boards of dentistry.

  • Be psychometrically sound.

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