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Practice Dentistry in Canada after MDS

A lot of dental professionals are migrating to Canada since the Canadian government is welcoming immigrants from all around the world. If you are looking to migrate and practice dentistry in Canada as a general dentist, please read this blog post:

There are many dental professionals who have already completed their MDS specialty program before moving to Canada. So, the Dental Specialty Equivalency process is for those dentists who have completed MDS/ post-graduation specialty in their home country.

As an international specialist dentist in Canada, you need to write the Dental Specialty Core Knowledge Examination (DSCKE). One must tick off all the requirements below before proceeding with the exam.

  • You hold a master’s degree in a dental specialty from a university that is authorized by the government of that country in which it is located to award such degrees

  • Your dental specialty is recognized in Canada

  • Your degree is not recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC).

Dental specialists have advanced education and training in a specific discipline. There are nine recognized dental specialties in Canada.

  • Dental Public Health

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

  • Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology

  • Periodontics

  • Orthodontics

  • Pediatric Dentistry

  • Oral Medicine and/or Oral Pathology

  • Endodontics

  • Prosthodontics

NOTE: This pathway is more suitable if you already have a Canadian PR or citizenship being an international dentist since most dental schools have a requirement for Canadian PR or citizenship.

To apply for Canadian PR as a dentist, please check However, before finalizing on taking this route, please check the requirements of each dental school respectively.

STEP 1.1: Application and Submission of Required Documents

Application Fee: CAD 3,000

The application form and required documentation must be sent by mail or courier and must be received by the NDEB office before the application deadline date.

STEP 1.2: Credential Verification

- This process begins when all required documents are received as per the criteria outlined in the Required Documents.

- When all of the required documents are accepted, you will receive an email indicating that they have been approved and you will be eligible to register for the DSCKE.

STEP 1.3: Registering for the DSCKE

- To register for the DSCKE, download and print the registration form. The completed form should be sent with the examination fee to the NDEB office.

- When your registration has been accepted by the NDEB, you will receive a confirmation email with information on how to schedule your test with Prometric.

- Exam Fee: CAD 3,500

- Exam Duration: 3-hour exam

- Combination of 95-100 single-answer and multiple-answer MCQs

- Split up of marking system: Scientific Literature (10), Diagnostic Sciences (30), Patient Management (60).

- No pass/fail system, only merit-based exam because DSCKE candidates will receive a numerical score which is used by Faculties of Dentistry across Canada to compare applicants from non-accredited specialty programs for admission to DSATPs.

- Can take DSCKE two times.

STEP 2: English Proficiency Test (TOEFL/ IELTS)

- Depending on the dental school you’re applying to for DSATP, write the English proficiency test (TOEFL or IELTS) as per the requirements mentioned on the school website.

STEP 3: Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program (DSATP)

- Registration Fee for DSATP: CAD 2,000 – 10,000

- Enroll in DSATP (Dental Specialty Assessment and Training Program) and graduate.

- Usually, a 12-month program.

First 3 months - Assessment period: They check your potential specialty based on that comes the Next 9 months - Training period: They will train you on methods of treating patients in a Canadian setup.

- Sometimes if they find you confident enough with treating patients in the Canadian dental setup, you may be given the certification prior to finishing the complete 9 months.

Dental school with DSATP Programs - Cost of Program: CAD 70,000 - 90,000.

University of Alberta (DSATP – Orthodontics)

University of British Columbia (DSATP – Eight specialist areas)

University of Toronto (DSATP – Nine specialist areas)

- Application Fee: CAD 450

- Exam Fee: CAD 7,000

- One-day Prometric exam.

- Exam Pattern: Basic sciences, clinical diagnosis, and treatment planning.

- Passing Standard: Minimum score of 75.

- You must request an original letter issued by the Dean’s Office, confirming completion of all DSATP components and your program start date and completion date, submitted to the NDEB directly. The letter must be signed by the Dean.

- Upon successful completion of the NDSE and after proof of graduation is provided to the NDEB office, an NDEB NDSE certificate is issued.

STEP 6: Provincial Licensure

- After receiving the NDSE certification, contact the province you wish to practice in.

NOTE: Although the Dental Specialty Equivalency Process seems to be straightforward, it is extremely competitive and time-consuming. This is because you will be competing with all the dental specialists around the world applying for a few limited seats in the DSATP. Due to this situation, a lot of dental specialists go for the Dental Licensure (to practice General Dentistry) or DDS/DMD route and then start with the Dental Specialist Equivalency Pathway.


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