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Practice Dentistry in Middle Eastern Countries



Middle Eastern (Gulf) countries are emerging as an upcoming career destination for dental professionals as job opportunities are sprouting up. However, with the given opportunities, the dynamics of the whole gulf politics are changing now. As you must have heard the recent changes are happening in the gulf countries politically. A few years back it was very easy for a BDS graduate to enter the gulf countries. But with time the Arabs are educating their people and there is a spring of “Arabisation”, through which they are trying to give more and more jobs to their youths with legitimate degrees.


If you are a general dentist or a specialized dentist looking to work academically or practice clinically in one of the Gulf countries, you will need to pass the eligibility exams for the country/ emirate before you can be granted a license to practice dentistry.


Gulf countries are as follows:

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Saudi Arabia

Qatar

Bahrain

Oman

Kuwait


A few things to remember before making decisions:

1. It is important to decide the country or emirate of choice for work at the outset and align your exam preparations in relation to that country or emirate because the exam result is not always transferable between countries or emirates.

2. The exams are different for general dentists (BDS) and specialized dentists (MDS).

3. The exams are run for the above Health authorities by a third-party organization called Prometric Testing. The Prometric exams assess that your standards to practice dentistry are on par with international standards. This may mean abandoning old, textbook practices for new, evidence-based standards.

4. The competition is quite high for the general bachelor’s degree in dental surgery. But if you are an MDS or any other post-graduation in the same field then there is a strong possibility that you will get a good job.


All examination applications must be submitted online to register for the Prometric examination. The examination will contain recall questions that test knowledge and questions with scenarios that test other skills (interpretation, analysis, clinical decision-making, reasoning, and problem-solving). The FDI (Fédération Dentaire Internationale) two-digit tooth numbering system is used in the exams. The exams are computer-based in the form of multiple-choice questions (MCQ) in the English language. Questions have four options from which the candidate will choose one answer, with no negative marking for wrong answers.

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE)


UAE is a federation of seven emirates - Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain and Fujairah, Al Khaimah. In terms of economic and resource wealth, Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the largest and most powerful emirates providing about 80% of UAE’s income.

To apply for the exams in the UAE as a General Dentist, you must have a recognized primary degree (BDS or equivalent) from an accredited health science program, completed 1 year of the internship program, and 2 years of clinical experience. Dentists with no evidence of completion of the internship will need an additional 2 years of experience.


Abu Dhabi and Al Ain: To work in Abu Dhabi, you need to pass the Department of Health (DOH)/ Health Authority of Abu Dhabi (HAAD) eligibility exam. Passing the exam gives you the eligibility to apply for job vacancies in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain ONLY and not anywhere else in the UAE.


Dubai: To work in Dubai, one needs to pass the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) eligibility exam. Passing the exam qualifies you to look and apply for work in Dubai ONLY and not anywhere else in the UAE.


Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm al-Quwain: All other emirates in UAE require you to pass the Ministry of Health (MOH) license exam giving the right to search for job opportunities and work in Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al- Khaimah, Fujairah, and Umm al-Quwain only.



If you are wanting to apply for a postgraduate training program at the Department of Health (DOH), Dubai health authority (DHA), or the Ministry of Health (MOH), UAE should pass the EMREE exam. All regulatory authorities DOH/HAAD, DHA, and MOH have a unified entrance exam conducted by the College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University.


SAUDI ARABIA


If you are planning to practice in Saudi Arabia or get admitted to a postgraduate training program at the Saudi Commission for Health Specialties (SCFHS), then it is compulsory to pass the Saudi Dental Licensure Examination (SDLE).

To apply for the SDLE, you must have a recognized primary degree (BDS or equivalent) from an accredited health science program and commenced training during the internship year, and a minimum of 2 years of experience after an internship working in a private clinic or hospital.


QATAR


To work in Qatar as a dentist, you must pass the Qatar Council for Healthcare Practitioners (QCHP) exam by the Department of Healthcare Professions (DHP). It is one of the requirements for the registration/ licensing of healthcare practitioners.

To apply for the QCHP DHP exam, you must have a recognized primary degree (BDS or equivalent) from an accredited health science program, completed the internship program, and 2 years of clinical experience (for international dentists). If you do not hold this experience, you can work as a trainee dentist until you satisfy the clinical experience period, following which you can apply for the QCHP DHP exam and gain a full license as a 'General Dentist'. A provisional license for Trainee dentists is issued by the Supreme Council of Health (SCH), Qatar without examination.


BAHRAIN

UPDATE 2021: You could have worked anywhere in Bahrain with BDLE/ NHRA License. But General Dentistry is now entirely reserved for Bahrain Nationals since July 2021 due to Bahrainisation. No scope for foreign dentists.


The National Health Regulatory Authority (NHRA)/ Bahrain Dental Licensure Exam (BLDE) is one of the requirements for the registration/ licensing of dental practitioners.

To apply for the exams, you must have a recognized primary degree (BDS or equivalent) from an accredited health science program, completed the internship program, and 5 years of clinical experience (for international dentists).

OMAN


Oman Medical Specialty Board Exam (OMSB) is a licensing exam required for dental professionals to work anywhere in Oman. Registering for OMSB exams is open for all dentists with 4 years of experience (for international dentists) after internship and does not require uploading any document. You can go straight to the Prometric website to book your exam.


KUWAIT


To work as a dentist in Kuwait, you must pass the Kuwait Dental Licensure Examination (KDLE) conducted by the Kuwait Ministry of Health (MOH). For the Kuwait Dental Exam (KDLE) eligibility, you must have completed 1 year of the internship and have at least 5 years of clinical experience if you are applying as a General Dentist.

Unlike other gulf countries, you need to find an employer first to even apply for the exam. You cannot apply by yourself. The employer will help you with getting your Kuwait Dental License by following the below steps:

  • The employer must submit a request to the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Kuwait

  • The dentist/specialist must pass an interview

  • The dentist/specialist must pass a medical check-up

  • A primary approval must be obtained from the Medical/Dental License Committee

  • The educational certificates and certificates of past work experience must be authenticated to request the professional license

Kuwait exam processing is not done internationally yet. The most appropriate option is to be inside Kuwait to do the process directly.


NOTE:

If you were to look for the easiest test to pass, this is the range from toughest to easiest:

Kuwait (KDLE) > Bahrain (NHRA), Oman (OMSB), Abu Dhabi (HAAD/DOH), Saudi Arabia (SDLE) > Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm al-Quwain (MOH), Qatar (QCHP) > Dubai (DHA)

If you are looking for the least saturated, this is the range from most saturated to least saturated test takers:

Dubai (DHA) > Sharjah, Ajman, Ras al-Khaimah, Fujairah, Umm al-Quwain (MOH) > Qatar (QCHP) > Abu Dhabi (HAAD/DOH) > Saudi Arabia (SDLE) > Kuwait (KDLE) > Bahrain (NHRA) > Oman (OMSB)

Dubai (DHA) has the most number of candidates among all the gulf exams.


Summary of Gulf Licensing Exams:

DHA - Dubai, U.A.E

HAAD / DOH - Abu Dhabi, U.A.E

MOH - All other States/Emirates in the U.A.E

QCHP - Qatar

SDLE - Saudi Arabia

SCFHS - Saudi Arabia (Specialists)

NHRA - Bahrain

KDLE - Kuwait

OMSB - Oman


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