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International Dental Students


There are different routes and steps to U.S dental licensure.


Each state sets its own licensure requirements. However, all licensing boards use the National Board Dental Examinations to satisfy a major portion of their written requirements. The NBDE Parts I and II are developed and administered by the ADA JCNDE.  The actual exams are conducted by regional or state examining boards. After you've passed both exams, you're on your way to taking your regional licence exam.

Routes for Dental Licensure (INTERNATIONAL Dental Students)


The most popular route for dental licensure is to pass NBDE, apply through CAAPID to gain admission to a 2-year International Dentist Program/Advanced Standing Program to earn a DMD/DDS degree. 

(Tip: Most dental schools require you to take both NBDE part 1 and part 2 prior to applying through CAAPID,however there are a few schools that just require part 1. Also, a few schools also offer  3 year and 4 year programs.)


Pass NBDE and apply to  graduate/specialty programs of 2 or 3 years  in departments of Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Oro facial pain, Orthodontics, Pediatric dentistry, AEGD (Advanced education in general dentistry) and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology to earn a specialty degree. However, this would allow you to practice only in some selected states

Route 1 (The most popular Route)

 Applying to dental schools is a complicated process. Here are a few tips and steps to guide you on this route. 


 1. You can enroll in a  master's program like MPH/MHA/MBA or dental Preceptorship/Fellowship programs. Why take some course?

 The reality is that it is extremely competitive to get into a DDS program and at times, it may take years to achieve where you want to be. So, additional education from the U.S will not only keep you alive until you succeed, but also strengthen your application.   

2.  On the other hand, a person with Accolades, GPA 3.8 and above, post graduates, mutiple scientific paper and poster presentations, research experience, publications can try applying directly without any U.S experience/education. If you have one of the best resumes in the pool of applicants, you could get lucky. 

STEPS on the popular route:   Now, these are the steps that many of us have followed to achieve our goals..

Step 1: Complete your bachelor's degree with Internship.   

(TIP:Try reading for NBDE part 1 simultaneously.)

Step 2: Register for a Dentpin and get your foreign education evaluated (ECE/WES).   

(TIP: ECE is accepted by most dental schools but some may ask for WES. )

Step 3: I expect you have a passport by now or else just do that!  Okie here's the decision time, whether you want to go on a  visitor visa (B1/B2) or a student visa (F1).  

(Just an opinion! I suggest applying to schools for master's/ fellowship/ preceptorship programs and getting a student visa before taking the NBDE part 1.)


Step 4: Travel to the US to take the exam.  

Step 5:  Time to take NBDE part 2!

Step 6 : CAAPID and PASS/MATCH application   

(TIP: While doing, you can simultaneously keep adding to your resume with shadowing/ volunteering/ CE courses)          

Route 2

You can practice dentistry in 12 states in the U.S if you plan to go this route.

1. Take National Board Dental Exams ( NBDE Part 1 and Part 2)

2. Apply through PASS/ MATCH , complete a Specialty/graduate program to earn of specialist license. These include: Periodontics, Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Orofacial pain, Orthodontics, Pediatric dentistry, AEGD (Advanced education in general dentistry) and Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology







This list gets updated every year. So, ask us if you want the latest list.

The website pages you will be looking at during this process:

Click on the these to go directly to important sites to get more information.    

  • DENTPIN : It is a personal unique identification number needed for all dental applicants. You must obtain a DENTPIN before doing your ECE evaluation.  
  • ECE/WES:  It is a course by course evaluation report of your dental school transcripts. In simple words, they convert your marks to a GPA.
  • Passport and VISA process is different for each country. So, look into the visa application process for your country.
  • NBDE Part 1&2:  To apply and for more information see FAQ's
  • TOEFL ETS: You can register for TOEFL test here.  Note: Toefl is only valid for two years.  The minimum score requirement is different for all schools. (In general, it should at least be 100)   
  • CAAPID  It is the centralized application for DDS/DMD. But, there are a few schools that do not participate in CAAPID.
  • INTERVIEW CALL If your application manages to impress the admissions committee, they invite you for an interview and bench exam.
  • BENCH TEST Bench examinations assess your clinical skills in fixed and removable prosthodontics, operative dentistry and treatment planning. (specific to each school, also some schools do not have a bench examination)       

U.S Pre-dental Students