Dental Licenses for Convicted Sex Offenders?!?

A Michigan dentist convicted of raping a patient is practicing again. The state is considering new legislation that would prevent health care workers convicted of sex crimes from having their licenses reinstated.

In 2007 the Michigan Board of Dentists approved a restricted dental license for a dentist convicted of raping a patient.

The dentist in question served one year in jail after drugging and sexually assaulting a female patient. Horrified to learn that such a dentist was allowed to practice again, two lawmakers plan to introduce a bill to prevent this from happening again.

Read more…

Dentists Want a Dental License That’s National

Dentists want national dental licensingDentists can be chained to their state by their dental license. In this survey, 86% said they want universal licensure for dentists, while only 14% think things should stay as they are.

“If we manage to graduate from an accredited school, what is the big deal besides regional politics?” asked one dentist.

(Check out this week’s article on getting a dental license)

We got a huge number of responses to the question of national reciprocity. Dentists have a lot to say on the subject!

  • “Not all state boards are equal. Some states are too easy.” (Mississippi dentist)
  • “Dental school accreditation is national. If a dentist graduates from an accredited school, it makes sense that he should be eligible to practice nationally. On the other hand, this is a further erosion of states’ rights, and that is also cause for concern.” (California dentist)”Greater freedom never fails to produce better results.” (California dentist)
  • “Make credentialed dentists as free to move around in the States as anyone else. That’s what America is all about!” (Retired dentist)
  • “It’s a huge expense and paperwork nightmare to try to get credentials in other states.” (Texas dentist)
  • “It won’t happen in my lifetime.” (General dentist)
  • “Reciprocity by licensure is logical. Multiple board exams is not – certainly not with the mobility we have today.” (New York dentist)
  • “I believe the United States should have one national board exam and thereby granting a license to practice anywhere in the US. It just makes sense.” (Nevada dentist)
  • “This is my number one gripe against the ADA. I WILL NEVER BELONG TO THE ADA WITHOUT NATIONAL RECIPROCITY.” (Indiana dentist)
  • “National licensing is way past due.” (New York dental anesthesiologist)
  • “A dentist should have a least 5 years practice in good standing prior to being able move from their home state. Just makes sense.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “Teeth are teeth, so state restriction is just a violation of free trade. MONOPOLY!!!” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “The physicians have had this for years. We as dentists are way behind on this one.” (California dentist)
  • “Restriction of the ability to practice anywhere is just selfish and wrong.” (Pennsylvania dentist)

Read more: Dentists Ready for National Licensure

Dental Licenses: It’s Not Easy To Be a Dentist!

Dental licenses: dentists tied by state boards

My recent survey about national licensure for dentists got a huge response. Of the hundreds of dentists who responded, fully 86% want universal licensure or national reciprocity. And when you look at how dental licenses are granted, it’s hard not to see their point.

Barbers, Beauticians and Dentists are the only people who have state licensure exams where they have to demonstrate clinical skills,” pointed out an oral surgeon. “For all other doctors, it is assumed that by the time you graduate from school, you already know how to do a filling.”

Dentists are envious of the flexibility physicians have. “I find it hard to believe that an MD can get a license to practice medicine in any state, and, for example, an appendectomy performed in New York is considered an equivalent procedure to one performed in California. Yet somehow, a two-surface restoration is different depending on in what state the procedure is performed,” said an orthodontist. “Universal licensure, universal standards, universal education. What’s so hard about getting that?!”

I must admit, I’m a little baffled by the dental licensing process. So I did a little research… and I only got more confused!

Getting a dental license in the US requires three things:

  1. graduating from an ADA accredited dental school,
  2. passing a written exam, and
  3. passing a clinical exam.

The clinical exam is the controversial part. First of all, many don’t think it’s even an appropriate requirement. New York actually requires a one-year residency instead of an exam, and a few other states let applicants complete either an exam or a residency.Dental licensure in the US

While prospective dentists across the country take the same written exams (National Board Exams I & II), clinical testing is theoretically done on a state-by-state basis. In reality, almost all states are part of regional testing agencies that administer the exams. There are five such agencies, four of which were founded in the 1970’s. This map shows how these regions break down. (Source: ADA)

The lack of a standardized clinical examination is what make the dental licensing process so difficult. And the fact that candidates treat live patients as part of the exam is what makes dental licensing so unique.

An increasing number of states are accepting clinical exams from multiple testing agencies. This gives a new dentist more flexibility in choosing where to practice.

Confused yet?

  • State dental boards license and discipline dentists.
  • Regional testing agencies (also known as clinical testing agencies or regional boards) are independent non-profit corporations that contract with individual state dental boards to provide clinical examinations.
  • Licensure by reciprocity happens when two state boards formally agree that they will both honor licenses granted by the other. This is less common than licensing via credentials.
  • Licensure by credentials (also known as licensure by recognition or licensure by reciprocity endorsement) is when a state’s dental board grants a license to a dentist who is currently licensed in another state and has practiced for a certain amount of time (normally 5 years). Currently, 46 states offer licensure by credentials – all but Delaware, Florida, Nevada, and Hawaii.
  • Mutual recognition means that passing one testing agency’s clinical exam is essentially equivalent to passing that of another dental testing agency.

In 2004, the American Association of Dental Examiners (AADE) agreed that there should be a standardized national clinical exam, and created the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) to do just that. Currently, 40 states accept the results of the ADEX exam.

So, while things are moving in the right direction, it doesn’t seem likely that we’ll see universal licensure for dentists in the US anytime soon.

Dental License Frustrations Among Dentists (video)

Dental license dentist survey videoDental licensing can be a major professional frustration among dentists. A dentist may feel tethered to their state by their dental license.

“I am licensed in 4 states, and it is truly a nightmare process!” lamented a Pennsylvania dentist. “From fingerprinting to accounting for every month of my 35-year dental career, the system is broken.”

The Wealthy Dentist conducted a survey asking dentists if they are satisfied with the current system of dental licensing in the U.S. Only one in five dentists say they like the dental licensing system as it stands.

Fully 61% would prefer a universal system of licensure by credentials instead.

Watch Jim Du Molin and Julie Frey discuss dental licenses in this video.

“Dental licensing should be national, not state-based, just like medical licenses,” declared a New York dentist. “Many states do not offer licensing by reciprocity, making licensing difficult for licensed dentists wanting to move to those states.”

“I recently retired from my NY practice of 42 years and moved to NC where I wanted to practice part time,” said a general dentist. “The choices I had forced me to be retested on Jurisprudence and a sterilization/infection control exam. The entire process took well over a year. I had to be fingerprinted, obtain dental school scores, etc. I finally ended up with a limited volunteer license which allows me to volunteer my time at one of the state clinics. If I had wanted to get a regular license, I would have had to pay $3500 with the assurance from me that I would use the license within one year or forfeit it. Can’t there be a simpler way for a retired dentist to volunteer his time?”

Read more: Dentist Survey Finds Dental Licensing Laws Archaic

What are your thoughts on dental licensure?

Dentists Want Universal Dental Licensure

Dentists Want Universal Dental Licensure  (video)Dentists favor universal licensure, or some sort of national credential system that would allow them to practice in any U.S. state, much like physicians.

The minority of dentists who are against universal licensure are more likely to live in sunny states – states other dentists may be eyeing to open a dental practice.

Dentists are currently licensed on a state, or regional basis.

Many dentists have scathing criticisms of the existing system: “protectionism at its worst,” “a scam,” “out of touch with the real world.” A New York dentist summed it up: “Licensure by credentials should be the rule.”

There are also dentists who see this as an issue of fair trade.

“I always thought that restraint of trade was against the law,” complained a California orthodontist. Many expressed envy of their medical colleagues. Commented one Virginia dentist, “Physicians can do it, and we, as dentists, have a very low in-office patient mortality rate.”

To hear more of what dentists had to say about universal dental licensure, Click on Play to watch the following video–

Most dentists are tired of being tied down by their dental license, what about you?


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