Survey Finds Dental Licensing Laws Archaic

Survey Finds Dental Licensing Laws Archaic61% of dentists surveyed do not like the current U.S. dental licensing system and would like to see a universal system of licensure by credentials.

Many of the dentist respondents find the U.S. dental licensing laws archaic and restrictive to trade.

A Pennsylvania dentist wrote, “I am licensed in 4 states and it is truly a nightmare process! From finger printing to accounting for every month of a 35 year career. The system is broken.”

Only 20% of the dentists like the dental licensing system as it stands, while another 19% are somewhat satisfied, but would still like to see changes.

Though dental license requirements vary from state to state, all applicants for dental licensure must meet three basic requirements; an education requirement, a written examination requirement and a clinical examination requirement, as outlined on the ADA website.

Here’s what dentists had to say about the current dental licensing system —

“A doctors/dentist license should be valid by reciprocal recognition in all states.” (California dentist)

“We should be able to practice wherever we want to.” (New York dentist)

“Reciprocity should be nationwide as long as your record is clean.” (General dentist)

“If a dentist is Board Certified by a ADA recognized specialty, he/she should be able to practice that specialty in any state without taking a general dental licensing examination as that individual has attained the highest level of professional scrutiny!” (Pennsylvania oral surgeon)

“There should be a well-designed, comprehensive, yet difficult, national clinical board examination that all states accept. All foreign dental grads should be required to complete the last two to three years of dental school prior to taking any board exam.” (Virginia dentist)

“If you’re competent to practice in one state, you’re competent to practice in any state. Other than that, it’s power and politics and fear that you are not good enough to succeed in a competitive marketplace.” (Massachusetts dentist)

“It’s all politics. If a student passes the clinical exams from an accredited American dental school, he or she should have the freedom and opportunity to live and practice anywhere they desire. The market will decide if there’s too many dentists in an area.” (Kansas dentist)

“There should be one exam taken for clinicals that is good in all states upon passing the individual jurisprudence exam for each state. I took and passed 4 different regional or state exams when I got out of school, but many states would still require me to take another exam to practice in their state because they don’t have reciprocity.” (General dentist)

“We need one universal system for dental licenses, similar to medical doctors.” (Illinois dentist)

“My wife is a registered nurse and she’s mobile.” (Texas prosthodontist)

“We should have one exam that covers all states.” (Arizona dentist)

“I feel that if you have passed national Boards and any state board, there shouldn’t need to be any further testing. Its not like there’s any state that wants to pass substandard dentists! I lecture all over the US and internationally, and every once in a while, do hands on courses in other states at other doctor’s offices. I am not allowed to demonstrate on patients in any state I don’t have a license in. I have to demonstrate indirectly, walking the licensed dentists through procedures (that they may never have previously done) on patients that have presented for the course. It is an absurd situation.” (Illinois dentist)

“I recently retired from my NY practice of 42 years and moved to North Carolina where I wanted to practice part-time. 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 retire dentist to volunteer his time?” (Retired dentist)

What are your thoughts on the current dental system of licensure by states?

What have you experienced because of state licensing?

Dentist Loses License for Unnecessary Dental Fillings

Dentist performs unnecessary fillingsA dentist who tricked patients into getting expensive and unnecessary dental work has been banned from practice by UK’s General Dental Council.

Dr. Constantine Saridakis had previously paid a hefty amount for unneeded dental fillings performed before 2007. He was suspended from treating NHS patients in 2008, but did anyway, altering patient records to cover it up.

‘The committee considered suspension of your registration,” said the chair at Dr. Saridakis’s hearing, “but concluded that a period of suspension would not sufficiently protect the public in future.”

In multiple cases, the doctor recommended multiple fillings (as many as 10) on patients whose charts did not indicate any tooth decay. His partner provided a second opinion on some cases, often finding no evidence of decay.

When confronted by his partner, Dr. Saridakis allegedly replied, “Sometimes I’m preventative, and sometimes I’m in a money-making mood.”

Read more: Dentist conned patients into unnecessary fillings

Getting One Step Closer to Universal Licensure for Dentists

Health Access Dental LicenseFlorida’s governor hopes to increase access to dental care among underserved populations.

How does he hope to accomplish this? By allowing out-of-state dentists to perform dentistry in health access settings (state clinics, federal health centers, educational institutions, etc.). So on January 1, a new license was created in Florida: the health access dental license.

This license allows dentists not licensed in Florida to practice there without getting a full Florida dental license. To be eligible, dentists must have been actively practicing for at least the past five years or since graduating from dental school.

Many dentists will be delighted to have the opportunity to practice in Florida. Most dentists are licensed by state, so it can be difficult for doctors to practice elsewhere. Since Florida is a much sought-after retirement destination, many dentists wish they could head to the Sunshine State for a semi-working retirement. But licensing requirements have kept them away.

Here’s how the application begins:

“Health access settings” means programs and institutions of the Department of Children and Family Services, the Department of Health, the Department of Juvenile Justice, nonprofit community health centers, Head Start centers, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), FQHC look-alikes as defined by federal law, and clinics operated by accredited colleges of dentistry in this state if such community service programs and institutions immediately report to the Board of Dentistry all violations of s. 466.027, s. 466.028, or other practice act or standard of care violations related to the actions or inactions of a dentist, dental hygienist, or dental assistant engaged in the delivery of dental care in such settings.

Read Florida’s licensing requirements

Universal Dental Licensure: Dentists Want It (VIDEO)

The clear majority of American dentists want one license that would let them practice their profession in any of the 50 states.

Only 16% of dentists surveyed support the current system of regional or state-by state licensure – and many of them live in states like Florida or California.

Read more: Dentists Eager for National Reciprocity

Survey: 4 Out of 5 Dentists Favor Universal Licensure

Dentists Would Love One License That Would Allow Them to Practice Anywhere

Our latest poll question brought in a record number of responses! We asked: Once a dentist is licensed in one state, should he or she be permitted to practice anywhere in the US?

The answer was an overwhelming “Yes!” Over four out of five dentists responded, “Yes – I support universal licensure across the US.” A minority replied, “No – I support the current system of state-by-state and/or regional licensing.”

I guess dentists want to be able to move! What’s more, a number of you are undoubtedly hoping for a semi-working retirement where the warm breezes blow.

Over half of the dentists who oppose universal licensure are from the warm and sunny states of Florida, Hawaii, California and Texas. Coincidence? No way!

Our readers had volumes to say on this issue… here are just a few comments:


  • “Don’t you know that teeth are different from one state to the next?” (Pennsylvania)
  • “This is THE reason why I am not a member of the ADA and will never rejoin.” (Indiana)
  • “The purpose of credentialing is to prevent dentists who are inept, addicted to drugs, or just plain dumb from going to state to state leaving a wake of disaster behind them.” (Michigan)
  • “Regional Boards are more reasonable. The market will control overcrowding.” (California)
  • “This is SUPPOSED to be a free country where people can relocate as desired. This current system is just regional protectionism. It sucks!” (Massachusetts)
  • “Once [one has] passed the Florida board, it is a tough decision to then open it up to everyone. We really can’t have tons of semi-retired folks down here competing.” (Florida)
  • “Board exams for initially-licensed dentists are just a source for additional revenue and a way to limit the number of dentists in that state. In brief, it is a scam.” (Michigan)
  • Read more doctors’ comments



Post your own comments! Plus, read the full results.

Check out our current and previous surveys!


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