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?