Dental License Applicants
How to Become a Licensed Dentist
A California dental license may be obtained by successfully completing one of the following:
- 1. Application to the Dental Board (Board) of California for licensure after successful completion of the WREB examination. Please visit the Board's web page for licensure based on the WREB examination for more information.
- 2. Application to the Board for licensure after successful completion of the ADEX examination. Please visit the Board’s webpage for licensure based on the ADEX examination for more information.
- 3. Application for Licensure by Credential – for dentists with a current and valid dental license in another state. Please visit our Licensure by Credential web pages for qualifications.
- 4. Application for Licensure by Residency - On February 1, 2008 the Office of Administrative Law approved the Board’s Emergency regulations implementing SB 683, qualification for dental licensure on the basis of completion of a minimum of 12 months of a general practice residency or advanced education in general dentistry program approved by the ADA’s Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA). Please visit our Licensure by Residency web page for more information.
- 5. Application for Licensure by Portfolio – Effective November 5, 2014 the Portfolio Examination became a viable pathway to qualify for licensure in California. The Portfolio Examination is conducted while the applicant is enrolled in a dental school program at a California Board approved dental school. Please visit our Licensure by Portfolio web page for more information.
Furthermore, a person to whom a special permit is issued shall be entitled to practice in their recognized specialty or discipline at the dental college at which he or she is employed and its affiliated institutions as approved by the board. Please visit our special permit web page for more information.
List of California approved dental schools
Below is a current listing of California dental schools accredited by Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA) for Predoctoral (DDS/DMD) Dental Education Programs:
- Loma Linda University School of Dentistry
- University of California at Los Angeles School of Dentistry
- Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
- Western University of Health Sciences College of Dental Medicine
- University of California at San Francisco School of Dentistry
- University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry
For a complete listing of all dental schools accredited by CODA, please visit www.ada.org/en/coda
Below is a current listing of dental schools that have been approved by The Dental Board of California:
De La Salle University
The State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemitanu” of the Republic of Moldova (SUMP) – Faculty of Dentistry
Current Board-approved foreign dental schools required to submit a renewal application after January 1, 2020, are not required to submit that application and are deemed approved until January 1, 2024, subject to the continued compliance of the school.
By January 1, 2024, in order to remain an approved foreign dental school in California, all schools previously approved by the Board must complete the international consultative and accreditation process with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association or a comparable accrediting body approved by the Board.
Graduates of a foreign dental school whose programs were approved at the time of graduation are eligible for licensure.
Approval of Foreign Dental School
Assembly Bill (AB) 1519 (Low, Chapter 865, Statutes of 2019) revised requirements for the Board’s approval of foreign dental schools beginning January 1, 2020.
Beginning January 1, 2020, the Board will not accept new applications for schools seeking approval as a foreign dental school and will instead require the applicant school to successfully complete the international consultative and accreditation process with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association or a comparable accrediting body approved by the Board. An application for foreign dental school approval must be deemed a complete application pursuant to the rules promulgated by the Board prior to January 1, 2020 in order to be accepted.