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Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements

Certification or Licensing

All 50 states and the District of Columbia require dentists to be licensed. To qualify for a license in most states, a candidate must graduate from a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association's Commission on Dental Accreditation and pass written and practical examinations. Candidates may fulfill the written part of the exam by passing the National Board Dental Examinations. Individual states or regional testing agencies give the written or practical examinations. Generally, dentists licensed in one state are required to take another exam to practice in another state. Approximately 20 states grant licenses to dentists from other states based on their credentials. Dentists who intend to practice in a specialty area must be licensed or certified in 17 states.

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