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.

Special Permits

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:

CALIFORNIA:

For a complete listing of all dental schools accredited by CODA, please visit www.ada.org/en/coda

Dental Board of California Approved Foreign Dental Schools

Below is a current listing of foreign dental schools that have been approved by the Dental Board of California (Board):

MEXICO:
De La Salle University School of Dentistry

Students who graduate from the University De La Salle Bajio School of Dentistry by May 16, 2026, are eligible to apply for dentist licensure in California.

The University De La Salle Bajio School of Dentistry remains Board approved through May 16, 2026. Upon expiration of the approval, to maintain Board approval, the University De La Salle Bajio School of Dentistry will be required to complete the international consultative and accreditation process with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (CODA), or a comparable accrediting body approved by the Board.

MOLDOVA:
State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemitanu” of the Republic of Moldova (SUMP) – Faculty of Dentistry

Students who enrolled in the Faculty (School) of Dentistry at State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemitanu” of the Republic of Moldova prior to January 1, 2020, are eligible to apply for dentist licensure in California upon graduation from the school.

The Faculty (School) of Dentistry at State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemitanu” of the Republic of Moldova, by operation of statute, is deemed Board approved through January 1, 2024. By January 1, 2024, to maintain Board approval, the Faculty (School) of Dentistry at State University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Nicolae Testemitanu” of the Republic of Moldova must complete the international consultative and accreditation process with the Commission on Dental Accreditation of the American Dental Association (CODA), or a comparable accrediting body approved by the Board.

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 (CODA) 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.

Senate Bill (SB) 607 (Senator Min, Chapter 367, Statutes of 2021), which becomes effective on January 1, 2022, authorizes any foreign dental school whose program was renewed by the Board prior to January 1, 2020, through any date between January 1, 2024, and June 30, 2026, to maintain Board approval through that date. SB 607 also authorizes graduates of a foreign dental school whose program was approved by the Board prior to January 1, 2020, through any date before January 1, 2024, and who enrolled in the program prior to January 1, 2020, to be eligible for dentist licensure in California.