Instruments and Books Instruments and Books International Dentist

21 Ways to Brilliantly Grow Your Dental Practice

I'm a dental professional and I know how hard it is to get new patients in the dentistry market. 

We need more than just a great reputation and excellent credentials; we also need a solid digital marketing plan.

For years I have worked in the dental industry and have watched closely to gather the most effective tips for growing a practice. While every dental professional is unique, there are certain marketing efforts that bring in more responses than others.

I have seen dental teams use email blasts to incentivize patients interested in whitening services. I’ve also seen dental professionals focus on online reviews and user-generated content to build rapport with a local community. 

It all comes down to who you are as a dental practice and the brand you want to present to potential clients. 

Read through these essential dental digital marketing methods to grow your practice.

What is Dental Marketing?

Dental digital marketing is a set of activities that helps you to promote your dental practice. It will help you get new patients and keep existing ones happy.

Most dentists find dental digital marketing hard to understand, so they’re unsure how to start doing it well. That’s why we created this guide—to show you exactly what dental marketing is, how it works and how to do it right in Canada.

Reasons You Need to Know How to Market Your Dental Practice

The notion of digital marketing can conjure up several different things like complex social media platforms or endless email marketing ads. Some people think of it as the shady practice of trying to sell something that someone doesn't need, while others see it as a way to promote their business and services so that more prospective patients know about them.

For dentists, digital marketing is essentially the same thing: getting your dental practices out there so that you can attract more patients into your practice. You need this because it helps:

  • To ensure you can pay your dental practices team and bills.
  • Alleviate the public need for more comprehensive dentistry services.
  • Grow your local business reputation, so your business stays healthy.
  • Ensures you have a future in the dentistry industry so you can help promote and support others trying to do the same.

 More importantly, though, digital marketing helps you grow your business by increasing patient satisfaction and referrals—two factors that have been shown time and time again to be key drivers for success in any dental practice.

Here are the fantastic methods of dental marketing I’ve seen work to grow a business practice, so you’ll have years of successful business operations.

Step-by-Step Instructions to Grow Your Dental Practice

There is no guaranteed method to being the best business in the dental industry. As you are reading through these dental marketing methods, be sure to adapt them to your practice. Each one offers many benefits. These methods include: 

  1. Build an SEO-Optimized Website
  2. Create a Differentiating Service or Theme
  3. Get Involved in the Local Community
  4. Be Mobile Friendly
  5. Solicit Positive Online Reviews
  6. Unify Your Dental Directory Listings
  7. Leverage Press Releases
  8. Start a PPC Campaign
  9. Create a Patient Referral Program
  10. Hire a Social Media Manager
  11. Run Dental Service Promotions
  12. Capture Leads with Ad Retargeting
  13. Partner with Local Businesses & Schools
  14. Offer Comprehensive Payment Options & Membership Savings
  15. Create an Engaging Blog
  16. Use Online Scheduling with 24/7 Access
  17. Don't Underestimate Paper Flyers & Billboards
  18. Sponsor a 5K that Benefits Children
  19. Buy Radio & Podcast Ads
  20. Provide Some Teledentistry Services
  21. Always Have Top-Notch Customer Service

Take your time to fully consider how best to make these digital marketing steps work for your patients and target the local area. 

1 - Build an SEO-Optimized Website

An easy way to grow your practice is by optimizing your website for search engines such as Google or Bing. You can do this by first hiring an SEO service professional who will help optimize the title tags of all pages on your site so that they contain relevant keywords. 

Then they will work with you on creating meta descriptions that pop out at people when they search for information about dental services near them (they'll also make sure there aren't duplicate content issues).

Make sure each page has unique content – don't put filler text just because it looks better visually! The more unique content on each page means that search engines will find more opportunities for them when people look up stuff related specifically to dentistry services near where they live.

2 - Create a Differentiating Service or Theme

You need to define your target audience for dental advertising and find out what they're looking for. You can do this by conducting market research such as surveys and focus groups, but it's also important to talk with other dentists in your area. You want to know what concerns about oral health and teeth are in place to encourage users, friends, and families to visit your office. 

Ask them what their patients are asking for that they aren't currently offering. Also, keep an eye on industry trends so you know what’s new and innovative in the dental world, which could set you apart from your competitors. 

3 - Get Involved in the Local Community

Community involvement is a great way to meet new people and get your name out there. If you're shy, don't worry—there are plenty of ways to get involved without being too pushy or aggressive.

Here are some ideas:

  • Join a local sports team. 
  • Volunteer at an event like Canada Day or Pride Parade. 
  • Sponsor an event. 
  • Help with food banks. 
  • Join a community planning committee. 
  • Set up a holiday-themed party. 

After these events, be sure to capture videos and photos to share on Instagram or through direct market opportunities on the internet that boost your presence. 

4 - Be Mobile Friendly

It would help if you were mobile-friendly. The days of sitting in front of your computer and typing away are over. If you want to grow your practice, your website must be mobile-friendly and easy to use on a phone or tablet.

Try creating a mobile app for your practice to make things even easier. That way, users can see your services and make appointments from their phones.

5 - Solicit Positive Online Reviews

Be proactive in asking patients for reviews. In the age of digital marketing for dentists, reviews are everything. Whether you’re running a small dental practice or a large one, positive online reviews will help increase your visibility, attract new clients, and improve your overall brand image.

Respond promptly to negative online reviews. If you receive an unfavorable review online (which is inevitable), respond to it quickly and politely by thanking the patient for their feedback and offering them solutions on how you can help them move forward.

6 - Unify Your Dental Directory Listings

Unifying all your dental directory listings is key to maximizing their effectiveness. This means ensuring every single mention of your practice has the correct contact information, website, phone number, social media, and physical address. 

7 - Leverage Press Releases 

Press releases are one of the most effective dental advertising ways to get your name out there and build your reputation as a thought leader in the dental field. These digital marketing for dentists announcements are posted on relevant websites and social media (like local news outlets), and they're usually available to view by anyone interested, whether they've heard of you before.

8 - Start a PPC Campaign

PPC, or paid search digital marketing for dentists, is the act of advertising on Google, Bing, or social media to get more website visitors. It's an effective way to get your name out there and attract new patients, as well as an excellent way to increase brand awareness using local SEO in your marketing strategy.

Getting started with PPC can be a little overwhelming, especially if you're not familiar with digital marketing for dentists or local SEO marketing strategy. Save yourself time by hiring a digital marketing team who understands your target audience. These are usually reasonably priced and can run your social media platforms and search engine campaigns efficiently. For as little as $5/day, you could see your practice grow exponentially.

 9 - Create a Patient Referral Program

Referral programs are a great way to get new patients. If you have an existing referral program, make sure that you are promoting it via all channels. You can use your website, social media, and email marketing to let people know about your referral program and how they can benefit from being part of it.

The goal is to incentivize your patients to reach out to friends, family members, coworkers, or anyone else in the local community who may be interested in your dental services. 

10 - Hire a Social Media Manager

You are busy and already have enough on your plate. Let’s be honest; with the right person in place, this can be one of the most beneficial investments you make for your practice. You will find that it is well worth the cost if you do it properly and find someone who understands your business and its needs. 

If you hire an intern or entry-level employee to fill this role, keep at least one eye open for potential problems, as they may not understand what is expected of them or fail to deliver results because of inexperience or lack of follow-through ability.

11 - Run Dental Service Promotions

Dentists can promote their dental services by offering special discounts on certain services. For example, if you're looking to attract new patients and run a dental discount code promotion, offer free whitening, or free tooth cleaning. 

This can be easily combined with your referral program or with visual advertising at local events. 

12 - Capture Leads with Ad Retargeting

Ad retargeting is a great way to capture leads. It allows you to target people who have visited your website, and it can be used to promote products or services, as well as your website or blog.

You can readjust your ads and digital marketing towards specific events, dates, and target market segments, or your dental services have changed. 

13 - Partner with Local Businesses & Schools

Partnering with local businesses and schools can be a great way to reach new patient populations. Maybe you want to offer free toothbrush kits to kids on the first day of school or offer discounts to anyone shopping at a candy store. 

Get creative, and you may uncover incredibly beneficial partnerships. 

14 - Offer Comprehensive Payment Options & Membership Savings

One of the best ways to keep your patients returning is by offering them options in how they pay. Whether you're a private practice or have a chain of dental clinics, offering multiple payment methods will help build customer loyalty and retention.

Remember to build up loyal customers through membership programs. Offering discounts for those who sign up for membership programs means that you can retain more patients over time - which will ultimately mean more repeat business from those same people.

15 - Create an Engaging Blog

Blogging is an excellent way to gain credibility with potential patients and generate more leads for your practice through SEO (search engine optimization). In addition, it will help build trust by providing valuable content that educates patients before they visit you in person.

16 - Use Online Scheduling with 24/7 Access

Online scheduling is one of the most essential tools for any dental practice. A system with online appointment scheduling and patient management is a crucial part of your business, serving as an integral component of your marketing and patient retention strategy.

A well-designed online appointment book can help you increase revenue, boost your brand awareness, reduce no-shows, increase efficiency, and enhance customer satisfaction—all while increasing your bottom line.

17 - Don't Underestimate Paper Flyers & Billboards

It's true! Paper flyers can be a great way to get your practice in front of potential patients. You may have heard that they're considered a bit outdated these days, but they're still used by many dentists—especially those looking for new patients who don't know where to start. A flyer at your local diner could drastically increase your ROI. 

18 - Sponsor a 5K that Benefits Children 

Look for a local 5K that's accepting sponsors. You can search online or ask around at your gym or community centers if you have any ideas of where to start.

Once you've found a 5K that fits your goal, talk to their marketing team about how they promote the event. They'll also be able to tell you how many participants usually sign up for each event so you can plan accordingly.

19 - Buy Radio & Podcast Ads

Radio and podcast ads are great for dental marketing because they’re less expensive than other types of advertising. You can run these ads on stations or shows that appeal to the demographics you want, like talk radio or comedy shows.

20 - Provide Some Teledentistry Services

Teledentistry allows patients to see their dentist remotely via video chat. It's a great way to provide remote care and save your patients money on travel and time off work. Here are the benefits of teledentistry:

  • Patients can access dental services without leaving their homes or jobs. 
  • Dentists can be more productive since they don't have to schedule patients into appointments.
  • Practices get more revenue from the additional patient visits per month since there is no need for travel costs or lost productivity.

21 - Always Have Top-Notch Customer Service

Customer service is one of the most critical aspects of your business. It's a reflection of how you brand your practice, and it can be improved with some simple and easy steps.

Patients will come to your dentistry services more if you treat them with respect, kindness, and empathy.

Key Considerations for Successfully Growing Your Dental Practice

You need to know your audience well. Understanding who you are serving informs how you are targeting digital marketing to them and what services you should provide. You will want fun imagery if you are serving primary younger kids compared to a more professional appearance for just adults.

You also need to look at your local competition. Find the aspect of your business that differentiates you from the others offering similar services. This could be lower prices, more technology learning services, or better customer service. Then you promote this difference through dental advertising. 

Stick to your strengths and weaknesses. Every dental practice has something that makes them unique. Once you find that aspect, lean into it!

Taking it to the Next Level: How to Market Your Practice in the Metaverse

The Metaverse is the virtual world you live in when you’re logged into Facebook or YouTube. You can get on a plane and fly around if you don’t mind running into photorealistic avatars of other people who want to sell their products and services to you.

It may seem early to make this adoption, but right now is when you want to set up your virtual practice that accepts real-life appointments. Even one to two patients a month who find you through the Metaverse will be enough when this technology becomes commonplace.

Alternatives to Dental Marketing

If all of this sounds too overwhelming for you, don’t worry. No matter how much or little you plan on putting into your marketing, the key is offering premium service. Word of mouth will get out if your practice is simply a more inviting experience for your patients.

Wrapping Up 

Hopefully, this guide has helped you grow your dental practice and build a loyal patient base. 

In the end, it’s all about finding what works best for you and your practice. There are hundreds of other options available out there as well, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different tactics until one stick.





About The Author:

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

HOME Instruments and Books International Dentist Oral Care

The Top Benefits of Teledentistry and How it Improves Patient Access

Every day we see more and more technology implemented into our lives. It’s transforming how we shop, how we socialize, and even how we learn. But what about how we access healthcare?

The digital age is changing the way that people receive care by making it more accessible and convenient than ever before. Teledentistry is the latest addition to this revolutionary movement. While many are unfamiliar with the term, once you understand its benefits, you will likely ask your dental provider if they offer the service.

What is Teledentistry?

Teledentistry is the use of virtual meetings and live video conferencing to provide dental care. It is a relatively new practice that allows patients to see and be seen by a dentist through modern communication technology. This means that there are no longer any travel or scheduling issues for patients who live in rural areas.

The goal is to improve access to dental care for any individual or family living in a rural area or experiencing some other cause (disability, health, age, etc.) that negates their ability to see a dentist face to face. With so many advances in online communication and the mass adoption of these new services because of the global pandemic, it has become easier than ever to engage in teledentistry.

Is Teledentistry like Telemedicine?

The answer is no. While both share the concept of distance-based care, teledentistry has a specialized focus on the treatment of oral health disorders. Telemedicine is more of a generalized term. Like most things in healthcare, being specific is important for insurance providers, patient care, and the training/education of healthcare providers

This may seem like an arbitrary distinction at first glance, but it serves an important function. It allows doctors to more easily refer patients who might need additional care outside their area of expertise or beyond their office’s capabilities back to their regular dentist.

What are the Dentistry Perceptions of Teledentistry?

Dentists are concerned about the quality of care their patients are receiving. Dentistry is a highly specialized field, and it takes years of education and experience to master the art of oral health. There are questions about privacy and quality of care. As more people start using teledentistry (including remote video visits), there will be an increasing need for high-quality security measures to protect patient information from hackers and other cybercriminals.

There are still debates happening about legislating the regulation of teledentistry to ensure a patient is receiving the care they require. This is primarily around synchronous vs. asynchronous teledentistry. That would be real-time, interactive consultation through digital means compared to using captured images and videos to review materials.

Was Covid the Cause of Teledentistry?

The quick answer is no. Teledentistry was around before the global pandemic. However, it is important to point out that the repercussions of so many families not leaving their homes or canceling visits with healthcare providers led to the mass adaptation of online communication.

Dentists wanted to provide quality access to care via video conferencing, and this has only helped those patients who live in rural areas or may not usually get to a dentist for routine care.

The Benefits of Teledentistry

Teledentistry can be a game-changer for many people. It improves access to care, reduces costs, provides services to disadvantaged children, increases the availability of specialists and other professionals, and is less intimidating than visiting a traditional dental office. For people with disabilities or phobias about going to the dentist (or their own fear of needles), these advantages are particularly important. The benefits include:

Improve Access to Dental Care

Teledentistry can potentially improve access to dental care for patients in rural and urban areas with a limited number of dentists. It can also be used to connect specialized dental services to people with disabilities.

While there has been an excellent outreach of incoming dentists in Canada, the need to target farmland and rural areas with not as many services has only accelerated. Leveraging the power of teledentistry will improve the overall oral health of those who do not have the resources or time for in-person visits.

More Affordable Dental Care

Teledentistry reduces the cost of travel for patients and their families. With teledentistry, patients can have their dental care done remotely with a dentist in another location. There is no need for specialized tools or single-use equipment to be utilized during the visit. Everything is done remotely so a dentist can get a better impression of the care a patient may need and then offer advice and diagnosis for further steps.

Targeting Disadvantaged Children

Teledentistry's services also extend to disadvantaged children. A recent study showed that children with disabilities face a higher risk of developing chronic health problems than their non-disabled peers. They are also less likely to receive proper dental care, putting them at risk for more severe oral hygiene issues later in life. Teledentistry can help these kids by giving them access to high-quality dental care when they're young. These preventative measures can be and should be taken before it's too late.

Greater Insight from Specialists

Dental care is all about the patient experience, which includes accessibility. There are many times when a dentist may not have the specialist he or she feels would be ideal for the patient’s case. This could be due to availability, location, or even financial reasons. However, teledentistry allows dentists to connect with specialists who can then offer their opinion and treatment plans via video conference.

This gives patients more options and flexibility in obtaining the best possible care they need while also saving them time and money on travel costs and missed workdays by having appointments done remotely through video conferencing.

Easing Fear & Stress

Visiting a dentist online is less intimidating than sitting in a dentist’s chair. Teledentistry delivers a level of comfort and convenience that traditional dental offices can't offer. It's also less scary for children, who are often afraid of dental visits because it involves getting poked and prodded with sharp objects. Teledentistry removes all these fears by making procedures seem more like video games than medical visits.

Greater Access for Disabled Patients

Dentists can provide care for people with disabilities and the elderly in a way that is more accessible for them. The ability to deliver care remotely through video conferencing is one of the most significant benefits of teledentistry. It gives people with different needs better access to dental providers. For example, video conferencing allows patients who are in wheelchairs or have other mobility issues an opportunity to see the dentist without having to leave their homes.

Easy to Schedule

If a patient has an oral emergency during their shift at work, they can schedule an appointment immediately after work rather than having to wait until Monday morning when they have time off from work.

Teledentistry opens up time outside the typical 9-5 banking hours of the work week. It enables many full-time and professional workers to get routine checkups. The more access this provides, the greater the impact on lowering overall dental needs because everyone is getting preventative care.

Better for the Dental Practice

Another benefit of teledentistry is that it frees up your dentist’s time. Dentists can spend more time with patients, more time on clinical work, more time on education, and more time on research. They can also use their freed-up time to advocate for new patient access models and technologies.

With the right technology in place and a clear understanding of what you want from your dental practice, you can be sure that each visit will be productive for both you as well as your dentist or hygienist.

Elevating Oral Hygiene Awareness

An often overlooked benefit of teledentistry is that when you improve access to dental care, you also enhance oral hygiene education. With a broader audience of patients to serve, there is a greater opportunity to educate those that may be misinformed or not have any idea of best practices for routine maintenance and health.

Education has always been the silver bullet to improving a community. That should be the same for any topic, including elevating the overall oral hygiene of a population because more people are able to get their questions answered and instructed on the best practices available.

What are the Challenges of Teledentistry?

As with any new technology, there are a few challenges that must be overcome before teledentistry can become the norm. It is definitely true that there is less in-person care, which could harm patient outcomes in the long run. This is probably the most critical factor oversight groups are paying close attention to right now. As long as teledentistry can offer quality patient care, it will stay around.

The other major challenge is access to internet services. During the global pandemic, many schools that shut down realized their students lived in areas without internet access. This primarily affected rural patients who either could not afford network connections or did not have an available service provider.

As teledentistry expands to more areas of the world, there will most likely be more emphasis on developing networks for more rural living spaces.

How Teledentistry Improves Rural Access

The best solution teledentistry offers rural patients is that it can enable patients to avoid long travel times and out-of-pocket costs associated with visiting a dentist’s office. It also provides an opportunity for dental students or other professionals who are currently located in rural areas to obtain needed training from specialists located elsewhere (e.g., at academic teaching hospitals).

In addition, teledentistry may provide more opportunities for dentists working in isolated locations to work collaboratively with colleagues who live in larger cities or other hubs of health care services and research. This collaboration can help create new knowledge about how best to treat certain conditions and provide better care overall for patients across the country.

It comes down to ease of access for both patients and working dental professionals. The greater the ability to access information, the higher skilled and educated the population becomes. This lowers the barriers for new dentists seeking a pathway to a lucrative career as well.

What is the Future of Teledentistry?

As this technology is integrated into daily life, you can expect app development and mobile use cases to rapidly expand. Dental practices will begin offering bespoke services via a unique mobile platform just for their location. That way, you could be on your way to a meeting via ride-sharing and get a quick checkup in the backseat.

Again, all of these developments will have to be aligned with quality patient care so the benefits of teledentistry do not overshadow the treatment received. Anytime there is a cost-effective solution to a problem, it has staying power in the public parlance. That is why teledentistry is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon. Better access to medical providers at lower costs seems like an excellent step forward, especially for those that may have never had the chance to see a dentist before.


Teledentistry has many advantages, and it is crucial to understand how it can help patients. While there are some obstacles that need to be overcome, these solutions will likely lead to an increase in the use of teledentistry in both urban and rural areas. As younger dentists come online by getting their practices approved, we can expect to see greater access and treatment possibilities for quality dental care all over Canada and the rest of the world.

About The Author:

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books Uncategorized

Transforming the Future of Canadian Dentistry with Internationally Trained Dentists

Internationally trained dentists (ITD) must overcome significant barriers to becoming qualified and licensed dentists working in Canada. That includes massive piles of verifiable documents, thousands of dollars, and numerous highly challenging exams.

This entire equivalency process is also hard to understand, especially for those immigrants that are still learning the language or are unused to information gathering in a new country.

That is why organizations designed to help ITDs along their journey are necessary to improve our country's dental and oral health.

There is a bigger goal that often gets overlooked, and that is unifying the many international students, immigrants, and working professionals focused on improving not only the lives of their families with a lucrative career but the social needs of Canadians by providing an essential service.

To that end, we had the unique opportunity to meet with Dr. Luca Salvador, founder of the Internationally Trained Dentists Association of Canada (ITDAOC).


Since March of 2021, this organization has focused on providing fair and equal representation for ITDs, offering helpful guidance, and remaining an outstanding advocate for improving the equivalency process.

Dr. Salvador received his HBSc from the University of Toronto in 2013 and was awarded his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in 2018. This places him in a unique gray area of Canadian dental regulation as his primary degree is from a Canadian school while his doctorate is from Poland.

We discussed the future of ITDs and general oral health in Canada and how the equivalency process should be transformed to ensure a brighter future for the country.

A Long & Expensive Process

It helps to understand a bit about ITD equivalency programs. At its core, the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) created the equivalency process for those international dentists with education, experience, or training. The idea was to get all dentists working in Canada to the same baseline of practice standards.

This is a valid concern as no one wants to interact with a dentist who is not qualified to perform operations, cleanings, or other procedures. The problem is this process is highly cost-preventative and often extremely confusing to the average ITD.

Add on top of that the immigration process, and you have a recipe that prevents more highly qualified dentists than it helps.

“If it costs $100,000 CAD or more to undertake the equivalency process and you know you are looking at a historical passing return of roughly 40%,” says Dr. Salvador, “then that is significantly below what it should be. Our goal is to encourage regulators to validate our equivalency exams using Canadian graduates.”

This is a strong argument about the NDEB equivalency process because the current belief is that 100% of Canadian dental school graduates could pass the same exams given to ITDs. Dr. Salvador and his organization have a simple ask to these regulators - prove it.

If the belief is that Canadian dental school graduates can pass these same exams without preparation, then all the ITDAOC is asking for is validation.

That is currently the vision of the short-term goals of this organization, to transform the equivalency process so it is more welcoming, cost-effective, and realistic for the backgrounds of those ITDs that apply and painstakingly pass through to the other side.

A Question of Immigration

While the short-term goals may be to update the NDEB equivalency process, the longer-term issues surround the regulation of immigration concerning dentists. There is a shortage of skilled labor for dentists in Canada.

There are roughly 12,000 job openings expected in dentistry from now until 2028, and only about 7,000 available students and trained individuals to fill them. That leaves a massive service gap, especially for rural or hard-to-reach communities.

In the meantime, you have a long line of trained individuals highly motivated to make the jump to Canadian citizenship. Canada has one of the better international reputations for immigration, but that does not mean it cannot be improved, especially in an area concerning a high-in-demand technical skill requiring specific knowledge.

“There are thousands of internationally trained dentists in Canada right now,” continues Dr. Salvador. “We’re ready to work, but can’t. So the issue is how to address the regulatory barriers preventing our forward progression as well as the self-regulation question.”

This is, again, a valid point. Most of the mechanisms in place to hold organizations like the NDEB accountable are critical and require experts in dentistry to set the rules, not those without any experience. There needs to be a check and balance on the regulators in charge of the equivalency process.

“We give them credit for recent positive developments,” says Dr. Salvador, “but more needs to be done so ITDs are given a fair opportunity to improve Canadian society.”

One of these improvements is a proposal that the new NDECC exam, a highly reliant skills component and bespoke situational judgment component, be separated into two entities. This way, if you pass one and fail the other, you are only forced to retake the other.

The Question of Cost & Awareness

ITDs are asking for fair treatment because the perception is that they are treated as something less. A good example of this was the recent global pandemic during which many equivalency exams were canceled. On the whole, the NDEB did a good job of ensuring the flow of qualified dentists through the process, except for ITDs.

Dental schools would not allow ITDs to use their facilities for the ACS exams. This could be outside of the NDEB’s control, but that resulted in a significant drop in qualified ITDs that could then progress through the process and start serving Canadian communities.

Every time there is a delay to the equivalency process, it costs those ITDs hundreds to thousands of dollars. These are individuals living in a country where they most likely do not have local support, a high-paying job, or the resources to recover from such setbacks.

If the goal of the Canadian government is to bring more services to citizens in all provinces, it only makes sense to make the process of ITDs smoother. Any failed exam due to improper design or elements beyond an ITDs control wastes thousands of dollars and months of their lives.

“Many competent dentists fail when they shouldn’t have,” continues Dr. Salvador. “That extends their process by months, if not years, and costs them thousands of dollars.

This is a big issue that has not been addressed in a satisfactory way yet. There are gaps in supplying us with information to validate what they are telling us. There should be fairness in the equivalency process because it is a challenging journey for all to undergo this series of exams.”

The problem here is representation. At many planning meetings and annual reviews, the only people allowed in the room are from the NDEB or supporting organizations like the Federation of the Canadian Dental Students Association (FCDSA). Other groups, like Dr. Salvador's, are often excluded from the meeting rooms.

This breakdown in transparency fosters apprehension and mistrust that there is an authentic effort to great a fair and just equivalency process.

“We have submitted fundamental questions over the last 6 months for which we have not received answers,” says Dr. Salvador. “That’s a big issue because if they’re not willing to discuss or address these issues openly with us, then we have to go through other means to get these issues addressed.”

The Birth of the ITDAOC

Dr. Salvador had the opportunity to meet with the executive director of the NDEB, Dr. Marie Dagenais. This was a good meeting where concerns were heard, but questions still remain unaddressed.

“I don’t think she is a bad person at all,” says Dr. Salvador. “I think she has good intent and a very challenging job. The problem is communication and transparency. When questions go unanswered, how are we to know we are receiving a fair chance to succeed?

Many ITDs come from countries where speaking out against authority has severe consequences. We’re trying to encourage people not to be afraid in Canada.

People move here because they don’t want to deal with stuff like that anymore. It is about improving the process, so the next generation of ITDs doesn’t go through the same issues ours has.”

When you visit the ITDAOC website, the very first words you see are “Together, we are strong.” This is the best representation of Dr. Salvador's organization.

Go to their board of directors. You’ll find all ITDs with truly impressive backgrounds and recent accolades working in Canada to help improve the dental profession. This is not a group of outsiders.

These are people living, working, contributing, and thriving in Canadian society seeking to make things a little better for those that follow in their footsteps. Can you think of any more authentic Canadian pursuit?

Fair Representation Breeds Trust and Opportunity

We could not be prouder to have had the opportunity to sit and discuss the future of ITDs and oral health in Canada with Dr. Luca Salvador. It is good to know there is an organization dedicated to helping ITDs find a brighter future here in Canada.

At the end of the day, it is all about having a voice at the table of decision-makers. Creating a representative body of ITDs, so they receive a fair chance at building a life in Canada that contributes to the betterment of their people.

If you would like to learn more about Dr. Salvador and the ITDAOCplease visit their website. They frequently post to their blog, host online and in-person talks, and advocate to numerous regulatory bodies within the Canadian government for fair and practical initiatives.

New members are welcome to join at any time. When you become a member of ITDAOC, you will be kept up to date with all the latest initiatives, news, and outreach programs being leveraged to improve the future of ITDs seeking a bright future in Canada.


Canada has long held a reputation around the globe as a warm and inviting country full of people who value respect and fair treatment.

Seeing an organization like the ITDAOC grow is not only a bellwether that there is an issue but a strength that Canada is a free space where voices can and must be heard to enact positive change.

We fully support Dr. Salvador and the rest of the ITDAOC Board and membership in their endeavors and will be closely watching the future developments of this well-meaning and necessary pursuit.

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books Instruments and Books International Dentist

The 10 Top Dentistry Schools in Canada for ITD Students

There are many reasons to visit Canada for your educational needs. Besides beautiful scenery, an incredibly welcoming population, and many opportunities to learn a new culture, Canada is an excellent place to immigrate as an internationally trained dentist (ITD). There are much exciting research and practice experience framed degrees included in the dental schools in Canada we have listed in this article.

There were more than 1.4 million university students in Canada in 2019. Between 2009 and 2019, 1.7 million jobs were created for university graduates.

Dentists in Canada enjoy a significantly higher pay scale than other careers, often earning more than $125,000 a year to start. ITDs are especially in high demand because Canada is immigrant-friendly and wants to help grow the health and dental care of citizens in rural and hard-to-reach areas of the massive country.

Dental school can average anywhere from $47,000 to $165,000+ for a four-year dental degree. This means that even on the high end, you are likely to come out on top within a few short years after graduation.

This is an occupation expected to be in shortage for the country. So getting in now to establish your practice is a wise choice.

Dentistry is a profession that is extremely important when it comes to the general health of Canadians. However, not all dentists are created equal. The top schools in Canada are able to provide their students with the education and experience they need to become successful professionals in this field. There are many dentistry schools in Canada, but which ones offer the best options for you?

What are the 10 Best Dental Schools in Canada?

It's a common misconception that Canada doesn't have good dentistry schools. In fact, Canada has some of the best dental schools in the world. Many Canadians believe their country isn't known for its dentistry programs, but this is not true.

Canada has a long history of providing high-quality dental education to its people and residents. This means that a student from any country can come study at one of these institutions—and get top-notch training in return! Let’s get on our list.


10 - Dalhousie University Faculty of Dentistry (Halifax, NS)

This is one of the oldest universities in Canada, with excellent hands-on experience serving the local community’s underprivileged population. This way, you get real-world experience long before sitting for your final exams to be licensed.

Dalhousie has smaller class sizes, which is a significant benefit for those students that want a little more one-on-one instruction from faculty. The course load is pretty broad, with a strong emphasis on clinical care and exposure to dental surgery.

This specific campus is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where it can be chilly, but you will be exposed to some of the warmest people you have ever met.

You can cover the Bachelor of Dental Hygiene program in one to two years or three years in Dental Hygiene, Dental Surgery, and Doctor of Dental Surgery qualification.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 18,500

International Student Tuition: $16,250 CAD

Acceptance Rate: 65%

International Students: 24%

Year Founded: 1818

Mascot: Rocky the Ram


9 - University of Manitoba Niznick College of Dentistry (Winnipeg, MB)

There is more emphasis on therapy and prevention techniques at this excellent school of dentistry. That is due to the presence of the Chemosensory Biology Research Group focused on chemical senses in the human population.

If you are more research inclined, the International Centre for Oral-Systemic Health (ICOSH) will help you gain a better understanding and cutting-edge innovation in approaching gum disease and tooth decay as well as the knowledge gap in training.

All of this means you get access to a lot of state-of-the-art programming and tools to accelerate your career. That includes a clinic for a hands-on experience that serves the local community.

Manitoba is a pretty big city with plenty to keep you busy on those rare occasions when you are not studying. It is also a great way to connect with in-need rural areas to set up a job after graduation.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 29,800

International Student Tuition: $272-$500/credit hour or $8,911 for Masters/PhD programs

Acceptance Rate: 52%

International Students: 21.9%

Year Founded: 1877

Mascot: Bison

8 - Universite Laval Faculte de Medicine Dentaire (Quebec City, CQ)

If you get the chance to study in gorgeous Quebec City, then do it! This is known as “Little Europe” because of the unique architecture and culture surrounding every cobblestone street. The local university integrates cutting-edge research into all its training programs, so you will be on the leading end of your training.

There is also a vibrant gerontology and periodontics area of the school that expands exposure to new techniques that is valuable to any student, regardless of specialty. You will be able to practice what you learn in a local clinic.

Laval hosts the Oral Ecology Research Group, which focuses on oral microbiology and immunology, which is a great feather in your cap when applying to jobs with the government in research and policy.

You should remember, though, that you are in Quebec City, where the vast majority of residents speak French more than English. You can get by in English, but do not go here if you are not prepared to learn a new language on top of your English requirements for immigration to Canada as an ITD.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 45,000

International Student Tuition: $13,750 undergrad / $11,250 grad

Acceptance Rate: 48%

International Students: 15-20%

Year Founded: 1852

Mascot: Victor the Eagle

7 - University of Saskatchewan College of Dentistry (Saskatoon, SK)

In the spring, this is one of the most gorgeous campuses you could ever visit. In the winter, you may be in for a bit of a culture shock as it gets quite cold. However, as the province's first fully accredited dental program, a lot of resources and effort are poured into the quality education of every single student from this school.

That includes meeting the needs of the local Metis population, which will expose students to tribal territory and indigenous cultures, a precious tool for securing a career as a dentist in Canada. In addition, the local dental clinic offers hands-on experience boasting more than 10,000 clients annually. That is plenty of practice before sitting for your exams.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 20,953

International Student Tuition: $549-$1,201 per 3 credits / Masters and Doctoral $3,729 per annum

Acceptance Rate: 73%

International Students: 14.3%

Year Founded: 1907

Mascot: Howler the Huskie


6 - Western University Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry (London, ON)

If you go online and research dentistry school statistics in Canada, you’ll find Western University almost always right in the middle. This is because you are getting a well-rounded education at a quality school for a reasonable price.

There is no single effort that propels this school above the rest, more of a versatile education that integrates much of the current knowledge of treatment, care, and planning.

You’ll have many opportunities to test out your skills and diagnosing through the Dental Outreach Community Services (DOCS) and Oral Health Total Health (OHTH). These both serve the location community with actual treatment plans and fundraising/outreach opportunities.

We recommend this college specifically for those ITDs needing to build a network from scratch. As one of the most widely recognized programs that focus on accreditation first, you will be introduced to many industry-leading professionals through speaking engagements and outings. Oh, and yes, this is where famous Canadian Alan Thicke when to school!

Quick Facts

Student Population: 27,300

International Student Tuition: $16,250

Acceptance Rate: 58%

International Students: 20%

Year Founded: 1878

Mascot: JW the Mascot (Mustang)

5 - Universite de Montreal Faculty of Dental Medicine (Montreal, QC)

For those ITDs looking at a bit more of a cosmopolitan education, welcome to Montreal! This is one of the vibrant cultural centers of the country, with a massive population of immigrants from all backgrounds and walks of life. Even if you somehow cannot find a local group at the school, you should have no difficulty finding a community in the city to feel at home.

This is a serious school that emphasizes technology and laboratory work under time restraints. There are plenty of hands-on opportunities, including working in a distracting setting due to the loud noises of city life. That includes serving more than 40,000 local clients per year.

You need to remember this is one of the top dental schools in the entire country. You will be exposed to competition and challenges that may not be your speed. It comes down to whether or not you want to be in an urban setting.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 45,360

International Student Tuition: $221.06/credit and $315/credit at grad level

Acceptance Rate: 57%

International Students: 23%

Year Founded: 1878

Mascot: Carabins

4 - McGill University Faculty of Dentistry (Montreal, QC)

Speaking of high competition, welcome to the most challenging dental school on our list to get into. This is because McGill is like Canada’s Harvard. The name recognition is extremely high, and it is located in the heart of Montreal. You are attending a university that is comparable to many other international universities around the world.

The dental school, in particular, has only a 4.6% acceptance rate for around 37-40 students a year. However, if you graduate from this program, you are pretty much guaranteed any job you could want as a dentist anywhere in the world.

That is because you are training under groundbreaking teachers in their field who constantly publish and push the industry into new realms of techniques and research.

You get a global practice type training that is suitable for city or rural practice. You also get to attend one of the most stunning college campuses that look straight out of a movie film set. This is the alma mater of current Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 40,036

International Student Tuition: $18,750 undergrad / $16,250 grad

Acceptance Rate: 47% general

International Students: 30-35%

Year Founded: 1821

Mascot: Marty the Martlet


3 - University of Alberta School of Dentistry (Edmonton, AB)

Now we get to the big 3. These are the dental schools people go to because they offer a reliable education with an almost guaranteed pathway to a lucrative career. That is because each one is located on a major trade route for the country, meaning a lot of experience working with local community members.

Edmonton is a gorgeous area of Canada with a lot of middle to upper-class families. If you want to experience it as a family dental practitioner, this is your best bet. There is a lot of emphasis on serving secluded populations in northern Alberta, and the university has received numerous awards in innovation, dentistry outreach, and research, making it a leader in the profession.

This is also a genuinely wonderful student life experience. There are endless methods to engage in sports, recreation groups, clubs, and organizations to balance your work-life career as a dental student.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 37,500

International Student Tuition: $16,250 undergrad / $6,250 grad

Acceptance Rate: 58%

International Students: 20%

Year Founded: 1908

Mascot: There are two: GUBA (Great University Bear of Alberta) & Patches the Panda

2 - University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry (Toronto, ON)

This and the number one school are a close tie. This is both the oldest and largest dental school in Canada, so you will have a significant graduating class of peers to network with for finding work post-graduation. You are located extremely close to hospitals, clinics, and outreach services that will give you endless opportunities for different specialties and training.

That includes the Hospital for Sick Children, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and the world-famous Mount Sinai Hospital.

The Collaborative Advanced Microscopy Laboratories of Dentistry is the leading research facility for technology and the study of the human body. There are also cutting-edge facilities for biomedical engineering and integrative AI technology that are second to none in the country.

To put it simply, if you want all the bells and whistles of an influential dental school, this is it. Almost half of the student body is made of international students.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 95,055

International Student Tuition: $35,280 - $39,000 per annum / $18,000 - $50,000 at grad level

Acceptance Rate: 43%

International Students: 44%

Year Founded: 1827

Mascot: True Blue, the beaver

1 - University of British Columbia Faculty of Dentistry (Vancouver, BC)

Normally, you will find our #1, and #2 dentistry schools swapped around, but Vancouver has really become more international focused over the past few years that we had to rank it at the top. A big reason for this is the quality of education. You have many leading faculty members that are distinct in their fields and offer continual breakthroughs that garner international attention.

The Faculty of Dentistry offers a wide range of programs and diverse scholarship opportunities for ITDs. You also get a degree that is well received practically anywhere in the world. So, if you do wish to travel outside of the country in the long run, you will be well set up to do so. This is the school that will offer the most bang for your buck.

Quick Facts

Student Population: 59,659

International Student Tuition: $58,804 per year undergrad

Acceptance Rate: 53%

International Students: 25%

Year Founded: 1908

Mascot: Thunderbird

Wrapping it Up

This is a pretty extensive list of the best dental schools in Canada to examine. We hope you have gotten at least a basic insight into each opportunity for your ITD career. As Canada is currently undergoing a huge push for international students, you should have no problem finding at least one of these for your future college career.

As always, we encourage you to read more about life as an ITD in Canada on our website. There are a lot of other details to consider, like what city you will live in when you graduate or alternative pathways to your formal licensing.

Whatever the reason, we are thrilled you are looking at Canada as an option. This is truly a wonderful country to live, play, and build a long-lasting dental practice. Good luck!

About the Author

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books Instruments and Books International Dentist Related Posts

How to Pass the NDEB Canada ACJ Exams

Your journey as an ITD in Canada will involve the Assessment of Clinical Judgment (ACJ) exam. This is a 5 ½ hour-long examination with only a short 30-minute break. It takes a deeper look at your clinical judgment, including testing how you diagnose, treat, and make decisions about your future patients.

As you can imagine, this is a fundamental step to prove to the national dental examining board that you have the skills and knowledge required to become a fully qualified dentist capable of serving Canada. Before you can take the ACJ exam, you must have already taken and passed the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK). A passing scaled score is a 75 or more. The entire test has around 120-150 single-answer multiple-choice questions, and you can sign up by logging into your NDEB profile to register and pay the fee.

General Tips to Pass the NDEB Canada ACJ Exams

Let’s start by saying the ACJ is not nearly as scary as some may say. Studying for this exam is different compared to the AFK because this is less about memorization and more about critical thinking and problem-solving. The entire exam is divided into cases and x-rays. This is information you would typically learn over time in a dental degree program and may require you to revisit some older texts to refresh your memory.

 The goal is to assess how well you approach each case. The national dental examining board wants to ensure that you have the proper approach for orthodontic, pathology, endodontic and other cases.

 For example, let’s say you have a Pathology case involving an ulcer in the mouth. You should be able to question the patient's medical history to see if they have a previous autoimmune disease or related issue. Another would be to determine if a patient was exposed to a chemical due to their career and if you are trying to uncover their medical history. The goal is to show you understand how to discover those diagnostic details that will create a quality outcome for the patient.

 You should expect a lot of questions about smoking. Everyone from ITDs immigrating to Canada to those students entering their first year should have a solid understanding of the effects of smoking. Knowing how to clarify your patient smokes 10 packs a day compared to 10 individual cigs will drastically affect how you should plan treatment for them.

 1 - Take Advantage of Practice Questions

If you are a member of a prep school, then you will be exposed to the different styles of questions on the NDEB Canada ACJ exam. Otherwise, you should try the practice exams as much as possible. There will be tricks and examples designed to throw you off your game. You have to remember that you are being tested for your problem-solving capabilities and not just memorization of facts.

Dedicate a space and time every single day to studying for your exam. You want to make your practice habits a ritual that prepares your mind for the task at hand. This way, your brain will recognize what you are doing when sitting for the exam and make you more relaxed as you answer questions because it will feel familiar. 

 2 - Study X-Rays/radiographs in Detail

Use any resource possible to study up on x-ray film. A good portion of the Canada NDEB ACJ exam relates to how you interpret film from different patients. You will need to be able to diagnose what is happening and propose a treatment plan aligned with the radiographs and medical and dental history of the patient 

 3 - Think About the Big Picture

The ACJ exam focuses on patient care and treatment. It requires problem-solving and critical thinking. Read each question on the exam slowly to yourself, so you take in every piece of information possible. There are trick questions designed to send you in one direction toward a diagnosis when in reality, you need to pivot to a different outcome. The only way to catch these tricks is to slow down and focus on the big picture of patient care. 

 4 - Lean into Your Weaknesses

There are multiple topics like pathology, periodontology, endodontics, radiology, anesthesiology, etc.  Every ITD will have a strength in specific areas and probably a weakness or two in others. That requires you to budget your study time, so you focus a bit more on the areas you need more help. Once you are confident you have a topic under your belt, move that to a “quick review” focus and double your efforts on weaker topics. 

 5 - Seek Out Resources

The beauty of the internet is that there is so much free information readily available for your review. From YouTube to Reddit boards to social media, there are endless resources that will help you gain insight into what to expect on the ACJ exam. 

ACJ Exam Advice from Dr. Luca Salvador

Dr. Luca is the founder and President of the Internationally Trained Dentist’s Association of Canada. He was awarded his Doctor of Dental Surgery from Poznan University of Medical Sciences in 2018 and was happy to contribute some advice of his own about the ACJ exam. 

Start by taking the time to prepare for this exam, but do not overthink the questions when you get to the testing day. Trust your judgment and be confident. People score lower because they overthink and do not rely on their training and knowledge. This is all about stress management and overcoming mental barriers so you can access the information required, offer a solid diagnosis, and then move on to the next question.

Take care of yourself as you prepare for this exam. Be sure to exercise, eat well, meditate, and do anything else that lowers your stress and improves your mental capacity.

 We highly recommend reading our article on improving your memory and concentration as there are excellent tips in there for exam prep.

You may also want to reduce caffeine intake on exam day so you can remain calm as you move from question to question. 

As long as you work through cases and radiographs/images available online or reference textbooks consistently, you should do well. You should start about 3 months out from the exam date and be sure to balance your study with your regular life. A prep course will help because they condense the information you need to learn for the exam instead of trying to cover so many textbooks on your own. At the end of the day, it is all about finding what works best for you, so you stay cool and collected during the ACJ exam. 

ACJ Exam Advice from Dr. Zeina Naous

She is an ITD that scored exceptionally well on the ACJ and offered a unique insight into what worked best for her study methods and habits leading up to the big day. Her most significant point was to remember that the ACJ is not purely memorization. It is problem-solving and considering the whole patient care plan. That is why she suggests reading a lot of cases, so you get used to the style of questions and medical treatment in Canada. 

Zeina also talked about using elimination as a crucial tool in the ACJ exam. Going through each answer and removing those answers you know cannot be possible because they do not fit the scenario is an excellent way to start. From there, your goal is to get as close to a proper diagnosis as possible. This is especially helpful for the X-ray questions.

 You may want to create a booklet that summarizes different chapters or examples of specific medical cases related to standard x-rays. Unlike case-based questions, x-rays are about what you do or do not see. Therefore, you need to learn how to identify the pathology that appears in the radiographs.

The biggest thing to be aware of during the ACJ is that you are answering questions from the “Canadian point of view.” For many ITDs, this will be a different way of thinking because it involves a modern diagnostic method. In that regard, you need to read each question as carefully as possible to ensure you understand the full breadth of the topic.

Check out our list of Best NDEB Canada Training Institutes

  1. Best Quality AFK Exam Preparation with DENTABEST
  2. Prep Doctors Institute - Best International Experience
  3. ConfiDentist - Best All-Around Program
  4. DSTC Dental - Best for Canada & USA

 What Comes After the ACJ Exam?

 Once you have successfully passed the ACJ exam, it is time to move on to the NDECC. First, congratulate yourself as you are halfway through the exams involved in the NDEB. That by itself is quite the achievement. 

 The NDECC is a new exam that replaced the previous ACS. It is known as the National Dental Examination of Clinical Competence. As you can tell from the title, this is a fairly important exam that will evaluate your judgment through a series of clinical situations. 

 This exam began in 2022 and is a two-day process where you will perform seven clinical requirements on simulated patients under 10 situational judgment requirements. You can register for this exam once you have completed the ACJ through the NDEB website. 

 Wrapping it Up

From all of us at Beautiful Smiles & Teeth, we wish you the best of luck in this exam. If you have made it this far, we believe you can power through to a successful practice in Canada. We want to extend a special thank you to Dr. Zeina Naous and Dr. Luca Salvador for their excellent insight into this article. 

We know there is a lot of information to digest for this process and want to reassure you that the best course of action is to study, prepare mentally, create a space for your practice, and maintain a well-balanced lifestyle, so you are healthy and mentally capable of success. With a bit of preparation, you can move one step closer to your dream of being a dentist in the great country of Canada. Trust your instincts. You’ve got this!

About the Author

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a website where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

HOME Instruments and Books International Dentist Related Posts

How to Pass the NDEB Canada AFK Exams

We wanted to create a series dedicated to how to pass the NDEB exam when moving your dental practice to Canada. 

This is designed to help ITDs as they make the transition through Canadian immigration and begin to work, practice, or build a dental career in one of the most beautiful and welcoming countries in the world.

 This is part one of our series, where we will get into the details of the AFK Exam in the NDEB process. We will provide some excellent insights and preparation guides as well as insights from one of the top scorers, Dr. Zeina Naous. She is an ITD from Lebanon who is working her way through the NDEB Dental Equivalency process.

We hope this series will result in many more ITDs experiencing the rapid growth potential and lucrative careers available in Canada.

 What is the NDEB Dental Exam in Canada?

 For foreign-trained dentists, the NDEB Dental Exam in Canada is a requirement for certification. The NDEB Dental Exam is offered  consists of two parts: the written exam and the clinical exam.

The written exam is a multiple-choice format that tests your understanding of dental and medical knowledge. The clinical section will test your skills with simulated patients.

While studying for both exams, it's important to keep in mind that there's no right or wrong way to prepare. For example, some students prefer using flashcards while others enjoy reading textbooks or taking online courses. 

NDEB stands for the National Dental Examining Board, which is the body that oversees the competence level of those ITDs wishing to become or practice as Canadian dentists.

 The NDEB equivalency process is designed to establish the credentials of those who have not gone through an accredited dental program.

 The first thing you will need to do in this process is get your account and profile approved after registering at the NDEB website. 

That can take anywhere from 4-6 months.

We suggest registering, then immediately beginning to prepare for your AFK exam so you can take it as soon as you are cleared.

 What is the AFK Exam in Canada?

 The Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge (AFK) is a written exam that students can take when they are studying for the NDEB certification. 

The purpose of this exam is to test your basic knowledge of the subjects required by the NDEB equivalency process, which includes anatomy, physiology, dental subjects, etc.  

You should know that passing the AFK does not guarantee that you will be able to pass all other exams required.

It's just one step along your journey toward becoming a Canadian dentist. 

The test comprises 200 multiple-choice questions designed to evaluate your knowledge and clinical application capabilities. 

The AFK is held twice per academic year [currently February and August], but that could change in the future as more and more students are using the online version over in-person proctored exams.

There is a 100-question multiple-choice self-assessment you can try out on the AFK website.

The AFK has a dual purpose. Not only is it required for the NDEB equivalency process, but it is also a fundamental step in attending dental school in Canada.

 Where Do You Take the AFK Exam?

 You can sit for the AFK by joining a number of different NDEB prep schools throughout Canada or by directly interacting with the NDEB. This will require 300 questions in two parts, each taking roughly 2 hours to complete. 

The AFK is offered in two available formats. The first is electronic delivery via a Prometric test center.

The other is through a booklet offered at preselected exam sites that are listed when you register.

In order to pass the AFK exam in Canada, you will need a test-equated re-scaled score of 75 or greater. Anything less is considered a fail.

You can register for the AFK in the same portal you used for setting up an account with the NDEB system.

 AFK Exam Insights from Dr. Zeina Naous

 Okay, let’s get to the detailed information from an ITD that not only successfully passed the AFK  and ACJ exam, but received one of the highest scores in ACJ history.

Dr. Naous is originally from Lebanon and currently lives in Canada while completing her NDEB equivalency process. She is 26 years old, a content creator, and a social media influencer. 

Her degree was completed in 2018, and she moved directly after graduation without any dental experience in Lebanon.

How Long to Practice for the AFK Exam?

According to Dr. Naous, the AFK is all about discipline. You should start preparing for your exam about 3-4 months before sitting for the test. 

You want to soak in as much of the practice information as much as possible. She strongly recommends prep programs and courses as part of your studying regimen. 

The reason for this long preparation is that you will be competing against others in your “cycle.”

The more people that join prep courses, the more experience and exposure they will get with mock exams and practice materials compared to you.

 The AFK covers a great deal of information that requires reference materials. While you can do it all on your own, it is easier when you have a curriculum or outline provided by people that have passed the exam and have been researching the material for a long time.

The exams are not very hard, but they are very detailed, so it may take some time in order to understand everything thoroughly enough so that you know exactly what information is necessary when answering questions correctly on the exam day!

 Should I Join a Preparation Program or course for the AFK Exam?

 Yes, if you can afford to join a prep course or school, you should do it. There are many options out there, but few provide the level of support that is needed to pass the AFK exam. 

The first thing to look at when choosing a program is whether or not they offer personalized coaching and guidance from experienced instructors. 

They should offer you resources to prepare like personal study sessions, group workshops, and one-on-one tutoring sessions all designed around your needs as an individual student.

 You also get access to regular updates on how other students are performing on their exams so that you can see how well-prepared everyone else is.

This is a confidence booster because everyone knows what's going on with each other instead of just wondering about things behind closed doors.

 Part of the reason I agreed to be interviewed for this article was that I believe in the personal stories of success as a catalyst for your own completion of the AFK exam. 

Seeing testimonials from former students who were able to pass their exams after using our methods provides you with tips and tricks needed to overcome hurdles.


 Attending Lectures for AFK Topics

 When you study for the AFK exam, attendance at lectures is just as important as preparing for the exam.

The best way to prepare for an exam is by learning all you can about the subject matter. You can do this by attending lectures and reading textbooks and articles about it. 

AFK has its own set of topics that must be covered in order to pass its exams. The subjects covered include local lectures covering Anatomy and Physiology, Dental Practices, and anything else related to the profession of dentistry will only help bolster your experience and workable knowledge.

Other AFK Topics;

⋅ Pharmacology

⋅ Pathology

⋅ Pedodontics

⋅ Surgery

⋅ Prosthodontics

⋅ Restorative

⋅ Endodontics

⋅ Radiology

⋅ Medical Management

⋅ Orthodontics

⋅ Anesthesiology

⋅ Basic Science

⋅ Epidemiology

⋅ Periodontics

 Practicing for the AFK Exam

 Unlike most tests, you don’t want to cram for the NDEB exams. Instead, you should create a study plan that has enough time to allow for memorizing information and understanding the content.

This way, you can avoid mistakes in the exam and feel confident about answering questions correctly. 

Assemble a study group of fellow students who are also preparing for the exam.

Having others help you revise material will make it easier for everyone because they will be able to share their notes with one another and compare notes after each practice session.

 A Monthly Guide to Training for the AFK Exam

Let me share with you how I prepared myself for the AFK and maybe that can help you decide on a structure for studying and adapting your lifestyle.

 Month #1

  ♦ Plan out a specific study time and place that I will use every day

  ♦ Find and attend lectures either online or in-person to help grow my knowledge

  ♦ Do as much reading as possible, and then go over that material 1, 2, or even 3 times

  ♦ Develop a solid understanding of problem-solving in general

  ♦ Dive early into Pharmacology  because that is a heavy topic and requires a lot of memorization

 Month #2

  ♦ Focus more on precise learning going subject by subject

  ♦ Start to divide your time between studying and taking practice exams for each topic

  ♦ This is a good time to build a network of fellow students by preparing and having study groups where you test each other

 Month #3

  ♦ Troubleshooting - time to see where your mistakes are happening the most and focus on those areas

  ♦ You do not want to just correct a bad answer but understand what led you to that incorrect answer so you can retrain your        thought process to avoid the mistake in the future

  ♦ Start to ease back on stress so you can relax more by introducing breaks so your brain will focus more when it is time to study and begin to internalize information

 Month #4

  ♦ It is all about practice testing and honing in on those topics that you are still having trouble understanding

  ♦ The rest is just a refresher to ensure it is still present in your mind

  ♦ If you are attending a course, it is a good idea to participate in mock exams with them too. This will let you see what your scoring level is in general and in comparison to other students in that cycle.

General Tips for the AFK Exam 

Start practicing as soon as you can. The sooner you start, the better your chances of success. Practice at least 5 days a week. 

You need to be able to dedicate some time each day to studying and preparing for the tests, especially if you want to get them done in a shorter period of time.

Study at least 3 topics a week.

This will help ensure that you stay consistent with your studies, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to passing any kind of exam.

 Stay consistent with reviewing all topics covered during each section/topic within an exam so that when it comes time for the actual testing, there won't be any surprises.

 It really helps to have a plan in place from the beginning.

The NDEB equivalency process is a marathon, not a sprint. 

There are many resources online and off that provide you with a solid outline to study from, so spend those first few days of studying just developing your overall plan.

 The goal is to pass your exam on the first try.

The current fee for the AFK is $800 if you register and take it through the NDEB. 

Failing not only means you miss out on that money, but now you have set back the rest of your NDEB equivalency process by probably 6 months. Not to mention that if you took a prep course, that probably set you back an additional $3,000-$4,000 as well.

 The more you delay, the longer it will take to either get into a dental school in Canada or move on to the next step of the NDEB equivalency process.

 What Comes After the AFK Exam?

 After you have successfully completed the AFK exam, you will move on to the ACJ - Assessment of Clinical Judgment. 

This exam has a $1,350 fee, but the preparation courses tend to be slightly more affordable at around $2,000-$2,500, depending on where you go.

This will be what is considered one of the hardest parts of the NDEB equivalency process because it tests your ability to bring the correct tools to the problem.

 You are expressing your ability to function through problem-based learning and how well you design and implement strategies to overcome clinical issues.

This is more than theoretical knowledge. It is how you express your clinical experience.

 Wrapping it Up


 This was only the first part in our series on the NDEB Examination Process in Canada for ITDs wanting a career in dentistry

 We want to thank Dr. Zeina Naous for her valuable insights into the exam, including her personal experience in receiving one o dentistry.

 We hope this article answers many of the questions you may have about the AFK exam and how best to prepare yourself for your upcoming testing date.

 Please be sure to come back to our site as we tackle other topics in this series and walk you through the process of transitioning from ITD to a certified dentist in the beautiful country of Canada.

 If you have any questions about this article or the ITD process, be sure to send us a note through our contact page. Thank you for reading and stay tuned for more helpful ITD articles!


Dr. Zeina Naous' achievements are inspiring.

Follow her  on Instagram   @zeina_dentist and on  Tiktok











Check Our Best Dental Products of 2023











About the Author

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books International Dentist

How to Improve Memory and Concentration

Depending on your personal background, education, and level of experience, you could be required to sit for quite a few different exams, ensuring your journey through the immigration and qualification process in Canada.

Knowing how to improve your memory for these exams is a great way to improve your passing scores.

ITDs moving to Canada for a new career face favorable situations because the demand is so high.

Nearly three-quarters of Canadians visit the dentist at least once a year, that is almost 30 million people. The only way to keep up with that need is to invite ITDs to go through the process of becoming fully qualified in Canadian dentistry.

While our website is primarily focused on providing the details for every step you may take along your journey, we also want to ensure we offer valuable tips and insights to help you overcome roadblocks.

You could be the greatest dentist in the world, but if you suffer from stress or anxiety during your tests, you may risk a brand new life in one of the most welcoming and beautiful countries in the world.

That is why we would like to focus on how to improve memory and concentration so you can feel better equipped during your tests.

This will help you pass tests and inform the way you view memory for the rest of your life.

Also, Check Out

 ♦   How to Become a Dentist in Canada (A Step by Step Guide)
 ♦   How to Prepare for TOEFL Test in Canada

Why Memory and Concentration Matter

It may seem logical to improve both concentration and memory, but we wanted to differentiate between the two of them.

This is critical because it shows two valuable skills instead of a generalized term. Concentration and memory work together inside your brain, but they do not lead to one another. When you are concentrating, you are focusing your mental efforts on a specific problem. Memory is different because that is the ability to recall information.

The point of this differentiation is that good concentration will enhance memory.

You need to practice skills that involve both. If all you do is focus on memory, you maybe be able to pull up all kinds of information that you reviewed, but without the concentration to apply such knowledge in a clear, logical, and concise way, you kind of defeat the purpose.

Thinking Outside the Box

When we consider what will help to improve your memory, you need to address the same issues that often afflict people in cognitive decline.

It may seem strange, but many of the activities doctors prescribe to those growing older or facing dementia, Alzheimer’s, etc., also improve a healthy younger mind.

As we move through this list of how to improve memory and concentration, allow yourself to think a little outside the box. It does not take great leaps of faith or expensive trainers to improve your mental retention and focus.

If you integrate some of these core concepts in your daily life, you will most likely begin to experience benefits faster than overwhelming yourself during a critical point in your career.

The most significant health killer to anyone is excessive stress. Be easy on yourself and use this advice as a guide to help, not a “must do or else you will fail” kind of situation. Our goal is to help, not overwhelm.

The Key Essential to Improving Memory and Concentration

1 - Train Your Brain

An excellent study in 2015 that even as little as 15 minutes of brain training a day could mean the difference between full awareness of your facilities to “brain fog” where your memory slips.

Study participants showed remarkable improvements in processing speed, short-term memory, working memory, problem-solving, and fluid reasoning assessments - all attributes you would want when taking exams as an ITD interested in being a dentist in Canada.

The good news is that brain games do not have to be overly technical. You can see many examples on the website Luminosity that range from simple matching games to complex food delivery simulations.

The point is to engage your brain in memory-based games that reward success and techniques. This could even be something as simple as a crossword puzzle or Sudoku in your local newspaper.

2 - Train Your Body

ITDs are probably already aware of what a poor diet can do to the body. It does not take a great leap of understanding to know that too much sugar, fried food, or other over-processed items lead to lethargy and slow mental capacities.

Regular exercise reduces the risk of cognitive decline.

It protects your brain by stimulating blood flow and engaging your entire body. No, you do not need to suddenly become a bodybuilder or extreme sports expert on top of being a successful dentist.

However, going for a walk for 20 minutes a day, hitting the dance floor, biking, swimming, or even doing yoga are all excellent ways to get the body moving and bring the mind along for the ride.

There is a secondary benefit that we should point out as well - anxiety.

The immigration process can be stressful because there are so many things you have to remember and do perfectly, or else it is back to the end of the line. Regular exercise is one of the best ways to naturally lower your anxiety and depression factors.

The endorphins released by something as simple as an afternoon walk through the park have dramatic effects on your mood, emotional well-being, chemical processes in your body, and ability to think clearly.

3 - Meditation

Go talk to any successful person in the world, and you are bound to find some form of meditation in their lives.

The author and podcast superstar Tim Ferris (4 Hour Work Week) actually points this out in his work with high-income earners and innovators from all over different industries. One of the few common themes in their lives is setting aside as little as 10-20 minutes a day for mediation.

Mindfulness meditation improves memory, and brain function reduces brain degeneration, and improves working and long-term memory.

Making a habit of meditation actually physically changes the brain by increasing brain plasticity.

This is precisely the function that monks use to withstand sharp nail beds, endure extreme temperature, and a list of nearly mythic feats, not through superhero strength, but with razor-like focus attained through meditation.

There are some excellent free resources on YouTube and through App Stores where you can have guided or timed meditation.

You also do not need any equipment and a little space where you can sit comfortably undisturbed for a small amount of time.

4 - Get Some Sleep!

Anyone working in the medical field understands how sleep affects performance.

Not only do we see patients who can barely function without a decent amount of sleep, but we have also all seen our peers struggle through dentistry school on only a few hours of study instead of quality sleep.

Sleep is vital to overall brain health. Without the body’s natural ability to rejuvenate processes through quality sleep, you can expect lower cognitive capabilities.

On average, an adult should seek out 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every single night. This is how your brain will create and store memories.

This also affects mood. We have all been there when a lack of sleep results in us snapping at those we love just because we are overtired.

The last thing you want to do is walk into a proctored exam and start snapping at the instructor.

You want to stay calm and allow your mental powers to kick into full gear.

Getting a good night’s sleep is an excellent way to increase the chances of passing your test.

5 - Quality of Food

Of course, eating healthy leads to many improvements in body function and capability, but we should address the specific effects of high sugar and increased caloric intake. High caloric intake leads to memory impairment.

This can place an undue inflammation effect on the brain, decreasing your ability to recall memories.

Sugar is no better. Try to limit or cut out sugary drinks, excessive ice cream, or anything else that may only temporarily give you an energy boost. Stick to fresh fruits as your sugar high instead of sodas and chocolate delights.

6 - Drink Your Coffee

Everything is in moderation. In 2014, a study found that 200mg of caffeine resulted in better recall testing compared to others without the caffeine boost.

This does not mean you should be shoveling green tea or gallons of hot coffee into your body. However, when taken at strategic times before a test, you should experience a slight increase in your abilities.

7 - Dark Chocolate is Okay

The only contradiction to our sugar advice from above relates to dark chocolate. The bitter joy of 72% cocoa or higher actually improves your spatial memory testing.

This is because cocoa flavonoids improve blood flow to the brain. Again, this does not mean you should immediately go out and buy a bull box of dark chocolate and then go nuts some weekend night. It means a small square (about 1.5” x 1.5”) a day can help you boost your mind.

Dark chocolate is also an excellent source of antioxidants and helps cure your sugar fix without tipping the scale when you get out of the shower.

8 - Study Your Errors

This is actually one of the more interesting items on our list. We know that seeing what answers we get right and wrong on a test is almost compulsive action.

However, if we actively study what led to our wrong answers, we lower the chance of making the same mistake twice.

When we revisit a task, we create a memory of the correct answer and the errors that led up to the incorrect answer.

Learning a next similar task actually becomes more manageable because we already know what errors led up to the problems with the first.

Think of this as having a personal coach inside your mind that points out the errors you made so you can overcome them in the future.

There are plenty of other considerations for improving your test-taking ability, but these are the essentials that will almost guarantee a better result.

9 - Use Healthy and Beneficial Supplements

There are many safe over-the-counter supplemental options for improving your memory and concentration.

We always advise speaking with your healthcare provider before taking any supplement, especially because you have advanced medical training, which tends to leave a blind spot with our personal health.

You need to be a little careful because there are so many varieties of supplements out there promising significant results without having the evidence to support their claims.

However, we have found a shortlist of supplements that help with brain health and give a natural boost to your test-taking abilities.

  ♦ Ginseng enhances brain function by fighting off fatigue. It also has antioxidant properties that can keep your blood sugar levels in check, so you relax during your test.

  ♦ Fish Oil, specifically Omega-3, is an excellent boost for your overall brain and mental health. This helps prevent memory loss and has the added bonus of lowering cholesterol levels.

  ♦ N-Acetyl L-Cysteine is on the fence a little because the science is not yet solid, but you can expect a boost from glutamate, which is a neurotransmitter that helps with learning and memory.

  ♦ Zinc boosts memory - plain and simple. There is actually quite a bit of zinc in the brain matter already, so double-check that your levels are low before using this supplement.

  ♦ Vitamin B-6 is useful for studying. There have been a lot of studies on brain function and the elderly showing B-6 to have a positive effect.

  ♦ Vitamin B-12 is good if you have a deficiency. When you do not get enough B-12, you experience “brain fog” that can make it hard to concentrate. So again, check with your healthcare provider before taking this supplement.

A quality multivitamin will help as well because it will balance any needs your body is experiencing that you are not getting through your typical diet.

We should also mention Ginkgo Biloba. There have been a lot of studies that confirm the effects of this supplement are the same for people who took the placebo. For that reason, we do not want to suggest it quite yet.

Three more are frequently used in combinations right before a test, including Caffeine + L-theanine, Bacopa monnieri, and L-tyrosine. We have not seen enough research as to whether or not these are effective yet, but we will update you if that changes.

The last thing to mention in the supplement world when preparing for your exams is essential oils. Using scents that leave you feeling calm and focused is an excellent way to trick the mind into activity. We like the smell of peppermint.

Remove Distractions to Improve Memory and Concentration

We wanted to touch base on a critical aspect for ITDs looking to qualify in Canada for their dentistry career, which is distractions.

Life is hectic, and it has become way too easy to let social media, streaming shows, and constant connectivity get in the way of achievement.

We are not downing those activities, more that if you want to succeed in your exams, you need the perspective of setting up a dedicated space where you can study distraction-free.

Here are some essential tips:

1 - Time & Date

Make studying a priority by designating a specific time and date you will study regularly.

This encourages your mind by prepping it with crucial triggers in the environment.

If your brain knows every morning from 7 am - 8:30 am will include studying, it will prepare itself for the task the same way it does for taking a shower, eating a sandwich, or any other activity.

2 - Silence Alerts

Go offline from any alerts during your study sessions. For example, turn your phone completely off and log out of any websites that may pop up when using your computer.

You could even create an email signature that alerts friends, co-workers, and family that you are unavailable during your study sessions.

3 - Focus on Small Sections

Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your dental career. Break big chunks of information into smaller pieces you can focus on 1 at a time.

4 - Background Noise

Many ITDs like to study in coffee shops or near a busy street window.

If you are going to have a noisy environment, use it to your advantage by recreating it in your space. Plenty of YouTube videos simulate comfortable background noise that actually relaxes the mind like rain, crowds, nature, and more.

We actually heard of an ITD that studies using the background noise of walking around Disney World as a way to stay calm.

5 - Keep Your Space Clean

No one is asking you to be a neat freak, but having your study space clean and organized increases the chance that you will continue to work there.

Anything that prevents you from studying, like having to tidy up, only creates a barrier to doing the work.

6 - Reward Yourself

We are all kids at heart, and having a fun reward for getting the work done feels good.

Hold off on watching the next episode in your binge-a-thon or going out with friends until after the studying has completed. You will feel better and get more satisfaction from your reward.

Stay Calm and Carry On

The greatest advice we can give for improving your memory and concentration is to strive to remain calm.

We understand the pressure you may feel because we have been there before.

That is why we created this website as a reference because we know what it is to have the weight of success holding you down. In many cultures that immigrate to Canada, there is also an added family pressure to be the best in your field that can escalate feelings of anxiety and stress.

All of the tips we suggested here work in collaboration with each other.

They do not require a complete life overhaul, just subtle changes that can be introduced one a time. The key is consistency and allowing yourself the freedom to succeed. We know you can do this!


Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books International Dentist

How to Prepare for TOEFL Test in Canada

ITDs looking to expand their dental practice or opportunities in the beautiful country of Canada are required to pass a few different tests and requirements for immigration and certification. Some of these are designed specifically for your dental educational background, while others explore your capabilities with the language used most commonly around the country – English. Learning how to prepare for the TOEFL test in Canada takes a little bit of research to get you on your way to a lucrative career in dentistry.

Canada is a surprisingly culturally rich country with many different demographics and backgrounds, all coming together to enjoy the vibrant cosmopolitan centers and natural environments.

The two primary languages spoken, written, and read in Canada are English and French.

However, there are over 200 languages that are in use around the country by many different cultural centers and groups of residents. To practice dentistry in Canada, you will need to prove your capabilities with the English language, which requires passing the TOEFL.

Therefore, we have put together a quick guide about preparing for the TOEFL and furthering your dental career.

What is the TOEFL?

TOEFL stands for Test of English as a Foreign Language and is the test format given to ITDs entering Canada. It is the world’s most accepted English language literacy test for those hoping to work, study, and immigrate into countries like Canada and the U.S.

It is also highly regarded as the gold standard for proof that you will be able to research and understand instruction while studying at Canadian universities and institutions. If you want to make it through admissions, you will need to pass the TOEFL exam.

The TOEFL test is accepted by more than 11,500 universities and other institutions in over 160 countries and is available through 3 different options:

♦   The traditional TOEFL iBT test in a test center
♦   The TOEFL iBT Home Edition
♦   The TOEFL iBT Paper Edition

The overall goal of the TOEFL exam is to evaluate 4 English academic skills - reading, listening, speaking, and writing.

Why Does the TOEFL Test Matter to Me?

In one of our stellar posts, How to Become a Dentist in Canada, we outlined the more prestigious schools, universities, and institutions in Canada that you can attend as an ITD. All of these schools require a good TOEFL score in order to attend their programs. This includes:

♦   University of Alberta (School of Dentistry)University of British Columbia (Faculty of Dentistry)

♦   University of Manitoba (Faculty of Dentistry)

♦   Dalhousie University (Faculty of Dentistry)

♦   University of Toronto (Faculty of Dentistry)

♦   The University of Western Ontario (School of Dentistry)

♦   McGill University (Faculty of Dentistry)

♦    Université de Montréal (Faculté de médecine dentaire)

♦   Université Laval (Faculté de médecine dentaire)

♦   University of Saskatchewan (College of Dentistry)

You will still have to pass the AFK exam before you can move on to going back to school with a successful IDAPP result. These schools want to verify that you can handle the coursework by reviewing your completed TOEFL test.

This is helpful to you as an applicant as well because you do not want to waste a considerable sum of money on a program that will be next to impossible to pass due to language barriers.

How to Start My TOEFL Preparations?

The challenge to how to prepare for the TOEFL is that each school has different admission requirements related to your overall score. For example, the University of Toronto requires a whole test score of 89-100, whereas McGill University goes as low as 79.

These test format outcomes vary because many of the participating colleges and universities are located in metropolitan areas where they assume your language skills will quickly improve due to the immersive nature of attending their programs.

That may be true, but it can often be anxiety-inducing for ITDs who have little to no experience with the English language to participate without a better grasp of English. For a more inclusive review of each university’s requirements, visit this page.

*Quick Tip: While we always offer as many professional and proven sources of information, we also wanted to suggest two tips that help a lot of potential ITDs. Download the app DuoLingo for free from the App store, practice English, and stream popular English TV shows with the subtitles turned on. You’ll be amazed at how quickly you pick up the nuances of the language. 

Let’s go over the specific tips of your TOEFL preparation skills you will need to focus on for a decent score. The two main ways most people take the TOEFL are online at a test center or home computer station or using the paper test. Both have different requirements:

Also, Check Out

 ♦   How to Become a Dentist in Canada (A Step by Step Guide)
 ♦   How to Improve Memory and Concentration


Internet-based test

♦   Reading section: 60-80 minutes | 36-56 questions

♦   Listening section: 60-90 minutes | 34-51 questions

♦   Speaking section: 20 minutes | 6 tasks

♦   Writing section: 50 minutes | 2 essays

Paper-based test

  ♦ Listening section: 30-40 minutes| 50 questions

  ♦ Writing section: 25 minutes | 40 questions

  ♦ Reading section: 55 minutes | 50 questions

  ♦ TWE test: 30 minutes | write one essay

Tips for Passing the TOEFL Test

1 - Listen and Watch English International News

Try watching the BBC International News that is available online for free. This gives you a good insight into the vocabulary and grammar skills needed for the English language. Watching international news instead of local is helpful because you will see familiar items related to your country that put the language in context.

2 - Get a Virtual Pen Pal

Using social media is an excellent option for those that can engage with native English speakers. Many people are looking to learn your native language and will be willing to trade time working with you in English if they can do the same for your language.

3 - Flashcards & Podcasts

You can find free resources online by searching for “TOEFL vocabulary lists” and then downloading PDF versions of flashcards. These are easy to use and fun cards with common English words or phrases that you can take out for 5-10 min a day in-between work or social obligations to help you study. It also helps to listen to English podcasts while commuting just to familiarize yourself with the language's tone, structure, and nuance.

4 - Take the Practice Exam

We suggest taking the TOEFL practice exam 3 times. Once at the very beginning of when you decide how to prepare for the TOEFL, again about halfway through the duration, you have set aside before sitting for the exam, and once more about a week before your exam date. This gives you an excellent measurement of your overall progress. You can view official practice questions here.

5 - Be Mindful of Your Mistakes

Take care to follow the answer guides so you can better understand the mistakes you are making and how to overcome them in the future. You do not want to only know what the answer is correct, but how you arrived at that conclusion.

What are the Different TOEFL Exam Sections?

There are four main areas of testing - reading, listening, speaking, and writing. You may take notes throughout all sections of your TOEFL exam and are looking for a score of 90 or higher for the best intuitions. It takes about 10 days after taking your test until you receive your verified score.

Reading Skills Section

This will involve reading passages and then answering questions based on what you just read. Each passage is about 700 words long and has around 10-14 questions. You will cover various academic topics from history to art to science and beyond. A good score is going to be anything above a 22.

Listening Skills Section

This will test your ability to understand the English language using audio prompts. You will listen to 4-6 different lectures and 2-3 conversations. Each one lasts about 3-5 minutes and comes with 4-8 questions.

Please note: you will only hear the audio clip once, so take notes! You will hear different English accents, so it is crucial to listen for context in the conversation or visual cues when taking the online test. A good listening score should be above 21.

Speaking Skills Section

This is the shortest section of the test and often gets overlooked because ITDs think it is easy. We cannot stress enough that you need to slow down your speaking speed to a natural level instead of letting anxiety prompt you to rush through each question.

You will be given 6 tasks, each requiring you to speak on topics ranging from familiar to relevant passages or audio clips. A good score in speaking is above 22.

Writing Skills Section

For this section, you will be required to write two essays, one that is integrated and one that is independent. The integrated essay involves reading an academic passage, listening to an audio clip, and then comparing the two by how they support or challenge one another.

The second essay is based solely on a prompt where you will write about your own opinion. A good score in speaking is above 22.

What is Considered a Passing Score for the TOEFL Exam?

Again, the specific goal number of your TOEFL Test score will depend on the Canadian university or institution you are hoping to study dentistry with. In general, you are shooting for a total test score of over 90. A perfect score would be 120.

There is no guessing penalty on the TOEFL. You earn points with correct answers and nothing for incorrect answers, so it never hurts to take a guess.

These are called “raw” points. Every section is scaled based out of 30. Universities will only consider your scaled score, not your raw scores. That means you want to shoot for as high of a raw score as possible. A great resource for the scaling process is here.

How to Register for the TOEFL Exam?

The TOEFL iBT is administered 6 days a week around the world, so you will have plenty of opportunities to register. Some online resources suggest only needing 7-10 days to prepare, but always suggest 3-4 months, so you have plenty of time to study.

You must preregister. You cannot walk into a test center without some form of registration to verify your identity and exam.

There are 3 ways to register for the TOEFL iBT exam:

  ♦ You can register using an ETS account here.
  ♦ Or by phone calling +1-443-751-4862 or 1-800-GO-TOEFL (1-800-468-6335)
  ♦ Or by mail using a registration form that is printable here.

In all cases, you will need payment information like a credit card readily available and have a time and place in your mind for selecting your test date.

The ID requirements vary depending on your country of origin. In general, you can expect to need original government documents with a photo ID that has your full name, signature, and any government-issued ID numbers. You can learn more about your specific country of origin by visiting here.

The total fees for the TOEFL vary based on your testing center. For example, those residing in the U.S. can expect to pay USD $195 for a single exam. There are additional fees for retaking the TOEFL or scheduling a new date if you have a conflict.

How to Prepare on the TOEFL Exam Day?

As long as you have taken the time to prepare for your TOEFL exam, you can expect to do pretty well. Most ITDs already have some experience with the English language due to their work in dentistry.

When you arrive at your testing center, be sure to have two forms, a photo ID and a printed copy of your registration confirmation number.

Eat a balanced breakfast beforehand and avoid too much sugar or caffeine that may give you the jitters during your test. Dress semi-professional with comfortable clothes that will not leave you too cold or hot.

The goal is to be as comfortable as possible, so your nerves relax. Be sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early in case there are any special instructions you need to follow.

Finally, keep your mind in “English” mode. It helps to listen to the English news, use an app, or have a conversation with someone that speaks the language before your test. This prompts your brain to maintain that language while taking your test.

Wrapping it Up

There is a lot of information to go over for how to prepare for the TOEFL. The best thing is to keep your end goal in mind of attending a Canadian dentistry school.

It helps to have a clear idea of why you are doing the TOEFL in the first place. This will align your focus so you can get the best possible outcome.

As always, we hope you have enjoyed our guide and welcome you to visit our site as often as possible.

We are constantly updating with new ITD information that helps people immigrate to Canada and find a successful new career and life in one of the most engaging countries in the world. Good luck with your test!


Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

HOME Instruments and Books International Dentist POPULAR POSTS

How to Become a Dentist in Canada (A Step by Step Guide)

ITDs from all over the world make it over to Canada through the immigration process and then are faced with some challenges to become fully accredited and licensed dentists.

We wanted to go a little deeper into this side of the process for those internationally trained dentists that are not opting for specialized programs during immigration, but just want a closer look at how to become a dentist in Canada using the equivalency process.

The good news is that how to become a dentist in Canada does not require you to receive another dental degree if you already have a quality education.

It does require you to prove your dentistry capabilities by taking a series of tests or exams that can be challenging if you are out of practice or have been specializing for several years.

We understand the amount of frustration with the process of being a dentist in Canada. As long as you can keep your paperwork well organized and make it through the exams, you will come out the other side into a highly favorable job market with many lucrative job options in Canada.

This is a gorgeous country to live and work in with friendly people, cosmopolitan centers, rich natural resources, and culturally diverse.

We will be following the steps of a general dentist through an accredited and non-accredited/equivalency process. We have a lot to cover, so let’s dig in!

Where Do We Begin?

To be a licensed dentist in Canada, you must have some form of formal education like a BDS/DDS/DMD degree from a recognized school or university program and hold an NDEB certificate.

The most straightforward pathway for an ITD to become a dentist in Canada is to go through the equivalency process. This is designed for those ITDs with a degree program or formal training that is not recognized as accredited in Canada.

Let’s break this down a bit more and go over some steps. Everything starts by applying and receiving approval for the NDEB.

Step 1 - NDEB Application & Approval

The NDEB is the National Dental Examining Board of Canada that issues exams to certify which dentists can practice in Canada. They are responsible for keeping a record of who is appropriately trained, educated, and skilled enough to perform dentistry legally.

To qualify for the NDEB application, you must fulfill one of three requirements:

♦   Graduate from a Canadian dental program - your school will automatically send your confirmation of graduation directly to the NDEB on your behalf.

♦   Graduate from an Accredited Dental Program in the U.S., Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland - it is up to you to send your original official transcripts to the NDEB in a sealed envelope. This must confirm the date you received your degree.

♦   Successfully Complete the Equivalency Process – your university/school will have to submit proof of graduation and academic records as you will pass through the multiple exams.

General dentists must hold a degree from an institute, college, or university to be considered part of an accredited program. That means your school is recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). Otherwise, you will be considered a non-accredited applicant and must pass the equivalency exams.

To open an NDEB account, click here and pay the fee. Then, send over the documents required and wait for the NDEB to review and approve your application.

Step 2 - Pass the AFK

Any foreign dentist seeking certification in Canada must pass the AFK unless they are a graduate of an accredited school.

You cannot register for the AFK exam until you have received approval from the NDEB. That can take around 22 weeks from when you submit your application to when you receive final approval.

We highly suggest you take advantage of this time period by studying for the AFK  so you can pass it on your first try and shorten the wait between steps.

The best way to manage how much money and time you will spend on the entire process of becoming a dentist in Canada has a lot to do with the pass rate of your exams.

We do not want to place added pressure on you as you move through this process, but the fewer times you have to take any of the exams, the faster you will become a qualified Canadian dentist.

The AFK is a 200 single answer multiple-choice questionnaire divided into two parts. This test is designed as the Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge in the field of Dentistry. You can find a decent self-assessment here to give you an idea of what the AFK will cover.

You can take this exam electronically or via a booklet, but it must be at a proctored location. If you do not pass the AFK, you will not continue towards being a dentist in Canada.

To pass, you will need a test equated, a re-scaled score of 75 or higher. Start by logging into your NDEB profile and register by paying for the examination. You will be notified by email with instructions to schedule your exam with Prometric (a proctor).

Step 3 - Option 1: Pass the ACJ & NDECC

If you are not going back to college in Canada or another accredited program recognized by the NDEB, then stick to this path. Most ITDs will follow these steps. Don’t worry. We will get back to the school route later in this guide.


Upon completion of the AFK, it will be time for the ACJ. The Assessment of Clinical Judgment reviews your ability to formulate a diagnosis and make clinical decisions. It also covers knowledge in radiology and if you can adequately interpret that information.

The ACJ is a 5.5-hour exam with only a 30-minute break, so be prepared to go through a lot of material. There are 120-150 single answer and multi answer multiple-choice questions. Every section contains case-based diagnosis and clinical decision-making questions. This is only administered electronically at a proctored test center.

Like the AFK, you need a passing score of 75 or more. You can schedule your test by logging into your NDEB profile and registering for the exam after paying the fee.


This used to be known as the ACS but was changed in December of 2021 to the NDECC. This is the third exam in the equivalency process of becoming a dentist in Canada without an accredited dental degree. The test is known as the National Dental Examination of Clinical Competence.

During this exam, you are assessed based on clinical competence, which walks you through a series of scenarios requiring a judgment. Your skills and clinical capabilities will be tested based on patient-centered care, professionalism, communication, practice management, and more in that field.

The first NDECC exam will be held in June of 2022, so we do not have more details about registering, but we anticipate it to be similar to the other exams. Keep a close watch on your NDEB account to learn more.

Step 3 - Option 2: Pass ADAT and Complete University

For those ITDs that want to go back to college, you must first pass the ADAT. This takes the place of the ACJ and assesses if you are ready for an advanced dental education program.

The test is known as the Advanced Dental Admission Test and is used by all colleges in Canada to determine eligibility to their program.

The test takes about 4.5 hours to complete and is available at Pearson VUE centers all over Canada and the U.S. Most ITDs that take this test have had at least a couple of years of training in dentistry and are seeking post-graduate training or specialty practice. You can learn more about the registration process for the ADAT here.

Once you have a passing score for the ADAT, you can apply to a number of qualified Canadian institutions like University of Toronto and Mc Gill University. These schools accepts ADAT results instead of AFK.

Other schools that offers Dentistry programs that require AFK results prior to enrolling in their International Dentist Advanced Programs:

Keep in mind that the cost of these institutions can be pretty expensive. Depending on the program and fees, you should expect to pay anywhere from $50,000 to $360,000 CAD.

Step 4 - Pass Board Exams

Every ITD will have to pass the OSCE to receive final certification as a licensed dentist in Canada.

This is the final test you will be given and stands for the Objective Structured Clinical Examination. As its name suggests, this is a comprehensive exam to determine you can operate within or own your own clinic.

The OSCE is a booklet test consisting of two sessions on the same day. The first is a 50 multiple choice questionnaire that will include everything from case history to dental charts. Every question will have up to 15 answer options with one or more correct answers.

The second session is a long-form answer to one structured question that does an in-depth look at your ability to practice.

Like all the rest, you must have a 75 or higher to pass this exam. You can schedule your OSCE by viewing your NDEB account and paying the fee.

We want to make a special note here about this exam. In 2023, this will become the NDEB Virtual OSCE. This will combine the written examination and OSCE into one exam delivered electronically in a single day instead of two separate sessions.

You can take the OSCE up to three times, but we highly recommend working with a local preparation center specializing in helping ITDs get through the entire examination process with the NDEB equivalency program. We have a great article about the top Dental Training Institutes/ Centers that help ITDs.


Once you have completed the OSCE, you have fulfilled all your obligations to be a dentist in Canada. All that is left is to send in your final application to the NDEB and them to issue you a license. That process can take a bit of time, but they are working hard to make it quick because dentists are so in demand right now.

You must communicate with the DRA (Dental Regulatory Authority) of the province where you want to practice. DRAs may require additional documentation or proof of specific skills.

Final Thoughts

There are some other nuances to this process, but we wanted to point out a few critical points. First, the cost of the equivalency is expensive. Every exam has its own fee:

♦   NDEB Profile & Paperwork - $900 CAD

♦   AFK - $800 CAD

♦   ACJ - $1,350 CAD

♦   NDECC - $9,000 CAD

♦   OSCE - $1,000 CAD

That is a total of $13,050 and does not include any preparatory help from dental study centers/institutes. If you wrap in those costs, you can expect to pay around $60,000 CAD for the entire process.

Of course, that is significantly less expensive than going back to college, but it is something you need to consider.

Second, you really should work with a dental clinic. There are significant differences in practicing dentistry in Canada compared to other countries, and you do not want to fail any of these exams as that can get expensive quickly.

Finally, speak to some ITDs who completed the equivalency program. We hear about so many questions on Facebook and Reddit that would fill a book to answer.

It really helps to join some of these groups to see if your question can be answered. Give us a follow on Facebook as we frequently post.

Also, Check Out

 ♦   5 Best Ways to Finance Your NDEB Canada Exams for Internationally Trained Dentists
 ♦   How to Prepare for TOEFL Test in Canada


Wrapping it Up

We hope this has been an informative resource for your research. It is a genuine pleasure to help ITDs come to Canada to open a dentistry practice. This is a wonderful country to set roots with many peer immigrants making the move because the job value and career outlook are so positive. Thank you for reading!


Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

HOME Instruments and Books International Dentist Related Posts

How to Immigrate to Canada as a Dentist

Canada is currently ranked the number one country in the world according to the U.S. News & World Report.

That is the first time this northern territory has ranked so high, and it has to do with the balance of work, life, family, and enjoyment.

Canadian living is relaxed, where the majority of the country is laid back and friendly.

More importantly to all our international dental readers, Canada is currently experiencing a high demand for new dentists.

Population growth, an aging citizenry, labor shortages  and technological advancement in diagnosis and treatment are drastically increasing the need for new dentists to enter the marketplace.

So much so that the current outlook is expected to grow at a higher than normal rate for the foreseeable future.

This is an excellent opportunity for internationals wishing to learn how to immigrate to Canada as a dentist.

Advantages of Moving to Canada as a Dentist

Besides the wonderful job offers available, when you immigrate to Canada, you get access to some of the best wages available. The expected salary for an average full time dentist is between $120,000 and $240,000 CAD annually.

Imagine moving from a country that pays 20-40% less than what you could be earning in Canada.

Not only that, but you will get excellent free healthcare through the national system (universal health coverage). In many cases, private healthcare is also included as a sign-on benefit which has dental coverage for specific private providers.

Yes, the income potential is high, but you also get to live in one of the most naturally beautiful destinations in the world and most livable cities.

Canada is a rich, resource-heavy country that is dotted with cosmopolitan cities with varying cultures and historical centers.

You also get: 

♦   A chance at Canadian Permanent Residency

♦   One of the most beneficial passports in the world upon full citizenship

♦   Access to internationally renowned universities

♦   Access social benefits

♦   Apply for Citizenship and Dual Nationality after four years

♦   Enjoy protection under Canadian law and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Canada Express Entry System Openings

Express Entry system is the quickest way to immigrate to Canada as a dentist. This cuts down the entire Canadian Immigration process from years to only a few months. The point is to drive more skilled professional worker immigration to a nation with a growing population.

Being a dentist is a highly qualified occupation for Express Entry through the Federal Skilled Worker program (FSWP).

This is a competitive immigration system that ranks all eligible candidates against each other based on age, education, language ability, work experience, and other factors.










The Canadian government was kind enough to create the National Occupation Classification Codes that designate particular occupations currently high in demand. This includes dentist noc code under the NOC Code 3113, which covers:

♦   dental surgeon

♦   qualified dentist

♦   doctor of dental surgery

♦   endodontist

♦   general practicing dentist

♦   implantology dentistry

♦   the dental and oral surgeon

♦   the maxillofacial and oral surgeon

♦   medicine oral specialist

♦   oral pathologist

♦   maxillofacial surgery and oral pathology specialist

♦   oral radiologist

♦   orthodontist

♦   pediatric dentist

♦   Pedodontist

♦   periodontist

♦   prosthodontist

♦   public health dentist

♦   stomatologist

It is important to note that some occupations in the dental field are excluded. These include:

♦   Dental assistants

♦   Dental Hygienists and dental therapists

♦   Dental technologists, dental technicians, and laboratory assistants

♦   Denturists

Overall, you will want to take advantage of this federal skilled worker program because it grants you express entry into one of the best places to live and work as a licensed dentist.

Take Advantage of the Provincial Nomination Program

Another way to immigrate to Canada as a dentist is to engage in the PNP (Provincial Nomination Program).

These are unique criteria set by each of the 11 provinces in Canada that allow for a certain number of skilled workers to be nominated by the specific area for inclusion.

Provincial nomination can lead to permanent residency if you find private employers that are willing to sponsor you.

If you work with a school or program that helps you get into Canada as a dentist, you will probably learn a great deal about the Provincial Nomination (PNP) because these organizations have direct ties to the government.

They know how many dental jobs openings are available in each province and can help you to get set up.

The 11 provinces in Canada are:

♦   Alberta

♦   British Columbia

♦   Manitoba

♦   New Brunswick

♦   Newfoundland and Labrador

♦   Northwest Territories

♦   Nova Scotia

♦   Ontario

♦   Prince Edward Island

♦   Saskatchewan

♦   Yukon

The Canadian Immigration Application Process

We will now go over the complete process of immigrating to Canada as a dentist. Keep in mind that things may change periodically as the government issues new rules and regulations to the Canadian immigration policy depending on the number of people taking advantage of the different available programs.

Also, Check Out

 ♦   How to Become a Dentist in Canada (A Step by Step Guide)
 ♦   How to Prepare for TOEFL Test in Canada

Step 1 - Determine Your Eligibility

Before you can figure out how to immigrate to Canada as a dentist, you need to make sure you meet the minimum qualifications required. There are over 80 different visa pathways to Canada, so odds are you probably meet at least one of them.

Every entry program will have its own minimum qualifications. For dentists using the Express Entry program, you must:

♦   Have at least one year of continuous full-time work experience in a skilled occupation (over the previous 10 years).

♦   Be able to meet the demands of the Canadian Language Benchmark language proficiency in either English or French.

♦   Hold a post-secondary degree that meets the Canadian standards of an Education Credential Assessment.

Essentially are you a qualified dentist in your home country that has worked full-time for at least a year and can speak English or French conversationally? If you can do that, you qualify.

Step 2 - Get Your Qualifications Accredited

To get your accreditation, you need to show evidence that your dental degree translates over to Canada. The easiest way to do this is through the ECA (Educational Credential Assessment) program.

They will verify that your information is correct from a recognized dental program, in a recognized institution.

The most common way this is done is during your Visa application. You can fill out a section that includes your educational studies and grants you points based on the level of study you have completed.

You will have to supply a decent amount of documentation for this step, so hiring an experienced immigration professional may be a wise decision.

Step 3 - Apply to the Dental Regulatory Authority (DRA)

You can do this by visiting the homepage of the province you wish to live within. They will direct you to the DRA for that provincial government (territorial regulatory body). If you elect to use a different migration process, then this is where you start those programs. That includes:

♦   Express Entry

♦   PNP (Provincial Nominee Program)

♦   Rural and Northern Immigration Pilot - this requires a valid job offer from an RNIP participant

♦   Atlantic Immigration Pilot - sending skilled workers to the 4 Atlantic provinces with a formal job offer of at least 1 year

Step 4 - Either Take an NDEB Equivalency Process or Complete an Accredited Qualifying/Degree Completion Program

The most common step here for internationally trained dentists is to complete the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) series of admittance exams.

You can find many different organizations that will help you prepare to sit these tests if it has been a while since you last reviewed the information.

We strongly encourage you to work with dental review centers that teach you everything you need to know for these exams.

They provide you access to the critical information needed to practice in Canada as a dentist, as well as connect you with many of the networks and job opportunities in their local area.

If you do not wish to take the exam but would rather finish a degree completion program (university degree), you can work with these same institutions or apply to any of the high-quality schools and universities available in Canada.

You may be eligible for a student visa while completing your education which is another foot in the doorway to immigrate to Canada as a dentist.

Step 5 - Complete all Paperwork and Applications

This is what we will refer to as the “fuzzy part.” To put it bluntly, this paperwork requires a spate degree on its own. There is a lot of bureaucracy in the Canadian government that requires exact documentation and details in order to verify all parts of your application process.

We highly suggest working with an immigration attorney or one of the dental organizations listed in our other blog posts to complete this step.

Step 6 - Practice!

With everything else completed, a certification in your pocket, and a dental work offer on the horizon. You are now ready to practice dentistry in Canada. The last thing you will need to do is make your way to Canada and activate your visa.

Getting Connected with an Immigration Consultant

When you are deciding how to immigrate to Canada as a dentist, you should engage the services of an immigration consultant. These are known as RCICs (Regulated Canadian Immigration Consultants) and have been given the designation as experts in their fields.

Hiring an RCIC practically guarantees that you will successfully navigate the ever-changing immigration policies, laws, and visa opportunities currently being offered to your profession.


Can you immigrate to Canada as a dentist? 

Yes! Not only are you capable of immigrating as a human being, but a dental background has high demand and opens more opportunities than others.

What about if I am from India? 

There is a vibrant Canadian-Indian community throughout the country. You will find a lot of support when moving to Canada as an Indian dentist.

Can I bring my family with me as I immigrate to Canada? 

Yes, as a visa holder, you are able to pass on your immigration to your spouse and children automatically. If your partner has advanced skills or education, you actually benefit by moving as a family.

Will I be selected to immigrate to Canada as a dentist? 

The Express Entry candidate pool is highly competitive. It involves CRS (Comprehensive Ranking System) points to determine your rank inside the pool. Getting a job offer, having a solid educational background, proving working experience, and more increases your chance of being selected in the PNP program or express entry.

Do I have to have a job offer in order to immigrate to Canada as a dentist? 

There are three main ways to immigrate to Canada as a dentist:

♦   Using Express Entry

♦   With a valid job offer or arranged employment from a Canadian based employer

♦   Under the PNP or RPNP programs

How much money do I need to have? 

This will vary wildly on your own personal circumstance. We can tell you that the cost for the Express Entry program will be roughly $2,300 CAD for an individual and $4,500 CAD for a couple.

This does not include settlement funds which start at $13,000 CAD for an individual.

That is the amount of money the government wants to see you have available after moving.

Why is it so easy to immigrate to Canada and not the US? 

Canadian cities depend on the immigration population. Unlike the US, Canada embraces its immigrants to bolster the labor market. This is also why Canada has one of the most reliable currencies in the world.

Are there age requirements? 

This is another “fuzzy area” of immigration. The best ages are going to be between 25-35 because those are viewed as having a lot of work years ahead of them where people are contributing to the overall economy.

However, there are no age limits on immigration as Canada recognizes the value in older immigrants because of their experience and skills.

Wrapping it Up

Learning how to immigrate to Canada as a dentist is a long and complex process. There are a lot of steps you need to follow and comprehensive paperwork that must be verified and filled out with a high level of accuracy.

We strongly encourage you to follow up with an RCIC for the complete details, but we hope this guide has offered the basic overview so you can get the ball rolling.

As always, be sure to check out the rest of our site for more information.

We are the leading source of info for ITDs looking to build a new life in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.


Karen Nunez is a practicing dental health care professional in Alberta, Canada. She's passionate about educating her readers on achieving optimum dental health through extensive research on the latest dental topics and providing science-backed product recommendations. Her mission to help Internationally -trained dentists integrate in Canada makes her a difference maker in her field.

In her free time, you can find her glued to her favorite Paulo Coelho books and concocting the best chocolate cupcakes her loved ones go crazy about.


About The Author:

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books International Dentist POPULAR POSTS

4 Best NDEB Canada Training Institutes for Internationally Trained Dentists (ITD)

Canada- the land of maple syrup, fresh air, and a provincial kindness known the world over is actively seeking more dentists. Overseas-trained dentists are now eligible for permanent residence under the Federal Skilled Worker Immigration Program. That means if you have the qualifications and are willing to take the NDEB Canada exams, you too could find a new life in one of the most beautiful and naturally resource-rich countries in the world.

Over the last few decades, more and more of the public has been waking up to the fact that quality dental health is critical to the entire body. Nearly 1 in 4 adults aged 20-64 have cavities in the US alone. So it only makes sense that the demand for quality dental care and professionally trained dentists is rising.

Canada is one of the best places for Internationally Trained Dentists (ITDs) to immigrate. It is considered a leading economy as far as income and starting salaries. Not to mention the food is fantastic, the people are friendly, and the culture is surprisingly diverse.

So as an ITD seeking your Canadian qualifications, how do you get started? Where do you find the answers to how to become a dentist in Canada?

Luckily you landed in our community because we have put together a stellar list of the best 5 coaching centers that will take you from newly arrived immigrant to dental superstar in no time. First, a little background.

What is the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) Canada Exam Process?

The individual steps you will need to succeed are going to depend on your background, dental education, and country of origin. There are subtle differences in dental practice between a South American country and a European country, and finding that happy middle ground while ensuring you have Canadian-based training and dental education is essential.

In general, you can expect these steps:

♦   Go to the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) website and create a login account.

♦   Fill out the forms on the website and submit all required documents.

♦   Take the AFK (Assessment of Fundamental Knowledge)

♦   Either take the ACJ or NDECC Exams. Otherwise, you’ll need to take a Degree Completion Program.

♦   Go through the Certification Process by taking the NDEB written exam and OSCE exam.

There are other subtleties about the pathways for how to become a dentist in Canada for internationally trained dentist (ITDs) that you can read more about from our blog post here.

That may seem like a massive amount of info, and you’re right. It is. The good news is that you can get help from qualified and experienced dental centers that specialize in helping internationally trained dentists through the immigration and qualification process.

Also, Check Out

 ♦   5 Best Ways to Finance Your NDEB Canada Exams for Internationally Trained Dentists
 ♦   How to Prepare for TOEFL Test in Canada


Here is our list of NDEB Canada Review Centers for foreign-trained dentists

1.  ConfiDentist - Best All-Around Program

The nice thing about ConfiDentist is the brand messaging and access to incredible resources. This dental center may not have all the bells and whistles of an entire dental school, but it comes incredibly close.

When you study how to become a dentist in Canada, you need access to in-depth clinical resources, technology, practical classrooms, and more. Those are all available with ConfiDentist. They place a high value on mock testing and practical skills, which many ITDs find refreshing as the quickest way to learn something new is to physically give it a try.

Tuition runs anywhere from $1,000 and up depending on the coursework you wish to take. We highly suggest checking ConfiDentist out through its social media. They have a decent presence that will give you valuable insight into whether or not this is the dental center for your ITD transition to a fully qualified and certified Canadian dental practice.

Visit ConfiDentist

2. DSTC Dental - Best for Canada & USA

Most dental centers in Canada will instruct ITD students about the NDEB exams as well as some information about practicing in the United States. DSTC Dental wraps that education into its programming from the beginning. If you are an ITD looking to learn how to become a dentist in Canada with your sights set on eventually going to the USA, this may be your best option.

DSTC has the exam prep and technical equipment needed to get you through the tests of the NDEB examination.  They also have a heavy presence in India which is helpful as Indian Canadians have the highest volume of immigrants moving into the country. It really helps to have a dental center that leans more towards the country Canada receives the most internationally trained dentists.

DSTC does not have as many locations as some of the other centers on our list but hits the big three in Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver. They are a little on the higher side as far as fees are concerned at around $4,350 CAD for the NDECC program, but you also get access to an extensive student alumni network which helps you secure a placement after completing your credentials.

Visit DSTC Dental

3. Prep Doctors Institute - Best International Experience

Prep Doctors was founded in 2011 and offer preparatory courses targeting the NDEB exams, specially designed for foreign-trained dentists. This is an organization full of dentists and specialists from all over the world coming together to help infuse the Canadian dental world with highly trained and qualified licensed dentists.

This is an excellent company if you are entirely new to the Canadian culture and need advice from people who have been in your shoes before. They offer a ton of bespoke dental sciences courses and are a Certified Educational Institution by the Canadian government with an A+ rating from the BBB, meaning they deliver on their promise of quality.

ITDs that use Prep Doctors are twice as likely to pass the NDEB’s clinical skills and situational judgment exam because this center focuses on simulating the exam environment as much as possible.

Students' Reviews (Source: Prep Doctors Facebook Page)

♦   Sarah Salem           - I highly recommend prep doctors for sure! They helped me to pass AFK, and ACJ and I just passed my ACS from the first attempt with all A/A+ results! I can't thank enough everyone on the team for feeling like a family, helping and leading us to success step by step.

♦   Ali Al-Ezzi              - Huge thanks to PrepDrs team for all the hard work they put into the ACS Course, their course is well structured, sufficient, and exam-oriented. The staff is very friendly. Strongly Recommended.

4 - Scholars Dental - Highest Rated Dental Center

The first thing you’ll notice about Scholars Dental is their commitment to the AFK exam. This is the first step after signing up for Canadian qualification as an internationally trained dentist which requires some real work.

With Scholars Dental, you get a personalized learning plan that combines live sessions, online videos, and flexible payment plans that you can use from anywhere in the world. We like this dental center because it is a great barometer for figuring out if the move to Canada will be right for you or not.

Before you spend a lot of resources moving to Canada and trying to find a place to live, it makes sense to use a dental center like this to ensure you are really ready.

The dental institute offers a free consultation before you begin so you can learn more about funding and payment options.

Students' Reviews (Source: Prep Scholars Dental Facebook Page)

♦   Nada Oag           -  Best decision I made was to go along with this course! Big thank you to Dr. Ahmad, Dr. Hajer, and Dr. Sherief for simplifying things for us.

Your Source of NDEB Canada Information for Foreign-Trained Dentists

We hope this post has been helpful and directed you toward a quality future as a Canadian dentist. Every one of these centers can offer you a lot of help, guidance, and training needed to pass the National Dental Examining Board (NDEB) Canada exams and qualifications.

If you would like to learn more about the entire process of immigrating to Canada with your dental background, be sure to browse the rest of our website.

We are the number one trusted source for ITDs looking to navigate the process of how to become a dentist in Canada and are constantly updating our site with the latest tools, resources, and support you need.

Do us a big favor. When you do contact these dental centers, let them know we sent you over. There is always an opportunity to grow with these fantastic organizations so we can create a smooth transition for all ITDs as they make a move to the natural beauty and incredible culture of Canadian living.

Thank you again, and good luck!

Snap Up! As low as $0.01























Up to 60% OFF Valentine's Day Sale

Karen Nunez was born in Valenzuela, Philippines. She received her Doctor of Dental Medicine degree from Centro Escolar University in Manila.

Karen currently is a practicing oral health care professional based in Alberta, Canada; and runs a Blog where she writes a slew of articles to empower internationally trained dentists to integrate into Canadian dentistry.

Read more of her blogs here.

Instruments and Books International Dentist

Books About Dental

Know the Different Kinds of Dental Instruments - a Pocket Guide for Dental Students

Let Kids Learn All About Oral Health. Let Them Read The Tooth Book.

Community Oral Health Practice for the Dental Hygienist

Oral Pharmacology for the Dental Hygienist (2nd Edition)

The Pocket Guide to Mouth and Dental Hygiene in Dementia Care: Guidance for Maintaining Good Oral Health

Dr. Ben's Dental Guide: A Visual Reference to Teeth, Dental Conditions, and Treatment

Clinical Practice Of The Dental Hygienist

Primary Preventive Dentistry

Nutrition for Dental Health: A Guide for the Dental Professional, Enhanced Edition


Instruments and Books Instruments and Books International Dentist

The Success Guide for Internationally Trained Dentists to Pass the NDEB

Internationally trained dentists (ITDs) bring an innovative, diverse, and cultural perspective to the Canadian workforce as they move to the country. As Prime Minister Trudeau likes to say: “Diversity is our strength.” 

That said, integrating into the Canadian workforce can be challenging for many. After moving to Canada, ITDs are forced to navigate a different health care system with various laws and regulations. 

For one, internationally trained dentists may be ill-informed about professional etiquette and oral health care team structures. On top of that, there are language barriers, cultural differences, feelings of isolation, and economic realities. As a result, the abrupt and significant change warrants most ITDs to take the NDEB exams (National Dental Examining Board of Canada). 

Passing the exam confirms that though you are an internationally trained dentist, you meet the Canadian standard for dental knowledge, competence, and skills. You must pass this examination if you want to practice dentistry in Canada. So without further ado, here’s a bite-sized guide to help you succeed in passing the exams. 


We recommend products we genuinely believe may be beneficial to your review. If you purchase the products using the links below, we may earn some affiliate commissions at no extra cost to you. Please read our policy here for more information.



Mosby’s Review for the NBDE

Part I (General Science)

Mosby’s review for the NBDE provides the most up-to-date information for part 1 of the national board dental examination. The book is loaded with illustrations, informative examples, pictures, and comprehensive tables that aid in memorizing and comparing information. 

After each section, it also offers sample questions to ensure you understand what you’re reading to maximize exam prep.

The minor drawback is that the pictures are in black and white, limiting the realistic visual learning aid when reading a labeled diagram. 

Part II (Biomedical & Dental Sciences)

The second part of Mosby’s review goes more in-depth with specialized segments and surgical procedures. There are about 450 diagrams and photographs for reference complementing medical and dental subjects. Tables and text boxes also provide extra information and highlight essential data from the topics. 

And again, to maximize exam prep, you have 450 questions waiting at the end of the book with the correct answers and explanations. 

Both books are good, but you should always choose the latest edition to make sure you’re studying the most updated information. 

Use Flashcards

Engage in active memory to recall concepts, vocabulary, and processes minus the distraction. Using flashcards allows you to repeat the learning and memorizing until you get the information etched in your brain.

What's more, this effective study tool is proven to help learners retain factual knowledge. You wonder how?

It provides stronger neuron connections - active recall when using flashcards facilitates an activity in your brain to make multiple memory-enhancing effects. This engaging movement in your brain leads to 150% better retention than passive studying.

Flashcards are effective because they prompt you to pull information out of your latent memory, rather than just reading it, and thus, helps you ace the tests.




2017-2018 Edition Dental Decks For NBDE Part 1 (Volume 13)

Features 1,300 individual flashcards formatted with a question on the front and a detailed answer and topic review at the back.

Key Topics:

Anatomic Sciences Microbiology


Dental Anatomy and Occlusion

Ethics and Patient Management




Dental Decks for NBDE Part 2 (Volume 13) 2017-2018 Edition

Over 1,400 individual flashcards were formatted with a question at the front and a detailed answer and topic review at the back. reviews all the areas covered in the NDEB exam.

Key Topics Include;

Operative - Pharmacology - Prosthodontics - Patient Management and Pediatric Dentistry

Orthodontics - Periodontics - Endodontics

Oral Surgery/Pain Control - Oral Pathology - Radiology


First Aid for the NBDE

Part I

This two-part series can be compared to Mosby’s review. It offers the same review curriculum, except the unique touch is that it’s written by students who have written the exam themselves. That way, you get performance-enhancing tips from former students, once like you, who have been there and done that

Over 200 illustrations and clinical photographs help clarify concepts and hundreds of high-yield facts and mnemonics that aid in memorization. It has been rated 4.7 out of 5 and described as “easy-to-read” and “concise,” thanks to students who understood the struggle of convoluted medical talk.

Part II

The second part is about more practical applications. Part II flexes an entire database of exam questions, timed practice questions, sample cases, answers, and rationales, and a custom test generator that mimics the NBDE II with instant feedback.

This allows students to uniquely engage with an interactive learning platform, which has shown to be six times more effective than regular learning.  


Improve Your Memory & Focus

One of the most demanding skills of a dentist is a strong memory. You must remember all the theories and practices not only for that NDEB (National Dental Examining Board of Canada) test but for your hands-on dental practice, too. Here are two books to help in that department:


How to Develop a Perfect Memory – Dominic O’Brien

Dominic is a World Memory Champion who recommends five highly effective retention practices that aspiring internationally trained dentists about to take the NDEB can do. 

Though some are born with a photographic memory, a “perfect” memory can still be developed through these tips, says Dominic, giving you an advantage in the exam room. Be sure to use them while you’re reading the recommended NDEB review books!

Remember that not everyone has a strong imagination–which many of the memory practices are dependent on. Some of the mentioned practices may or may not work as well for you.  


Deep Work - Cal Newport

With about 6000 five-star reviews, Deep Work offers actionable advice, anecdotes, and essential lessons on focusing without distraction. It’s written to teach readers how to master complicated information and produce better results in a shorter time. That is, quite literally, what you need to be successful in the timed NDEB exams. 

As with most books authored by great professors and masters in their field, the book does weigh a little heavy on anecdotal references and fluff from their long life. The information is solid, but it could’ve been condensed into a third of the book. Nevertheless, it’s a worthwhile read, and many find the life stories and experiences deeply insightful and excellent practical examples of his lessons. 


Take supplements to Boost Concentration

Alongside practical memory retention and intense focusing tips, there are highly effective supplements that you can take mental clarity and concentration: 


Neuronol - Brain Health Formula

Many students attest that this clinically tested and FDA-approved product gave them a much-needed boost by alleviating stress and defogging their brain to improve memory. The capsules contain 8 cognitive-enhancing chemicals, 5 of which directly boost your memory.

Customers often complain about the expensive price tag, but it’s a given with the cognitive benefits thanks to Dignity Bio-lab’s proprietary blend. Also, note that taking this supplement can result in restlessness, as it’s a cognitive booster, not calmer. So, be wary of taking it at night near bedtime. 


BrainMend – Advanced Brain Booster

BrainMend was specially designed to push you through those all-nighters with the power of lion mane mushroom, which has been shown to significantly improve mental clarity and give you proper focus.

The Canadian-made supplement also boosts memory with the help of Bacopa Monnieri–a herbal plant in Ayurvedic medicine. Taking these pills near your study sessions weeks before your exam will give you better clarity and focus by the exam date, where you’ll be more than prepared.  

One drawback is that these vegetarian capsules, though effective, are again pricey, and for a budget-conscious student, it may be a problem buying them regularly. Rest assured, the value and cognitive benefits are worth it. After passing the exam and starting your dentist career, these supplements will be small yet worthwhile investments in hindsight.


Parting Words

Taking the NDEB (National Dental Examining Board of Canada) test can be nerve-wracking, especially if you’re an internationally trained dentist with little study-sense on what to review or learn in a country with one of the most advanced healthcare systems. 

You’re not alone. But now you’re familiar with the best resources for tips and supplements in the game, recommended by Canadian oral health professionals themselves (that’s us!). By following the directions in this article, you’ll gain a considerable advantage and perform well on the NDEB.

So, are you ready to take the NDEB exam?