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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.

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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.

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11 Best Cities to Live in Canada

Canada is a beautiful country with so much to offer ITDs and immigrants looking to build a new life. From the rolling hills of the East Coast to the rugged mountains of the West, this nation is brimming with charm and culture.

As more people from across the globe look to relocate here, choosing where to live in Canada is becoming easier said than done. There are so many attractive options for the best cities to live in in Canada based on the cost of living, job opportunities, quality of life, entertainment, attractions, and more that it can be a bit overwhelming.

That’s why we’ve compiled this list of some of our favorite Canadian cities from coast to coast that are great for immigration. So whether you’re thinking about moving abroad or simply looking for your next travel destination, consider these 11 cities to find work and life as an ITD in Canada.

What are the Best Cities to Live in Canada?

So many factors go into answering this question, though, that it's not always easy to know where to start. Canada is a vast country, ranked second largest globally, with only Russia above it. However, it is 39th by population. That means there is a lot of land to explore and enjoy without feeling like you are packed into apartments like sardines.

The total population is over 35 million people strong who speak primarily English and French. Some areas will have more French speakers than others. Still, you can easily get by with English because so many tourists enjoy the natural beauty of Canada. It is located just above the United States, which primarily speaks English.

There is a lot of opportunity in Canada, which made narrowing down the list to only 11 cities to live in challenging. We looked at factors like:

♦ Cost of Living

♦ Job Availability

♦ Crime Rate

♦ Quality of Education

♦ Total Population

And more!

As an ITD, it will come down to where the opportunities are, but this list will give you a general idea of some more welcoming areas that are more open to people from other cultures. The entire country is a warm, inviting place to build a home, but many immigrants like to start where people from their country have also moved to Canada. Let’s dive in.

1 - Ottawa

Ottawa is the capital of Canada and the second-largest city in the country. It's also one of the most educated cities in Canada, with 45% of its population having a college or university degree. That is probably because there are two major universities in the city - the University of Ottawa and Carleton University.

Ottawa was named after a native tribe meaning "to trade," which was fitting for its location on what was originally a crucial Aboriginal trading route between east and west. Today it's home to many government offices as well as being considered one of North America's greenest cities - something you'll notice when you visit.

With over 1 million people living there, Ottawa isn't too big or small. The population is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years. In addition, it has new investments from Canada’s immigration drive.

There are many well-groomed outdoor paths for riding a bike or enjoying a walk in the hotter summers. While the winters can be pretty cold, the city comes alive with great activities, festivals, and events.

This is a bilingual city that speaks both French and English, meaning that many public services will be available in either language.

The job market in Ottawa is vibrant because this city is home to Canada’s federal government offices, which employs a considerable number of the population. That means there is a low unemployment rate and a high demand for services to the middle to upper-class families, which dentistry benefits from.

At a Glance: 

♦ Unemployment Rate: 6.3%

♦ Median Family Income: $102,000 CAD

♦ Cost of Apartment: $700-$1,400 CAD

♦ Cost of Gallon of Milk: $9.49 CAD

♦ Population: 1.3 million

♦ Foreign-Born Residents: 23.4% of the population

♦ Fun Fact: More engineers, scientists, and PhDs per capita than any other city in Canada.

2 -Vancouver

Vancouver is the largest city in British Columbia and the third-largest metropolitan area in Canada. It's located on the south shore of Burrard Inlet, a natural harbor home to one of North America’s biggest ports.

The city has been growing steadily over the past few decades, but it hasn't become overcrowded or overly developed like other cities with similar populations. Vancouverites celebrate their natural beauty and relaxed lifestyle as a point of pride (and they're probably right). This is a place where you can go hiking or snowboarding for half your year and has plenty of indoor activities to keep you busy during those cold months when outdoor activities aren't possible.

There are stunning beaches, islands, and coastline, as well as a vibrant urban center with many entertainment and knowledge centers rivaling most major cities across the globe. However, that also makes it one of the more expensive destinations on our list. If you can find lucrative job placement, then this is an excellent place to move.

Vancouver is on our list of best cities to live in Canada because it is so diverse and has a thriving economy. A colossal entertainment sector brings in many supportive jobs in the area, and plenty of housing is easier after the city converted much of the 2010 Winter Olympic centers into apartments.

If you want the best schools, hospitals, and medical care with easy-to-use public transportation and surprisingly mild weather, this is the place to be.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
  • Median Family Income: $96,423 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $1,000-$2,100 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $10.45 CAD
  • Population: 2.1 million
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 42.5% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Recently ranked as the third most livable place in the world and 10th cleanest city in the world.

3 - Burlington

Burlington is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada, and the capital of the Halton Region. It is located on the shores of Lake Ontario, north of Toronto and south of Hamilton.

The city was ranked as the safest municipality in Ontario by Crime Rate Statistics Canada for two consecutive years (2010–2011), according to its 2011 police statistics report. The City has also been recognized as one of Canada's top ten retirement destinations by Sun Life Financial.

This makes Burlington one of the favorite cities of expats from the U.S. and other European countries. It is also an area that sits between urban living and the great outdoors, due in part to the significant number of parks, walking trails, bike paths, and other quality of life enjoyments.

With so many out-of-towners moving to Burlington, there are a lot of job opportunities due to numerous new businesses popping up all of the time to serve the growing population. It has a broad economic base that adds to the region's overall stability and does not suffer from a single industry overtaking another due to its diversity. A lot of people actually work in Toronto and then use the commuter train to go home to one of the best places to live - Burlington.

While all of Canada is family-friendly, this is known as one of the more “small-town feels” areas of the country that loves younger families. Shopping, dining, and education are all top-notch, and there is a rich active lifestyle supported by local communities that welcome people of all backgrounds.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
  • Median Family Income: $93,588 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $900-$1,900 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $10.60 CAD
  • Population: 186,948
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 24.1% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Burlington has more species of lilacs than almost anywhere else in the world.

4 - Oakville

Oakville is a city in Southern Ontario, Canada, part of the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). It's home to over 222,000 residents and has become a popular destination for those seeking to live in the GTA without sacrificing amenities.

The Oakville Chamber of Commerce said it best: "Oakville has been successful because we’re not Toronto." If you're looking for a smaller community with great schools and plenty of green space but still close enough to get into the big city whenever you need to—this is your place.

You are living right up against Lake Ontario, which provides a significant amount of entertainment, commerce, and tourism to the area. This is also only 30 minutes from downtown Toronto and about an hour from Niagara Falls on the U.S. border.

We put this on our list of the best cities to live in Canada for ITDs because of how welcoming it is to younger families and children. Between the broad array of arts, culture, music, sports, museums, festivals, and educational opportunities, this is an incredibly vibrant community for staying busy. No matter your background or interest, you can find plenty to do in Oakville.

Jobs are easier to find here because of the major industries in the area. Siemens, Ford, General Electric, and UTC Aerospace all have significant operations in the area. You’ll find a good portion of the population employed in science, pharmaceuticals, and eldercare.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.2%
  • Median Family Income: $113,666 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $1,900-$3,400 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $10.01 CAD
  • Population: 211,382
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 30% of the population
  • Fun Fact: More than 1.4 million tourists visit Oakville every year.

5 - St. Albert

If you want access to all the amenities that come with living in a large city without having to deal with all the traffic or busy streets of downtown, then St. Albert is the best choice. The cost of living here is lower than in other parts of Alberta, which makes it an attractive option for those looking for a place where they can still afford rent or mortgage payments but get more bang for their buck.

There is an abundance of high-paying jobs due to numerous industries moving into the area to serve the growing population. In addition, you get all the amenities of schools, healthcare, and recreation, as well as excellent outdoor green spaces along the Sturgeon River. This is a very family-friendly area and hosts the International Children’s Festival, which brings in more than 55,000 people annually.

Even though this is one of the best cities to live in, be prepared for some cold winters that can include temperatures 20 degrees below. A lot of people choose to live in St. Albert and then commute to Edmonton, another place on our list of the best cities to live in Canada. That is partly because there is a significant amount of the population works in the nearby oil, gas, and energy industry. This is a surprisingly vibrant science and technology sector of Canada with a strong IT and biotechnology drive for new innovation.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.2%
  • Median Family Income: $131,300 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $850-$1,295 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $9.37 CAD
  • Population: 65,589
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 23% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Voted the #1 best small city to live in Canada by MoneySense Magazine.

6 - Boucherville

Boucherville is a city in Quebec, Canada, and is considered one of the oldest places in the country. It's also home to some pretty good eats, with restaurants like Au Pied de Cochon and Maison Boulud nearby.

Commute time from Boucherville to Montreal (where most jobs are located) is just 24 minutes—which means that if your commute takes longer than that during rush hour, then there's something wrong with your car or something else about your life situation that needs fixing.

The average income in Boucherville has been rising steadily over time for full-time workers (like doctors and lawyers). That increase makes this option one of the best cities to live in for building a future with your family.

This is another location that is popular with expats from the U.S. because of the outdoor activities, sporting opportunities, arts, culture, and relative closeness to Montreal. You’ll need to brush up on your French as roughly 90% of the population prefers to speak that over English. That means being bilingual is essential to finding a dentistry position in Boucherville, Canada.

Other areas of job placement include aerospace, software, pharmaceuticals, technology, manufacturing, and transportation.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 4.3%
  • Median Family Income: $97,401 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $1,500-$2,800 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $9.87 CAD
  • Population: 40,753
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 5-10% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Excellent location for nearby festivals like the Montreal Jazz, Le Grand RibFest in Laval, and Igloofest.

7 - Calgary

Calgary is a cosmopolitan city and an economic center for southern Alberta, situated at the confluence of the Bow River and Elbow River in a large valley surrounded by mountains on all sides. It is home to many cultural festivals, including the Calgary International Stampede, one of North America's most famous rodeos, the Calgary Folk Music Festival, and Truckfest, which takes place every summer at Heritage Park Historical Village.

The economy of Calgary has been built on oil and gas production since its inception, but today it also relies heavily on agriculture (especially beef), tourism, transportation equipment (principally aircraft), financial services, and high-tech industries such as information technology (IT) companies engaged in global business services operations such as call centers for international airlines or hotel chains.

More than 1.5 million people live in this busy city that expanded rapidly after the railway was built. As a result, you get a rich mix of old rural landscapes with young urban development, making this an excellent addition to our best places to live in Canada.

There are many jobs in various industries like film, aerospace, health, tourism, and dentistry. This is due in part to the vibrant influx of new business and the benefits from the highly successful 1988 Calgary Winter Olympic games that helped grow residential and financial opportunities.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.3%
  • Median Family Income: $105,060 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $1,300-$2,200 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $8.70 CAD
  • Population: 1.33 million
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 33% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Home to one of the youngest populations in Canada, with an average age of 38.

8 - Halifax

Halifax is a beautiful city on the east coast of Canada. It offers residents an excellent quality of life, a lower cost of living, and access to jobs. If you're looking to raise a family in Canada or move back home after being away for a while, then this could be the place for you.

This is the regional capital for Nova Scotia and the 2nd fastest growing area for expats and immigrants. That is probably because the incredible coastline and laid-back lifestyle make it a lovely place to retire or enjoy a slower pace of life.

Halifax has a sister city of Dartmouth, connected by bridges over the Bedford Basin. Living there means access to twice as many educational, healthcare, and industrial opportunities. This also means double the outdoor development, parks, and natural beauty!

You get some cold temps being so close to the coast and plenty of snow, but the locals make it a fun and enjoyable season with festivals and plenty of places to dine where everyone hangs out together.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
  • Median Family Income: $69,553 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $949-$1,850 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $8.51 CAD
  • Population: 431,479
  • Foreign-Born Residents: 9-12% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Halifax rents Point Pleasant, a beloved park, for one shilling a year from the British Government.

9 - Quebec City

Quebec City is the capital of the province of Quebec and the second-largest city in Canada. It was founded by Samuel de Champlain in 1608 and became a British colony until 1759 when it was restored to France.

Quebec's climate is quite similar to southern Ontario's, although winters tend to be colder due to its northern location. Summers are also more humid than they are further south due to prevailing winds coming off Lake Ontario.

This is one of the oldest cities in the country and a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its architecture and historical importance. There are a lot of cultural amenities in this city and a vibrant food and dining option as many expats with culinary training love to immigrate to Quebec City. However, you will need to know French as less than 2% of the population speak English fluently.

There is a log of timber, aerospace, and hydropower employment opportunities and not so much in the IT or science sector. The reason it is so affordable to live in Quebec City is that you are in store for a harsh winter. While you get some of the most intriguing winter festivals in the world, you also have a long spate of short dark days with more than enough snow.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 3.9%
  • Median Family Income: $59,881 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $949-$1,450 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $7.65 CAD
  • Population: 542,298
  • Foreign-Born Residents: Roughly 6-8% of the population
  • Fun Fact: The delicious french fries in gravy or other dips known as Poutine originated in Quebec City.

10 - Saskatoon

Saskatoon is the largest city in the province of Saskatchewan and is one of Canada’s fastest-growing areas. The strange thing about this place is that it does not feel like a city. When you are walking around the mom-and-pop shops and local restaurants, you get the sense this is more of a village, even though it has more than 273,000 people.

Everything feels outdoorsy in this place to live, with various parks, playgrounds, and recreational opportunities. As agriculture and livestock are major industries, you get delicious local foods. An expanded IT, biotech, and manufacturing interest are growing at a breakneck speed for new job placement.

The cost of living is relatively low because there is so much farmland nearby, but you will have severely cold winters. Unfortunately, this is one of those locations in the world where you have to be prepared for winter because the temps and snowfall can take over all aspects of life in the city.

Despite the rough weather, this tight knight community of happy and fun-loving people welcomes newcomers with open arms.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 4.7%
  • Median Family Income: $79,001 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $900-$1,200 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $8.03 CAD
  • Population: 273,010
  • Foreign-Born Residents: Roughly 15.6% of the population
  • Fun Fact: More than 8,200 local residents gathered in Victoria Park to host the world’s largest snowball fight on February 1, 2016.

11 - Edmonton

Wrapping up our list of the best cities to live in Canada is Edmonton. Here you find a wonderful city that is friendly to pretty much anyone that comes to visit or stay. This is due to the area being host to over fifty yearly festivals in art, culture, folklore, food, holidays, music, and more.

You have plenty of shopping and sporting events throughout the year, as well as a city, focused on creating more green space whenever possible. That makes this one of the best urban environments to still enjoy outdoor living in the world.

The weather here is going to be cold, and the city is spread out a bit without much public transport as of yet. You will need a car to get around the city and surrounding area. This is the capital city of Alberta and has a huge population, so there is plenty to do when things get a little chilly come winter.

At a Glance: 

  • Unemployment Rate: 6.1%
  • Median Family Income: $97,800 CAD
  • Cost of Apartment: $975-$1,300 CAD
  • Cost of Gallon of Milk: $9.76 CAD
  • Population: 981,280
  • Foreign-Born Residents: Roughly 24% of the population
  • Fun Fact: Edmonton receives 2,299 hours of bright sunshine annually, with some days having up to 17 hours.

Wrapping it Up

All of these cities can offer you a great quality of life ITD option, as well as a high employment rate, low crime rate, and access to amenities. When deciding on the best cities to live in in Canada, think about what you need from your new home and where these needs might be met.

As ITDs exploring new opportunities, we cannot emphasize enough the power of networking. Speaking with fellow peers and mentors will be the best way to connect with these areas of the world. Take your time to explore the different amenities and features of each city before making your decision. All in all, you cannot go wrong with setting up your family through a dentistry career in the beautiful country of Canada!

Also, Check Out the Related Article:  How to Immigrate to Canada as a Dentist

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.

Instruments and Books Instruments and Books International Dentist

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 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 towards 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-rays 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. Prep Doctors Institute - Best International Experience
  2. Scholars Dental - Highest Rated Dental Center
  3. CIDE Online - Best Value and Financial Aid
  4. ConfiDentist - Best All-Around Program
  5. 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.

Instruments and Books Instruments and Books International Dentist POPULAR POSTS

5 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, 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



How to Improve Your Memorization and Recall

Preparing for your AFK exam does not have to feel like a giant mountain to overcome, especially when you take advantage of time-saving, high-yield memory tricks from the expert team at Rememberology.

This is a dedicated service specializing in helping dental students and ITDs prepare for various licensing exams through the benefit of different mnemonic devices that improve memorization and recall.

With so many new candidates entering the Canadian dental system, you could use every bit of help needed to succeed.

Instead of continually studying for hours, only to have essential facts and figures fall out of your memory.

Rememberology provides detailed memorization support that allows you to feel confident taking any of Canada’s dental exams.

Topics include everything from oral pathology to pharmacology, anatomy, and orthodontics. All are structured with the specific exams you need to succeed in mind.

Time to transform your next study session with the advanced power of a team dedicated to your dental future.

Time for Rememberology!

Visit their website today to get started.


Student/Member Review:

Learn the fun way through Rememberology!

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

1 - 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, ACJ and I just passed my ACS from the first attempt with all A/A+ results! I can't thank enough everyone in 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.


2 - 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 that 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.

♦    Dr.Nikita Shubham Gupta   -   The best decision for my dental career path in Canada was to join Scholars. Can never
                                                              thank enough Dr. Ahmed Hafez and Dr. Hajar for constantly being there. Thank you for                                                                                everything.

3 - CIDE Online - Best Value and Financial Aid

CIDE is a smaller dental center focused on rotating course schedules and availability. They may not pack the punch of a larger organization, but they still offer all the quality information you need to pass your qualifications as a foreign trained dentist.

This is a great organization if you have a lot of financial needs and are looking for immediate placement after completing your NDEB exams and the whole process. CIDE partners with a lot of local businesses and dental practices, so they have a pre-built network of employers that can at least point in the direction of a future placement.

If you are interested in CIDE, call them and ask about their Early Bird Discounts or any upcoming coupons. They seem to always be offering some sort of discount. That is probably because they are so well tuned in to the need for qualified dentists - especially ITDs.

Tuition starts at $2,500+hst, but there are discounts available.

Visit CIDE Online

4 - 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 course work 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

5 - 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 their 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 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 from.

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

Your Source of NDEB Canada Information for Foreign-Trained Dentists

We hope this post has been helpful and directed you towards 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!

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. 


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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?