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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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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.

The ACJ

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.

The NDECC

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.

Congratulations!

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.

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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.

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4 Best Invisible Braces (Clear Aligners) of 2022

Admit it, you’ve probably stood in front of the mirror dreaming of the perfect smile. A true eye magnet. We all have. 

But the sheer cost and time of traditional orthodontic treatment make it nothing more than a pipe dream.

But what if it didn’t have to be? 

Enter at-home clear aligners. 

Yes, even some parts of dentistry have moved online. Who would’ve thought? Now, you can get straighter without stepping a single foot out of the house. And no, your dentist doesn’t set up shop in your living room, but they can send you some life-changing products to bring out a new you. 

In this comprehensive guide, we'll talk about the ins and outs of at-home teeth alignment treatment and shed light on why it’s important, how the process works, and the best at-home aligner brands to look out for.  

What Are Invisible Braces or Clear Aligners?

Also known as invisible aligners, clear aligners are an orthodontic treatment for misaligned or crooked teeth. They apply constant pressure on your teeth to gradually move them into shape like braces. But unlike braces, they’re virtually invisible and removable. An aligner tray is customized for every patient, depending on the degree of tooth misalignment (malocclusion).

Types Of Invisible Braces

The following are the three types of invisible braces:

Clear Aligners

These are the most popular and widely-used types of invisible braces. They consist of clear plastic trays, each slightly smaller than the previous one, to gradually move your teeth into place.

Trays apply low-force pressure to the teeth and advance them over time. It takes an average of 18 months for this process to complete.

Ceramic Braces

Ceramic braces are basically the same as clear aligners regarding how they work and what they achieve. Unlike their plastic counterparts, however, ceramic braces are made from a thin layer of ceramic that makes them more aesthetically pleasing than clear aligners.

Although metal braces are more visible, clear ceramic brackets make them far less. These may take as little as six months to show results.

Lingual Braces

Like traditional braces, lingual braces employ a bracket-and-wire design to align teeth and repair bite problems. These types of braces attach to your tongue side (underside) rather than the fronts like other kinds.

Lingual braces are almost invisible and make for a much more aesthetically-pleasing look, but there’s one major drawback: they can be pretty uncomfortable.

What Material Are Invisible Braces Composed Of?

Clear and ceramic braces are made of transparent thermoplastic acrylics, making them more aesthetically pleasing than metal braces. They can be removed while drinking & eating though you may experience discomfort when wearing the trays for long periods.

When Do I Need Clear Aligners?

Perhaps you’re tired of metal braces and don’t like the way they look. If that’s the case, you should definitely consider investing in invisible or clear aligners instead.

Or perhaps your teeth are still growing, and traditional braces could threaten your growth plates.

However, dental aligners are capable of treating a variety of different cases. If you have one of the following conditions, then you could be a good candidate for aligners:

»   Crowded Teeth - Also known as malocclusion, crowded teeth are when the upper and lower jaws don’t line up properly. This can lead to gum disease, tooth decay, and gum recession. It Happens in small mouths, where teeth overlap one another, stick out, and/or get pushed inside.

»   Crooked Teeth - Teeth that don’t stand front-faced and straight are considered crooked. It may happen when you’re still growing, but it can also indicate more significant problems in the jaw or skull.

»   Diastema - Small or large gaps between the teeth are known as diastema. Minor spaces can develop in any mouth area, but they are frequently seen between the two upper front teeth.

»   Overbites - The upper front teeth overlap the lower front teeth to form an overbite. Overbites are generally caused when the upper jaw is too big for the lower one, but it can also signify an unbalanced bite.

»   Underbites  -Lower front teeth overlap with the upper front teeth to form an underbite. This is normally caused when the lower jaw is too small for the upper one, but it also happens due to an unbalanced bite.

»   Open Bites - It’s called an open bite when the outward-slanting front upper and lower teeth don’t touch one another. This is usually caused by excessive over or underbite.

»   Misaligned Primary (Baby) Teeth - Clear aligners may be used during phase I orthodontic treatment to make room for the developing permanent teeth and existing baby teeth. Suitable for children between ages 6 to 10.

In-Office Aligners vs. At-Home Aligners

Clear aligners come in two types:

The most popular option among aligners is in-office alignment. These aligners must be received from a licensed doctor and more intensive treatment. 

At-home aligners, also known as direct-to-consumer aligners, are less expensive than in-office aligners. Since the application and treatment are completed remotely (your aligner is delivered), you won’t have to visit a dentist or orthodontist for checkups. It’s the future of clear aligners. 

At-home and in-office aligners are both made from clear, medical-grade, BPA-free plastic (BPA-free products are those that do not contain the organic chemical Bisphenol A in their construction.). Some aligners may or may not touch your gums. With a ‘scalloped’ design, the trays sit comfortably along your gum line, making the trays less irritating and even more invisible. 

The gum line is not trimmed in other aligners (most options at home). As a result, they partially cover your gums and might cause more irritation at first. But most people aren’t bothered by it as the discomfort is minor. For this article, we’ll be talking about at-home aligners.

How To Get Dental Aligners? - The 4-Step Process

 

If you’re looking to straighten teeth, you’re probably also curious to know how the entire dental alignment transaction works. In this short section, we outline the process for getting your at-home invisible aligners:

1. Get a Customized Treatment Plan

The first step is to schedule an appointment with an orthodontist or order online for an impression kit. In person, a dentist will examine your teeth and scan your mouth, or for the at-home teeth aligning treatment, you can send back the impression kit with the mold of your teeth (after biting into the “goopy putty”). 

An individualized treatment plan will then be developed—we won’t bore you with this part; just let the experts handle it.

2. Your Aligners Are Made and Delivered

Using 3D technology, your custom treatment plan will be digitally created once your teeth impressions from the goopy putty have been inputted. Following approval of the digital models, the aligners are made in a production facility.

As soon as you accept treatment, the process begins. It can take up to 3 weeks for some aligner brands to ship you the product. The preliminary impression kits usually take less time to reach your door. 

3. Wear and Replace Your Aligners Accordingly 

You’ll replace your aligner trays every one to three weeks (they’ll be sent to you periodically). For teeth straightening to be effective, you need to wear them for about 20 to 22 hours a day.

Single aligners can only move teeth slightly (1 mm or less), so multiple aligners are needed.

The teeth will slowly move into the correct position with each set of aligners. You’re looking at anywhere between 3 and 24 months to complete the treatment. 

4. Flex That Smile at Day, Keep It Conditioned at Night

Once treatment is complete, a custom retainer is created from a mold of your newly straightened teeth. These nighttime aligners are meant to be worn every night while sleeping to ensure your teeth don’t slowly move back to their original position. 

 

6 Reasons Why Should I Get Clear Aligners

 

1. Get a Straighter Smile Without Visible Braces Comfortably

At-home aligners are practically invisible. With a custom treatment plan, your teeth will move almost imperceptibly to you and others—save for the increase in your smile’s brilliance.

These appliances are almost undetectable when worn on the teeth since the aligners don’t require brackets and metal wires. 

If you have many interactions with others and your smile plays a big role, clear aligners can help maintain your confidence and approachability

Aesthetic dental anomalies have shown to be a strong motive for bullying children, especially affecting their upbringing and social development. That includes braces themselves. So people who suffer from social anxiety and insecurities can take the subtler route with invisible aligners and fix their teeth.

2.  An Affordable and Convenient Option

Straightening teeth was previously both expensive and time-consuming. Fortunately, today’s invisible aligners provide a less expensive alternative.

You don’t have to go anywhere for any procedures. Instead of spending time at the orthodontist’s office, you can get the procedure done in your home—no hassle or time wasted.

3. They Are More Convenient to Use

Unlike traditional braces that restrict your menu options to foods like hard, chewy, and brittle, clear aligners can be taken out while you eat.

4.  Less Risk of Chronic Conditions and Injuries

Your oral and overall health can be negatively affected by misaligned teeth. Overcrowding can result in excessive wear and tear on your enamel since they’re grinding on each other so much. Teeth that protrude can also cause discomfort in your mouth and even lead to speech problems and headaches

Not to mention, misaligned teeth and jaws have been shown to affect mental health, especially in children and teenagers who get bullied for crooked teeth and thus have low levels of confidence and self-esteem. 

On a more positive note, clear aligners treatment has been shown to improve periodontal health significantly. 

5.  Easier to Maintain Proper Dental Hygiene

Clear aligners have been shown to facilitate oral hygiene and reduce the number of appointments and emergency visits

Besides taking out the aligners when you want to eat, removable clear aligners allow you to clean your gums, teeth, and other dental parts thoroughly. 

And, the removable aligners themselves can be cleaned separately, so you won’t have to try and maneuver your toothbrush around delicate wires and brackets.

6.  Reduced treatment times-  Results in as little as 12 Months!

Source

Compared to metal braces, clear aligners may reduce treatment time by half. Clear aligners usually treat your alignment problem in as little as twelve months, while traditional metal braces can take over two years to work.

But only your dentist can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment time estimate based on your alignment issues.

 

 

 

 

 

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Best Clear Aligner Brands: Your Best Options

You’ve learned all you need to know about clear aligners. Now, you might be looking for directions. Where do you go to buy the best invisible braces? In this section, we’ve reviewed the best possible options based on public approval and service. 

1. NewSmile

NewSmile is a pretty recent company founded in early 2020—but they skyrocketed to stardom for their fantastic service. With NewSmile, you can have clear aligner treatment designed remotely and administered from the comfort of your own home.

Pricing$1899/ yr or $83/ mo (As of Jun. 12, 2022)
Night aligners Pricing$2099/yr or $91/mo (As of Jun. 12, 2022)
Treatment Length4 mos-10 mos
TeleDentistryYes
0% Down PaymentAvailable with a monthly plan.
Impression Kit$89
ShippingFront Door Delivery
Impression Kit Free Shipping

Get The Latest Price

Pros

»   NewSmile costs $1,499. Even though this isn't the absolute cheapest option available for teeth alignment in Canada, it still represents thousands of dollars less than braces or Invisalign, as well as nearly $800 less than SmileDirectClub. 

»   You can keep track of your progress with the NewSmile Aligner Monitoring App. 

»   The NewSmile customer satisfaction rating is excellent. Even though they don't have as many customer reviews as some of their competitors, we were able to find more than 100 reviews of their services, most of them positive.

»   If at the end of your treatment, your smile does not match the one in your treatment preview, NewSmile will "work with you to identify the cause, and will help you achieve the results you desired."

Cons

»   You might not be getting the most specialized treatment since they use a team that includes both orthodontists and general dentists.

»   Nighttime-only aligners from NewSmile cost $200 more, even though they’re exactly the same as the all-day aligners.

2. SmilePath

SmilePath is another at-home invisible aligners provider. They’re unique because they make clear aligners financially accessible to anyone, even if their credit score needs some work. 

Simply make an order online and send your molded teeth to them. They’ll evaluate your eligibility and send you image previews for what your teeth might look like at the end of the treatment. Like what you see? They’ll start making your aligners as soon as you approve and ship them to you within a few weeks. 

Pricing$1499 - one time
$84/mo (18 mos)
$234/mo (6 mos)
(As of Jun. 12, 2022)
Night aligners Pricing$1599 - one time
$89/month (18 mos)
$284/month (12 months)
(As of Jun. 12, 2022
Treatment Length6 mos. - 8 mos.
TeleDentistryYes
0% Down PaymentAvailable for an 18-month plan.
$295 for 12-month plan
$299 for Night Aligner 12-month plan

Impression Kit$55
ShippingFREE shipping within Australia
(Up to 3 weeks)

Get The Latest Price

Pros

»   As an additional convenience, SmilePath offers a nighttime option so that you can wear your aligners only at night.

»   The pricing for at-home clear aligners from SmilePath is the lowest available. Additionally, they frequently provide discounts on their website, which further cut their great rates.

»   They have an excellent customer service team that can answer all of your tough questions professionally and politely.

»   They use high-quality plastic aligners produced by supplier Retainer Essix, with over 15 years of industry experience. 

Cons

»   While some of their competitors offer free tooth scanning in their physical offices, SmilePath requires you to make your own molds of your teeth.

»   Although SmilePath aligns your teeth more quickly than braces or Invisalign, it is not the fastest option. Other brands can complete the alignment in only three months, while SmilePath usually takes at least six months.

»   The aligners won't arrive as quickly as others, so you might have to begin your treatment a week or two later compared to other providers.

3. Straight My Teeth

As the lowest price provider, Straight My Teeth makes treatment affordable for a wide range of people without compromising quality. Alongside affordability, at-home clear aligner companies like Straight My Teeth eliminate all in-person checkups, a true godsend during the pandemic. 

Pricing£799 - one time
£110/mo (6 mos) with £339 Downpayment
(Price as of Jun. 12, 2022)
Night aligners Pricing£899 - one time
£125/mo (6 mos) with £399 Downpayment
(Price as of Jun. 12, 2022)
Treatment Length4 mos-8 mos
TeleDentistryYes
0% Down PaymentNo
Impression KitIncluded in one-time price.
£44.99 separately

Shipping(12-14 business days)

Get The Latest Price

Pros

»   Straight My Teeth has the lowest prices on the market by far. For your full treatment, you'll only pay £999 (or less if you catch a sale). The fee also includes one set of aftercare retainers and a whitening kit.

»   Retainer Essix manufactures the plastic for Straight My Teeth aligners, a reputable and established dental supply company.

»   Their customer service staff is consistently praised for their responsiveness and professionalism in online reviews.

»   On par with the industry average, treatment takes an average of 6 months.

Cons

»   You might not be working with the most qualified professional on your case when you visit Straight My Teeth as they have unlicensed dental technicians on staff.

»   Refinements cost an additional £150 if you are unsatisfied with your results at the end of treatment.

4. AlignerCo

AlignerCo is relatively young as far as home aligner companies are concerned. So far, they have flown under the radar in the U.S. and Canada since opening their doors in May 2019. 

Although they have not had any marketing campaigns like SmileDirectClub, they have generated some buzz by offering prices well below the industry standard, quickly establishing themselves as an affordable service.

Pricing$895 - One-time payment which includes Impression kit and a set of Retainers
Night aligners Pricing$1095- one time
Treatment Length4 mos - 8 mos
TeleDentistryYes
0% Down PaymentAvailable with a 12-month plan
Impression Kit$55
ShippingUp to 3 weeks

Get The Latest Price

Pros

»   Everyone can apply for the SmileFlex Easy plan since there is no credit check (although it requires a $345 down payment).

»   Among all the companies offering at-home aligners, AlignerCo's $1,635 sticker price is easily one of the lowest, and sometimes they run promotions that further cut the price.

»   All AlignerCo aligners are made from Essix plastic, a reputable and experienced dental products company.

»   Anyone who does not wish to wear their aligners all day can opt for the Night Only treatment offered by AlignerCo.

»   Customers consistently praise them for their attentive, helpful service.

Cons

»   To begin your treatment, you will need to order an impression kit from AlignerCo since it doesn’t have any physical locations offering free tooth scans.

»   On their website, AlignerCo claims to offer orthodontist-designed treatment plans, but they actually use both orthodontists and dentists. Both are highly qualified to design and oversee your treatment, but if you are sure you want to work with an orthodontist, AlignerCo might not be the best option for you.

»   Compared to some of its competitors, AlignerCo may be a bit slower with delivery and treatment.

»   Their shipping policy is foggy, and their impression kits aren’t eligible for returns.

Some Things to Look Out for With Clear Aligners

Clear aligners can be amazing. But there are some drawbacks, too. We mention them in this section:

They’re Not for Everyone

For starters, clear aligners are not the best option for those with severely crooked or misaligned teeth. In cases where they must be gradually repositioned upward or downward for better alignment with the rest of your mouth, conventional braces get the job done more effectively.

Clear aligners, studies show, we’re also not as effective in producing adequate occlusal contacts (where your teeth meet when your mouth is closed), controlling teeth torque, and retention.

Aligners Require Your Cooperation

The success of clear aligners depends heavily on the patient’s cooperation. You may want to remove them more often than necessary due to their ease of removal. 

To have successful alignment and keep pace with your treatment schedule, your clear aligners should be left in your mouth for at least 22 hours daily for the duration of your treatment. As long as you leave them in, other than for eating or brushing, you can easily stay in control of your progress. 

However, if you have a strong tendency to keep taking them out, traditional metal braces might be better since they cannot be taken out at will.

You’ll Need to Do More Brushing and Flossing

You won’t have to change the details of your oral hygiene routine. You can still use your regular toothbrush, floss, and mouthwash. But you’ll need to use them more frequently—after every meal specifically. 

Imagine wearing clear aligners, and the spinach from lunch is trapped between your teeth for everyone to see. Not only is that a socially lousy look, but if you don’t remove all of the plaque and food particles from your teeth, you’re more likely to develop cavities as they remain there for a longer time.

What to Look Out For When Choosing an Aligner Brands? - Buyer’s Guide

Picking out the right clear aligner brand can be challenging, especially when you consider over 20 different invisible braces companies of the same type of transparent braces. Here are some things to consider when buying an aligner:

Adequate Research

Doing some research first before you buy would be a smart move. You might find out that your dentist can recommend or provide the service at a discounted rate, so ask him/her first.

Treatment Process Should Be Simple

An easy-to-understand treatment plan is extremely important. You’ll want to make sure that your clear aligner brand has a proven track record of successful results but also understands the importance of your time and money. A treatment plan with minimal visits can save you some bucks and some time.

Make Sure They Will Give Revisions If Needed

Not all clear aligners are one-time wear products, so if you’re not getting your teeth aligned to your liking, you can get them adjusted or readjusted. Be sure to ask the brand/office about this detail before you sign up for their service.

Warranty and Money-Back Guarantee

You should check if the brand offered you a money-back guarantee and warranty in case something goes wrong.

Customer Reviews

How Others Rate Them?

Conduct some research on the transparent aligner brands you are interested in. See if their track record is effective or not, read customer reviews, check for unfavorable feedback and, more.

Does The Brand Have Any Unfavorable Feedback?

Stay away from brands that have a lot of unhappy customers voicing their complaints online.

Competitive Price

A lower price tag is always better. But don’t choose an aligner brand based on its price alone. Quality matters more than quantity, so check out which clear aligner brands offer the best combination of quality and low cost.

And for this article, we have researched to find the best product that can help you in your oral treatment.

FAQs On Best Clear Aligners

What are the major distinctions between traditional braces and invisible/clear aligners?

The most crucial difference is that invisible aligners are removable. You can take them out anywhere you want, which means people won’t be able to see your treatment as they would with braces. 

Invisible aligners also allow for a much faster treatment time, about six months to one year, depending on the severity of the situation and how well they have been fixed.

Whereas the orthodontist will connect a metal bracket to each tooth with traditional braces. These brackets are held in place by a metal wire, correcting any misalignment. Because the braces are fastened in position, they move your teeth all of the time. Furthermore, they can utilize orthodontic appliances to repair significant issues.

Are invisible braces safe for your teeth?

In any case, for the most part, they are safe. The appliances can cause some discomfort in your mouth, but it’s not a big deal. Along these lines, if you do have a question about side effects caused by invisible aligners or any other sort of braces, you should ask your dental specialist.

What are Invisible braces costs and average treatment time?

The cost of invisible aligners varies based on your situation. On the off chance that you have a little issue, the treatment time will likely be less than six months. In any case, you might need to wear them for up to a year if you have a severe issue with your teeth.

Conclusion

We’ve looked at four of the best clear aligner brands on the market and found that all offer significant reductions in treatment time compared to traditional braces.

While invisible aligners are not for everyone, they can be an excellent option if your teeth aren’t severely crooked. If you’re looking for a fast, easy way to get your teeth straightened without spending months in braces, then clear aligners may be the perfect choice for you.

From this blog post, you can better understand what they offer without wasting too much time poring over reviews or trying them yourself. So if you want to achieve a beautiful smile in as little as six weeks, then one of these top-rated brands is worth considering.

So don’t wait any longer. Order your best clear aligners today!

 

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. 

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.