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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Student Population: 59,659
International Student Tuition: $58,804 per year undergrad
Acceptance Rate: 53%
International Students: 25%
Year Founded: 1908
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.