How to become a dentist in Ontario (2023)
Becoming a dentist doesn’t happen overnight, as you will need to take years of learning and commitment to be certified in this regimented career. It remains a popular career despite the decline in toot diseases, as oral health grows in importance. Research shows a link between good oral hygiene and a decreased risk of numerous conditions.
To practice as a dentist in Ontario, you will need to have completed a university degree in dentistry, received a certificate of completion from the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB), and be a member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO).
There are currently 10 accredited dental schools in Canada. Luckily, two of them are located in Ontario, Canada: the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario in London and the University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry.
A career in dentistry takes time to complete, which is why you will need to consider if it is right for you before training.
One key trait for a successful dentist is the high level of flexibility in their personality, as unlike the typical 9-5 job, you’ll likely be setting up your own practice or group practice, which gives you the independence and opportunity to set your own hours.
How to become a dentist in Ontario
Dentists are essentially doctors of the oral region. They are tasked with diagnosing disease, decay, and injuries, identifying the proper course of treatment and prevention, performing oral surgery, designing bridgework and dentures, and overseeing and educating dental hygienists and assistants.
Dental work is for professionals, which is why the field is highly regulated in Ontario, Canada, so operations are limited to licensed dentists.
First, you will need to obtain an undergraduate degree, as dental schools are not direct entry programs, meaning you will need to have completed 2, 3, or 4 years of undergraduate university studies before being eligible to apply to dental school.
It is also a good idea to start getting practical experience in the field while completing your bachelor’s degree. You can join a dental-related student organization. You can also job shadow or volunteer, as this will give you more exposure on your upcoming career path.
After completing your first degree, you can now get your dental degree from any university in the world. However, your path will differ depending on if the dental program you attended is accredited by the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO).
Graduates from an accredited university only need to take the written exam and the Objective Structured Clinical Examination to obtain a certificate of completion from the National Dental Examining Board of Canada.
Graduates from non-accredited universities will need to assess Fundamental Knowledge (AFK) and complete an accredited Qualifying/Degree Completion Program.
One other requirement for admission is the Dental Aptitude Test administered by the Canadian Dental Association or CDA.
DAT evaluates general academic ability, 2D and 3D visual perception, manual dexterity, and how well the applicant comprehends scientific information.
While the submission of DAT scores is a requisite component of the admission process of every Canadian dental school, these test results are just one of the factors evaluated. The DAT itself is not an actual dental school application.
Finally, before you can be listed as a dentist in Ontario, you must register with the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO).
In brief, the process to becoming a dentist in Ontario is as follows;
- Obtain your first degree
- Obtain a dental degree
- Acquire certification by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB)
- Register with RCDSO
How long does it take to become a dentist in Ontario?
Becoming a certified dentist in Ontario takes a huge time commitment on your path, as you will spend a minimum of 4-5 years at dental school, so it is important to ensure that the career path is right for you before beginning.
You also need to consider the need to take a first degree, which makes the most common length of 8 years of study.
The timelines above do not take the time to become a specialist into consideration. If you want to focus on fields like an oral surgeon, orthodontist, or endodontist, you can anticipate another 3-4 years of additional training, depending on the specialty.
Also, you will need to consider your financial commitment to becoming a dentist in Ontario.
Tuition fees continue to rise, and you will most likely need to obtain student loans to finish your degree. Before proceeding, it is advised that you learn what the tuition fees are for the dental schools you want to apply to. Research what financial support options are available to you through personal savings, scholarships, bursaries, or federal and provincial student loans.
How to become a member of RCDSO
To become a practicing dentist in Ontario, Canada, you must be a licensed member of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO).
The RCDSO has set some strict rules to getting their license, and it includes;
- Obtaining a university degree in dentistry must be at least 4 years of dental study.
- Receiving a certificate of completion from the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB)
- Complete the RCDSO’s Jurisprudence and Ethics course.
- Be a Canadian citizen, permanent resident, or have the authorization by the Government of Canada to work as a healthcare professional in Canada.
How to get an NDEB certificate?
Before you can receive your license to practice as a dentist in Ontario, you must have completed the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) examinations.
The examinations test the competencies of a beginning dental practitioner in Canada, which include understanding dental concepts and theories, their applications, and the ethical and legal requirements of the dental profession.
How much do dentists earn in Ontario?
As a dentist in Ontario, you might not need to work 9-5 schedules to make your money, as most licensed practitioners take to private practice.
Universities, public health facilities, clinics, and hospitals hire other industry professionals. Some serve in the national armed forces, whereas others work for federal, provincial, or local health authorities.
The global demand for dentists is growing consistently, and Ontario is no exception as you can be looking to earn between $39,000 up to $292,000 annually.