How can a Foreign Trained Dentist in USA Practice from ADA

A foreign trained dentist in USA is licensed to practice differently by each state’s regulations in the United States. Dr. Fox wrote an article titled “How internationally trained dentists are licensed to practice in the U.S.” on the American Dental Association website back in 2008. A lot has changed since the article was written, but I thought it’s still mostly relevant so I wanted to share it with you. She reflects on the different ways foreign dentists in USA can become licensed in the states, and also what to be careful of. It may seem difficult, but Dr. Fox quickly sums up the general outline for an international dentist in USA to become an American trained dentist.

HelpThe Path for a Foreign Trained Dentist in USA to Practice 

Dr. Fox writes that a foreign trained dentist in USA receives credit for the education received in his/her country:

Internationally trained dentists can complete a U.S.-based predoctoral program and earn a DDS or DMD degree, sometimes in less time than it takes U.S. students. There are many predoctoral programs in the U.S. that offer advanced standing for international dentists, meaning students can receive credit for some of their dental education obtained in another country. A DDS or DMD degree from an accredited predoctoral program satisfies the educational requirements for licensure in all states. Individual program requirements vary.

She also writes how some states have different options:

In some states, a general practice residency or other advanced education program (advanced education in general dentistry or specialty training) is accepted in lieu of a dental degree or certificate of completion. Minnesota is another unique case, as the state dental board determines educational credentials of international dentists on a case-by-case basis.

Finally, Dr. Fox writes of a third option that is exclusive for foreign trained dentists:

International Dentist Programs offer yet another alternative to dentists trained outside the U.S. Separate from other dental education programs, International Dentist Programs grant either DDS or DMD degrees or a certificate of completion. However, earning a certificate may only satisfy licensure eligibility requirements in the state where the program is located.

Foreign Trained Dentist in USA

Ultimately the current dental system is set in place so that a foreign trained dentist in USA receives the same education as an American trained dentist. Dr. Fox provides different options for an international dentist in USA that can be chosen for the best fitting scenario. It’s a difficult path, but dentists on average make over $150,000 per year in the U.S..

View Dr. Fox’s original article

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  1. Winelly Florentino January 7, 2020 at 5:34 pm - Reply

    My cousin is a dentist in the Dominican republic and would like to practice in new jersey. How can she go about it?

    • Sherry Astorga January 8, 2020 at 6:24 am - Reply

      Hi Winelly! You can directly check this with New Jersey State Board of Dentistry for their dental licensure requirements and further details on their process: here

  2. Danny Tangalin October 15, 2019 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Danny Tangalin, I’am also a foreign trained dentist from the Philippines, a US citizen. I came to US as a Physical Therapist. I’ve been in the practice of PT for a while but I still miss my dental practice. Just renewed my Philippine dental and PT license last week when I went home. In this current year 2019, is there any change in the Dental board/law that would expedite our ability to perform our dental profession in the USA? ‘Cuz every year I hear something different.

    • Christ Barcenas October 15, 2019 at 8:56 pm - Reply

      Hi there Danny,

      The process of becoming a licensed dentist in the US is still the same. You will still have to graduate from an accredited program to be eligible to apply for a US dental license. You can do this by joining either one of the ff: the traditional 4-year DDS program, an advanced standing program or a residency program.

      Hope this helps but feel free to email us if you have further questions on this!


  3. Mayor September 12, 2019 at 9:28 am - Reply

    I am a Nigerian trained dentist willing to get into get into the residency program. I need more information about how to get into it and which specialty accepts international Dentist more. Thanks

  4. Norberto Navarro August 27, 2019 at 9:41 am - Reply

    Hello, I’m Norberto,U.S citizen, foreign dentist from the Philippines, I’ve been in this field for less thirty years and I want to continue my profession here in the US but I don’t know how and where to start. Has anyone could possibly help or give some advise? Thank you in advance, and I really appreciate it.

    • Christ Barcenas August 27, 2019 at 8:07 pm - Reply

      Hi there Noberto,

      Thanks for leaving a comment! In order for you to be able to become a licensed dentist in the US, you will have to graduate from an accredited program. You can do this by joining an advanced standing program or a residency program. Once you’ve completed the program, you would be eligible to take the licensure examination and then practice dentistry after.

      I know you may find this overwhelming, but if you need more information and if you want to know the bigger picture of the whole process, you can check out this guide book written by Dr. Alyssa Marshall herself.


  5. Amalia Mendez March 7, 2019 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Hello Kevin Marshall I have a question for you. Hopefully you could help me. As a USA citizen, I am trained dentist with a specialty in children dentistry in Mexico. What would be my next step to becomes licensed in California? I would love for you to guide and advise me. Thank you so much

    • Christ Barcenas March 7, 2019 at 8:58 pm - Reply

      Hi Amalia, we sent you an email regarding this. Thanks!

  6. Bill Nguyen February 26, 2019 at 8:45 am - Reply

    My fiancé is a trained dentist in Sai Gon Vietnam, she is currently working at a hospital and her own dental clinic. She would like to learn what she can do to practice dental care in state like Minnesota. Thanks.

  7. MAJID July 17, 2017 at 5:35 pm - Reply

    I’m an European and also Iranian dentist with over 17 years of experience. What are my gateways of entering US dentist.I am green card citizen.
    Could somebody help me.


  8. nayda dagatan July 13, 2017 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    i was a public dentist for ten yrs in the philippines, i am a permanente resident here in san francisco. i wish to work as a dentist or even a dental hygeniest in other state where they will credit my experience and my education. i have heared other state aRE accepting even as hygeniest like ive heard in florida. will you let me know if i could do this in other states???

    nayda dagatan

  9. Gerry Catalan May 25, 2017 at 3:50 am - Reply


    I not sure if I am in the right forum, however, please allow me to introduce myself and what I do back home.

    I am a dentist in the Philippines and soon migrating in the US with an approved petition from the US immigration office.

    I am wondering if anyone could assist me the possibility of starting out and applying for the dental hygienist in Minnesota if and when I will be instructed to leave for the US by the immigration.

    And, the chances of working as a dental hygienist (or, teaching dentistry) in Minnesota.

    In addition to the aforementioned, I also attend to children with special health needs (e.g. those with autism, down’s syndrome et al) and perform the basic gestural and sign language usually designed for persons with hearing impairment to communicate to these children and in a regular dental setting, the non – pharmacological approach or without being sedated for learning outcomes taking place and acceptance of treatment/s with their next dental visits.

    And, having completed my Masteral Degree in Special Education for Children with Special Needs years ago for the same purpose.

    Do you think I have the chance landing for a job at the same time considering a foreign graduate and with a post polio disability but mobile?

    Thank you very much.


  10. Sondus March 30, 2017 at 5:25 am - Reply

    Hello, First of all I wanna thank you for your efforts writing this information.

    I would like to ask a question, and I would appreciate if you can provide me with a helpful information. I’m a non-european dentis resident in Portugal, I had a português Dental Master (Dental Diploma) and I’m doing my Master in Orthodontics now in Portugal also. I” engaged to an American citizen and I” gonna live there within a year. I want to know what I have to do to get a permission to practice Orthodontics in USA?

    Many thanks in advance for your cooperation.

    Best regards,

    • Kevin Marshall April 1, 2017 at 10:27 pm - Reply

      Hi there. Portugal is a wonderful country and I’ve heard great things about the medicine practiced there.

      Overall, your main options are to get into an Ortho residency program in the US directly (thereby skipping an advanced standing program), or getting into an advanced standing program first, then continuing on to an ortho residency in the US. Obviously the first choice would be idea as it would be way less time required, however, getting into ortho residencies in the US can be difficult as an internationally trained dentist. Still, it may be worth a try for you, if you can demonstrate solid experience.

      Make sure to checkout our book which goes into all this much deeper:

  11. sarah February 7, 2017 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    I asking which States in which completion of an accredited advanced dental education program ( ortho ) Satisfy the educational requirement for licensure and substitute the 2 academic years of general dental clinical training DDS or DMD. for dentist graduates from a dental college or school outside of the United States or Canada:

  12. Gabriella January 10, 2017 at 4:36 am - Reply

    I’m an orthodontist graduated in Venezuela after taking part 1 and 2 of NDEB exams I think my best bet would be trying to get into an ortho residency, does anyone has experience or info in wich state and program could I do thi

  13. honeylin November 19, 2016 at 10:39 pm - Reply

    I am a foreign trained dentist from non accredited dental school. I would like to know which states accept residency programs AEGD, GPR or other specialty program as a way to get a dental license?

    What is the difference between international program and advanced standing programs?

  14. dominique November 9, 2016 at 1:06 pm - Reply


    I am a dentist that graduated form an accredited university in Ecuador. I want to know if there are any states where i could practice by getting a specialty degree in ortho for example and taking the NBDE.

  15. Gaurav August 23, 2016 at 10:08 am - Reply

    I’m an Indian dentist with over four years of experience. What are my gateways of entering us.

    • Maria Menut August 15, 2019 at 2:52 pm - Reply

      I’m a Portuguese dentist work in UK.but wanted to move USA.what do I need to do?

      • Christ Barcenas August 15, 2019 at 11:31 pm - Reply

        Hi there Maria, in the US, you’ll only be eligible to apply for a dentist licensure if you graduate from an accredited program. Having said that, you can either join an advanced standing program or a residency program and then apply for a license thereafter.

        If you want to learn more about the bigger picture of the whole process, I believe our guide book that Dr. Alyssa Marshall has written will be useful to you. You can get it here.

        Hope this helps, thanks!

  16. rizwan August 22, 2016 at 11:48 pm - Reply

    I am Pakistani trained dentist guide me how can I practice in us.

  17. Ammar August 22, 2016 at 10:54 pm - Reply

    Hi there.. first of all I would like to commend your efforts in helping overseas dentists. Kudos. Coming to my situation, I have completed a fellowship in Orthodontics from Pakistan. Would I have to go through the same route as a general dentist to start practicing in the States or do I have other options available?

    • Kevin Marshall September 20, 2016 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      Great question. You may be able to get into an ortho residency directly instead of having to go through and advanced standing program. It’s a lot tougher, but possible for sure.

  18. Amira Kandil June 23, 2016 at 3:49 pm - Reply

    What is the difference between the advanced standing program and the international dentist program? I thought they were the same thing. Also, as a foreign trained dentist, I am interested in applying to dental school and complete the full four years if that gets my foot in the door sooner than IDP . I’m only in the beginning of my research but so far the school websites that I visited specify that undergrad work should be at an accredited university. Those same schools also offer IDP- so why is it that we can’t apply as a first year student.. but we can apply for IDP (third year)? Am I misunderstanding the process?
    In case there are schools that accept foreign dental degrees into their 4 year programs that I have yet to come across.. are there any that are known?
    Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you!

  19. Noor May 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm - Reply

    What other options I have to practice dentistry in U.S. Than advanced standing program? Does the residency program allow me to work and where can I find the programs available ?

    • Kevin Marshall May 6, 2016 at 11:05 am - Reply

      There really aren’t many residency programs that allow you to begin practicing immediately. There are a few states (Florida is one that comes to mind) which allows a few select candidates to practice without going through an advanced standing program. Nonetheless, it’s still rare for a residency program like this to accept non-accredited, non-U.S. dental graduates into their programs.

      • Taís Torezan July 13, 2017 at 8:19 pm - Reply

        Please, is it possible to get a list of the states that except practice through residency? thank you

  20. Sharon January 19, 2015 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    How about U.S. Citizen Europe trained dentist? Is acceptance rate for U.S advanced standing for international dentists very low? Thank you so much.

    • Kevin Marshall January 20, 2015 at 10:03 am - Reply

      The only real advantage that U.S. Citizens trained abroad have is that they don’t have to worry about dealing with immigration issues. Beyond that, if you’ve been trained outside of the U.S. or Canada (for the most part), an Advanced Standing Program is likely your best bet. As you mentioned, acceptance rates continue to be very competitive.

  21. Dr. Alyssa January 7, 2015 at 10:55 am - Reply

    For Texas you can do a residency program or the advanced standing program. Residency programs are much more competitive than advanced standing program. I think both of you guys (Jose and Peace) will find the guide book I wrote helpful – The International Dentist’s Guide to Obtaining a US Dental License

    • Louie April 14, 2017 at 2:19 am - Reply

      Dr. Alyssa how can I read your guide book? Can it be accessed online? I would like to discuss my situation with you if at all possible. Thank you.

  22. Jose De Jesus Rodriguez December 30, 2014 at 6:43 pm - Reply

    I am a U.S. Citizen but im a Mexican Trained Dentist. I would like to know what steps to take into becoming a Licensed Dentist in Texas

  23. Peace May 19, 2014 at 10:36 am - Reply

    I am a Nigerian trained dentist. I intend to get into the residency programme for dentistry. Please I may I go about this? Many thanks.

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