Dentists Ready for National Licensure

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Dental license should be national, say dentistsMost dentists are tired of being tied down by their dental license. In this survey, 86% said they want universal licensure for dentists, while only 14% think things should stay as they are.

“Make credentialed dentists as free to move around in the States as anyone else. That's what America is all about!” declared a retired dentist.

Standards vary by state

  • “Not all state boards are equal. Some states are too easy.” (Mississippi dentist)
  • “Having been a dental student in one state and practicing in another and having been on the board of admissions of a dental school, I find that the standard of care and teaching varies widely. Unless the tests can be sufficiently stringent and the quality of care consistently monitored, I believe
    that ALL of the states should have separate licensing exams.”

Reasons to oppose reciprocity

  • “Many proponents of national reciprocity make the assumption that all dentists have a dental education. Then, it would make sense to have national reciprocity of dental licensure. But here in California, about 20% of dentists have never even attended an accredited dental school. Most dentists in other states are completely unaware of this. Do the other 49 states realize that a person with a very sketchy education in a third-world ‘dental school’ could get a license in California, then practice in all the other states if national reciprocity exists, thus bypassing the assumption that dental education exists before a license is issued?"
  • “It sounds ‘Obama Good’, but the question is deeper than most people think. There are too many dentist who are running from the law to allow national licensure. For 96% of us, there is no problem, but the dental schools know there is a small section of their students who should NEVER graduate nor be given a license to work on the public..” (Arkansas dentist)
  • “Keep out the foreign dental grads… period!” (Virginia dentist)

States’ rights

  • “People have been trying to accomplish this for more than 25 years that I'm aware of. The concept just ignores that licensure is in the hands of the individual states, not any national government or organization.” (Nevada dentist)
  • “Dental school accreditation is national. If a dentist graduates from an accredited school, it makes sense that he should be eligible to practice nationally. On the other hand, this is a further erosion of states' rights, and that is also cause for concern.” (California dentist)

Give us liberty!

  • “Greater freedom never fails to produce better results.” (California dentist)
  • “Make credentialed dentists as free to move around in the States as anyone else. That's what America is all about!” (Retired dentist)
  • “It would lower costs and make it more equal.” (Texas dentist)

Trust the dental schools

  • “Dental schools in the US are credentialed and staffed by a diversity of qualified Dentists and Educators. They allow only those qualified to carry the Doctorate degree. To assume that they have failed, is ridiculous and totally politically motivated. In the past purely territorial. To then require a separate State board ,is not only redundant, but an exercise in political futility. Also; specialists should be qualified by their peers in the particular specialty.” (Texas dentist)
  • “If we manage to graduate from an accredited school, what is the big deal besides regional politics? Such is the reason that needed changes are not possible to make in the good old US of A. Look to Canada for a good role model, not particularly in matters of licensure but in matters of common sense for the good of all. This is not said because I am Canadian. I live in Michigan and I know the difference.” (Michigan dentist)

Licensure by credentials is hard

  • "I am interested in national locum tenens work but am only licensed in Texas. It's a huge expense and paperwork nightmare to try to get credentials in other states.” (Texas dentist)

Not much optimism

  • “It won't happen in my lifetime.” (General dentist)

It’s just logical

  • “Reciprocity by licensure is logical. Multiple board exams is not – certainly not with the mobility we have today. That said, there still needs to be some regulation on a state/local level to protect patients from the occasional charlatan.” (New York dentist)
  • “Once you have regional, it's not a big step to National. In regional, the states are not regulating the education or certification, so why stop there?” (Texas dentist)
  • “Individual state boards as well as regional boards are simply out of date as well as wasteful and redundant. If a person is judged competent once either in dental school or during a board examination, then it should suffice that they should be considered competent everywhere in the country and thus reexamination is simply an attempt at local jurisdictions to place undue as well as unearned pressure to halt freedom of movement!” (Nevada dentist)
  • “Universal licensure is possible today, if each state's licensing board would opt for acceptance of the competent licensing exams given by the various testing agencies.” (Kansas dentist)
  • “I believe the United States should have one national board exam and thereby granting a license to practice anywhere in the US. It just makes sense.” (Nevada dentist)

Hostage to your state

  • “My husband was downsized two years ago, He would like to be able to apply for positions any where to obtain a job, but my license keeps us chained here. Universal licensing would allow for some families to move forward in this economy.” (California dentist)

The ADA has failed dentists

  • “This is my number one gripe against the ADA. If every member would just quit until they enforced national reciprocity then maybe the ADA would get off their @ss and finally do something that the majority of its members want. I WILL NEVER BELONG TO THE ADA WITHOUT NATIONAL RECIPROCITY.” (Indiana dentist)

It’s time

  • “National licensing is way past due.” (New York dental anesthesiologist)
  • “This issue is long overdue for change.” (Ohio orthodontist)
  • “In today’s day and age we are long past the point of trying to argue that one licensure exam is better than another — reciprocity and licensure by credential just make sense. Those who argue against it are living in the stone age.” (Washington orthodontist)

How would national licensure work?

  • “National Reciprocity should be contingent upon having a dental license for a least 10 years with NO paid malpractice lawsuits against you during that time.” (Colorado dentist)
  • “Our system of licensure is archaic and long past being removed. Judging a dentist on the basis of his/her lab work is absurd as most of us never do it in practice. And a one-time event is no measure of capability. A better idea is required residencies preferably for two years.” (Texas dentist)
  • “May want to consider reciprocity after 3 years in 1 state without derogatory action by a state board.” (Virginia periodontist)
  • “As long as the doctor graduated from a US accredited school and showed that they worked for some time in another state.” (California dentist)
  • “A dentist should have a least 5 years practice in good standing prior to being able move from their home state. Just makes sense.” (Kentucky dentist)
  • “It wouldn’t work unless there is standardization among states with national, rotating (travel amongst the states) examiners.” (California dentist)
  • “1) Part of the licensure criteria should be professional ethics exam. 2) One way or the other our future will depend on how far the government will get involved in our profession.” (Illinois dentist)
  • “Healthcare is a network monopolies. Monopolies drive up cost. Tear 'em down.” (Florida dentist)

Barbers, Beauticians and Dentists

  • “Barbers, Beauticians and Dentists are the only people who have state licensure exams where they have to demonstrate clinical skills. For all other doctors, it is assumed that by the time you graduate from school, you already know how to do a filling.” (Texas oral surgeon)
  • “And it should be accomplished with a licensing exam that does not include working on live patients!” (Ohio dentist)

Teeth are the same everywhere

  • “Teeth are teeth, so state restriction is just a violation of free trade. MONOPOLY!!!” (Pennsylvania dentist)
  • “Teeth are the same in every state. If you are a good dentist in one, why not all?” (New Jersey dentist)
  • “Is Dentistry different in the north, south, east and west?..I don't think so!” (Ohio dentist)
  • “People's teeth don't differ by state like, for instance, laws do. I can see state licensure for attorneys, but it's utterly ridiculous for anything medical, including dental. An MD's or DDS's choice of location of anywhere in this country should be his or her own decision. Period!” (Michigan dentist)

It would raise the standard of care

  • “This would permit market forces to work efficiently, and increase availability of dental services, since some dentists may need or want to relocate, and yet still practice. Having to retake state dental licensing board exams may discourage continued practice; especially true for specialists."

Why aren’t dentists treated like physicians?

  • “The physicians have had this for years. We as dentists are way behind on this one.” (California dentist)
  • “Universal licensure is standard in medicine-why not dentistry?"
  • “Where is the AMA on this, do they have reciprocity? If not, then it's another case of dentists not considering themselves physicians of oral health/ doctors.” (California dentist)
  • “Medicine dealt with this issue by having national medical boards part III following graduation. Dentistry needs to follow their lead!” (Orthodontist)
  • “I find it hard to believe that an MD can get a license to practice medicine in any state, and, for example, and appendectomy performed in New York is considered an equivalent procedure to one performed in California. Yet somehow, a two-surface restoration is different depending on what state the procedure is performed. Universal licensure, universal standards, universal education. What's so hard about getting that?!” (Texas orthodontist)

It’s just selfish

  • “Restriction of the ability to practice anywhere is just selfish and wrong. It is an extension of the irrational fear most of us have that someone might do better than we are doing. It is also directly related to the total absence of practice management courses in schools and the disallowing of them as part of a continuing education requirement. It's almost like the ‘powers that be’ are thinking, ‘if we don't give them a business heads up and never teach them how to best run a practice, they won't succeed too rapidly and there will be more for me.’ It's all based on fear, selfishness and greed.” (Pennsylvania dentist)


Note: Survey sample included 289 respondents.

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