A dental license is the first of many licenses, permits, certificates and registrations necessary to practice dentistry as well as to own and operate a dental practice. There are several ways to obtain a dental license in California. This chapter of the toolkit provides information on the requirements, application instructions and links for the most common pathways dental school graduates can take to obtain their California dental license.
Licensure by Clinical Exam (WREB and ADEX)
Licensure by Portfolio
Licensure by Residency
All three licensure pathways require:
Submit a completed WREB application or ADEX application to the board.
Submit to the board completed Request for Portfolio Candidate Identification Number and Law and Ethics Examination Eligibility and Determination of Licensure Eligibility.
Submit a completed application to the board.
Furnish a full set of classifiable fingerprints on fingerprint cards provided by the board or electronically through a Live Scan service (only available in California).
Successfully complete the California Law and Ethics Examination
Provide satisfactory evidence of having graduated from a CODA-accredited or CDAC-accredited dental school.
Provide satisfactory evidence of having graduated from a board-approved dental school.
Provide satisfactory evidence of having passed, within the five years prior to the date of submitting the license application, a clinical and written examination administered by WREB.
Provide satisfactory evidence of having passed after Nov. 15, 2019, the following sections of the ADEX examination: diagnostic skills, periodontal scaling, endodontic, prosthodontic and restorative examination. Original or duplicate success card is required. Photocopies are not acceptable.
Submit a completed portfolio to the board within 90 days of graduation.
Submit a completed Certification of Clinical Residency Completion to the board within two years of completing a CODA-approved general practice residency or other board-approved accrediting body.
Submit the Application for Issuance of License and Registration of Place of Practice (will be mailed to the applicant upon completion of all other licensure requirements) and applicable prorated licensing fee.
Provide a letter from WREB stating that the applicant has not failed the WREB clinical examination within the last five years.
Provide satisfactory evidence of not failing the ADEX examination after Nov. 15, 2019.
A letter signed by the applicant that certifies the applicant has never taken the ADEX examination is acceptable proof.
Submit Application for Issuance of License and Registration of Place of Practice (will be mailed to the applicant upon completion of all other licensure requirements).