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Dental License Options Upon Retirement

October 27, 2022 252

Much of the information provided here can be found on the website of the Dental Board of California,

STEP 1: Determine whether you will continue to practice dentistry, whether for pay or as a volunteer for a non-profit or government organization. Consider whether a job in other dental sectors will require you to maintain a dental license. If uncertain about retirement plans, it is recommended you maintain an inactive license until such time that you determine you will never practice dentistry again.

STEP 2: Review the reduced fee/retired dental license options to determine (1) if you qualify and (2) which will work best for you.

You may be eligible for the Dental Board's reduced fee program if you:

  • Have practiced dentistry in California for 20 years or more
  • Have reached the age of retirement under the federal Social Security Act
  • Customarily provide your services free of charge to any person, organization, or agency. In the event that charges are made, these charges shall be nominal. In no event shall the aggregate of these charges in any single calendar year be in an amount that would render you ineligible for full social security benefits.

If you qualify for the reduced fee, and your license is expired, you are still subject to pay all accrued renewal and delinquency fees before your license will be renewed.

If you qualify for a reduced fee/retired license status, you need to decide if you want your license as a retired active or retired inactive.

If you select retired active license status, you may still offer dental services. However, you must complete 30 hours of continuing education (as of Jan. 1, 2023 and including applicable mandatory courses) every two years, and pay the reduced license renewal fee.

If you select retired inactive status, you can no longer offer dental services, including the prescribing of medication. You must still pay reduced renewal fees, but are exempt from the continuing education requirement.

The reduced fee is one-half the current active license fee. A dentist with an active license also is required to pay the CURES fee.

If you qualify, submit an Application for Reduced Dental License Renewal Fee,

STEP 3: If you do not qualify for the reduced fee/retired status, you can apply to change your license status to inactive. If accepted, you must continue to pay the full biennial license renewal fee.

Application to change license status to Inactive or Active


In order to restore an inactive license to active status, you must complete and submit an application to the board accompanied by evidence that you have completed the required number of hours of approved continuing education within the last two years preceding the application.
The board will inform an applicant within 30 days whether the application is complete and accepted for filing or is deficient and what specific information is required. The board shall decide within 30 days after the filing of a completed application whether the applicant meets the requirements.

Application to change license status to Inactive or Active -


When you have decided that you will never practice dentistry again, you may do either of the following:

  1. Send a letter or email to the board communicating your intent. Ask them to cancel your license. Provide your license number in the communication and/or your wallet license.
  2. Stop paying license renewal fees. License status in the state database will indicate the license has expired.
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