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Washington State Dental Association

One Member's Take on Dental Licensure Exams

Dr. Joe Vaughn, University of Washington general practice resident and member of the WSDA Leadership Institute, recently gave his take on dental licensure exams as a guest blogger for the ADA's New Dentist Blog.

"People can’t stop talking about dental licensure," he says. "What has been dentistry’s elephant in the room for so long has finally grown tired of being ignored and overlooked and made excuses for."

His first concern? Regional variations in exam standards across the country.

"In Alabama, I took the Central Regional Dental Testing Service exam, or CRDTS. Which you would think is the same exam just given by a different company. But actually, the exams have varying degrees of differences and nuances," he explains. "For CRDTS, we perform the endodontic section on plastic teeth. In WREB, it’s on natural teeth that students must hunt down on their own. In CRDTS, there is a fixed prosth section where you cut three types of crowns on mannequin teeth. In WREB, there is no such section. In CRDTS, the ideal class II lesion that you are supposed to find would likely be rejected in WREB."

His next concern? The continued use of live patient examination. 

"We are professionals," he says. "And evidence-based practice is very much a part of what we do and who we are. I believe the evidence supporting live patient exams is just not there. We have dental schools. We have vigorous entry processes. We have two National Board Exams. We have two full years of clinical practice under the supervision of experts in the field. To say that none of this matters without a licensing exam is to call everything into question."

To learn more about Dr. Vaughn's opinions on dental licensure exam reform, read his full post

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