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Top 11 General Dentist Certifications

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Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Updated 18 min read

Certifications are important for a general dentist in the job market because they demonstrate to potential employers that the dentist has taken additional steps to improve their skills and knowledge. Certifications can also provide evidence of additional qualifications, such as specialized training or expertise in certain areas. Employers may be more likely to hire a general dentist with certifications, as it shows that they are committed to providing quality patient care and staying current on the latest dental techniques. In addition, certifications can help a general dentist stand out from other applicants and show their commitment to continuing education and professional development.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for General Dentists and explains how they can contribute to a general dentist's career by providing additional credentials and specialized knowledge.

What are General Dentist Certifications?

General dentist certification is a voluntary process that demonstrates a dentist's commitment to providing quality care. It involves the completion of an approved continuing education program, passing an examination, and meeting other requirements established by the American Dental Association (ADA). This certification helps dentists demonstrate their expertise in areas such as diagnostics, treatment planning, restorative dentistry, periodontics, endodontics, and oral surgery. In addition to demonstrating their knowledge and skills in these areas, general dentist certification also helps dentists stay current with advances in dental technology and techniques. By earning this certification, dentists can show patients that they are committed to providing the highest level of care possible. Patients who see a certified general dentist can be confident that they are receiving quality care from someone who is knowledgeable and experienced in all aspects of general dentistry.

Pro tip: Make sure to research the certification requirements of your state before pursuing general dentist certification. Each state has different requirements and you want to make sure you are meeting the necessary criteria for successful certification.

Related: What does a General Dentist do?

Top 11 General Dentist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to General Dentists today.

1. American Board of General Dentistry (ABGD)

The American Board of General Dentistry (ABGD) is a voluntary credentialing organization that provides certification to general dentists who demonstrate excellence in their field. The ABGD is the only certifying board recognized by the American Dental Association (ADA).

To become certified by the ABGD, a dentist must complete an extensive evaluation process that includes passing both written and clinical examinations. This process typically takes between two and three years to complete.

In order to be eligible for certification, a dentist must have graduated from an accredited dental school, possess a valid state license to practice dentistry, and have completed at least two years of postgraduate education in general dentistry. Furthermore, they must also pass both written and clinical exams administered by the ABGD.

The cost of becoming certified by the ABGD depends on several factors including whether or not you are already an ADA member, how many exams you need to take, and other administrative fees associated with the process. Generally speaking, it can range anywhere from $1,000-$2,500 depending on your individual situation.

2. American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD)

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) is a professional organization for dental professionals who specialize in cosmetic dentistry. It is dedicated to advancing the art and science of comprehensive oral care, with a focus on esthetics, through education, research, advocacy, leadership, communication and service.

It takes approximately two years to become an accredited member of the AACD. To become an accredited member one must first complete the Accreditation Program which includes: completing all four levels of study in the AACD's Accreditation Program; passing a written examination; submitting five cases for review by a panel of experienced AACD Accredited members; and successfully completing an oral examination.

In order to become an accredited member of the AACD one must meet certain criteria such as having at least three years' experience in cosmetic dentistry or related fields; having completed at least 200 hours of continuing education courses related to cosmetic dentistry; having passed a written examination; and having submitted five cases for review by a panel of experienced AACD Accredited members.

The cost for becoming an accredited member varies based on the level of accreditation being sought. The cost for Level I accreditation is $2,000 USD while Level II accreditation costs $4,000 USD. Additionally, there are additional fees associated with taking and passing examinations as well as submitting case reviews.

3. American Dental Association (ADA)

The American Dental Association (ADA) is a professional organization of dentists dedicated to promoting oral health, advancing the profession of dentistry, and supporting the members of the dental community. Founded in 1859, it is the oldest and largest national dental association in the world. The ADA's mission is to help its members succeed by providing education, research, advocacy, and leadership.

It takes approximately 3-4 months to become an ADA member after submitting your application. To become a member you must have graduated from an accredited dental school and be licensed to practice dentistry in your state. You will also need to submit proof of licensure and provide a copy of your diploma or transcript from your dental school.

The cost for joining the ADA varies depending on which type of membership you choose. The basic membership fee is $250 per year plus applicable taxes and fees. Additional fees may apply based on additional services you choose such as access to the ADA’s online library or discounts on continuing education courses.

In addition to annual dues, members are required to pay an initiation fee when they join the ADA for the first time. This fee ranges from $50-$100 depending on which type of membership you choose.

4. Academy of General Dentistry (AGD)

The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) is a professional association of general dentists dedicated to providing quality dental care and oral health education to the public. AGD members are committed to staying current in their profession through continuing education and lifelong learning.

To become a member of the AGD, you must have a valid license to practice dentistry in the United States or Canada and be in good standing with your state or provincial dental board. You must also complete at least 500 hours of approved continuing education credits within seven years prior to applying for membership.

In addition, you must pass two examinations: The Fellowship Examination and the Mastership Examination. The Fellowship Examination tests your knowledge on general dentistry topics such as dental materials, clinical procedures, pharmacology, and pathology. The Mastership Examination tests your knowledge on more advanced topics such as periodontics, endodontics, prosthodontics, orthodontics, oral surgery, radiology, and anesthesia.

The cost of joining AGD is $495 for new members. This includes the cost of both examinations as well as the first year’s dues. After that initial fee, annual dues are $235 per year for active members and $125 per year for retired members.

Once you have completed all requirements for membership in AGD, you will receive an official certificate from the organization recognizing your achievement as a Fellow or Master of the Academy of General Dentistry.

5. International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI)

The International Congress of Oral Implantologists (ICOI) is a professional organization that provides education, training, and certification in the field of oral implantology. The ICOI was founded in 1972 and is the world's largest dental implant organization with over 20,000 members worldwide.

The ICOI offers several levels of certification that can be obtained through its educational programs. The most basic level is the Diplomate of the ICOI (DICOI). This requires completion of a three-year program which includes didactic and clinical training, as well as successful completion of an exam. After achieving DICOI status, one can move on to higher levels such as Fellow of the ICOI (FICOI) or Master of the ICOI (MICOI).

In order to become certified by the ICOI, one must first complete a three-year program consisting of didactic and clinical training. After completing this program, applicants must then pass an exam in order to receive their certification. The cost for this program varies depending on the individual institution offering it; however, it typically ranges from $2,000-$4,000 USD.

Once certified by the ICOI, individuals are eligible to practice oral implantology within their chosen field. They are also eligible to join other professional organizations related to oral implantology such as the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) or International Association for Dental Research (AADR).

Overall, becoming certified by the International Congress of Oral Implantologists is a great way to gain recognition in your field and demonstrate your commitment to excellence in oral implantology.

6. American College of Prosthodontists (ACP)

The American College of Prosthodontists (ACP) is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the specialty of prosthodontics. The ACP was founded in 1970 and is the only prosthodontic specialty college recognized by the American Dental Association. The ACP provides education, research and advocacy for its members, who are certified specialists in prosthodontics.

In order to become a member of the ACP, an individual must first complete an accredited post-doctoral program in prosthodontics. This typically requires three years of full-time study after dental school. After completion of this program, individuals must then pass both written and oral examinations administered by the ACP Board of Directors.

The cost for membership in the ACP varies depending on the type of membership desired. Full membership costs $1,000 per year while associate membership costs $400 per year. There may also be additional fees associated with taking the board exams or attending conferences and meetings sponsored by the ACP.

Overall, becoming a member of the American College of Prosthodontists requires a significant commitment in terms of time and money but can provide numerous benefits such as access to continuing education courses, networking opportunities with other members, and recognition as a specialist in prosthodontics.

7. American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID)

The American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) is a professional organization that promotes excellence in implant dentistry and provides educational resources to its members. AAID was founded in 1951 and is the oldest and largest dental implant organization in the world.

To become an AAID member, you must have completed a minimum of 50 hours of continuing education in implant dentistry within the past five years, as well as at least one year of experience with implant dentistry. You must also pass an exam administered by the AAID to demonstrate your knowledge and skills in implant dentistry. The exam consists of two parts: a written examination and a practical clinical examination.

The cost for membership varies depending on your qualifications, but generally ranges from $200-$400 per year. There is also an application fee of $50-$100. Once you become an AAID member, you will receive access to exclusive resources such as webinars, publications, research studies, and discounts on conferences and other events related to implant dentistry.

In addition to becoming an AAID member, there are several other ways you can increase your knowledge about implant dentistry such as attending continuing education courses or joining study clubs or online forums dedicated to the subject matter.

8. American Board of Orthodontics (ABO)

The American Board of Orthodontics (ABO) is a professional organization dedicated to promoting excellence in orthodontic care. It is the only specialty board recognized by the American Dental Association and its members are considered experts in their field. The ABO offers certification for orthodontists who have completed additional training beyond dental school and passed rigorous examinations.

To become certified by the ABO, an orthodontist must complete a three-year postgraduate program in orthodontics, pass a written exam, and submit clinical cases for review. The process typically takes two to three years to complete, depending on the individual’s progress.

Once all requirements are met, the candidate will be eligible to take the ABO Clinical Examination. This is a two-day examination that tests the candidate’s knowledge and skills in diagnosis, treatment planning, and treatment execution of various cases. After successful completion of this examination, the candidate will receive their ABO Certification.

The cost of becoming certified by the ABO varies depending on the individual's circumstances. Generally speaking, it can range from $2,000-$4,000 for tuition and examination fees.

9. American Association of Endodontists (AAE)

The American Association of Endodontists (AAE) is a professional organization dedicated to advancing the art and science of endodontics, which is the branch of dentistry that focuses on diagnosing and treating diseases and injuries to the dental pulp. The AAE provides its members with educational resources, advocacy, research opportunities, and networking opportunities.

Membership in the AAE requires an application process that takes approximately 8-10 weeks for approval. To begin the application process, applicants must submit a completed application form along with their CV or resume, proof of licensure, three letters of recommendation from colleagues who are already members of the AAE, and a $400 non-refundable processing fee. Once approved for membership, annual dues are currently set at $395 per year.

The AAE also offers various levels of membership such as student memberships ($50), associate memberships ($100), retired memberships ($95), international memberships ($250), and life/honorary memberships (no cost).

In addition to providing its members with access to educational resources and networking opportunities, the AAE also hosts an annual meeting where its members can participate in continuing education courses and workshops.

10. Academy of Operative Dentistry (AOD)

The Academy of Operative Dentistry (AOD) is an international professional organization that promotes excellence in the practice of operative dentistry. AOD provides its members with educational resources, continuing education opportunities, and a platform for sharing knowledge and best practices. It also works to advance the field of operative dentistry through research and advocacy.

Membership in AOD is open to all qualified practitioners who are actively engaged in the practice of operative dentistry. To become a member, applicants must submit an application form along with proof of their qualifications such as a copy of their dental license or certification.

The cost of membership varies depending on the type of membership chosen. There are three levels available: student, associate, and full member. Student memberships are free while associate memberships cost $75 per year and full memberships cost $150 per year.

In addition to paying the annual fee, applicants must also complete a series of online courses in order to be eligible for full membership. These courses cover topics such as restorative materials, caries management, esthetic dentistry, endodontics, periodontics, and oral surgery. The courses typically take between 6-12 months to complete depending on how much time is devoted to studying each week.

Once all requirements have been met and the application is approved by the AOD board of directors, applicants will receive their official certificate confirming their membership status in the academy.

11. World Clinical Laser Institute (WCLI)

World Clinical Laser Institute (WCLI) is an educational institute that provides comprehensive laser training and certification programs for medical professionals. It offers a variety of courses ranging from basic to advanced levels, as well as continuing education credits. The courses are designed to provide students with the knowledge and skills necessary to safely and effectively use lasers in medical practice.

The length of each course varies depending on the type of program chosen, but most take between one and four weeks to complete. Students can choose from a variety of different formats including online, in-person, or hybrid courses.

To get certified through WCLI, students must first meet the eligibility requirements established by the organization. These include having a valid medical license or certification in their respective field, as well as completing all required coursework and passing any examinations associated with the program they are enrolling in. Once these requirements have been met, students can apply for their certification through WCLI’s website.

The cost of WCLI’s laser training and certification programs vary depending on the type of course chosen. Generally speaking, prices range from $500-$3,000 USD for individual courses and up to $10,000 USD for comprehensive packages that include multiple courses.

Do You Really Need a General Dentist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on your individual circumstances. Generally, a general dentist certificate is not necessary to practice dentistry in most states; however, some states may require a general dentist certificate as part of the licensing process. Additionally, if you are interested in pursuing additional education or specializations within the field of dentistry, it may be beneficial to obtain a general dentist certificate.

For those who do not require a general dentist certificate, there are still several educational and career paths available in the field of dentistry. One such path is dental hygiene, which involves helping patients maintain good oral health by providing preventive services such as teeth cleaning and fluoride treatments. Another path is dental assisting, which involves assisting dentists with various procedures such as taking x-rays and preparing materials for treatment. Finally, many people choose to pursue careers in orthodontics or endodontics by completing specialized courses or programs offered at universities or technical schools.

In conclusion, whether or not you need a general dentist certificate depends on your specific situation and goals within the field of dentistry. If you are looking to pursue additional education or specializations within the field of dentistry, obtaining a general dentist certificate may be beneficial. However, if you are looking for an entry-level position in the field of dentistry that does not require additional education or certifications, then a general dentist certificate may not be necessary.

Related: General Dentist Resume Examples

FAQs About General Dentist Certifications

1. What is a general dentist certification?

Answer: A general dentist certification is awarded to dentists who have completed a certain amount of training and passed a board examination. This certification allows the dentist to practice in their respective state.

2. How long does it take to become certified as a general dentist?

Answer: The length of time required for certification varies depending on the individual and the type of program they are enrolled in, but typically it takes around 4 years of post-secondary education followed by an additional 1-2 year residency program to become certified as a general dentist.

3. What types of courses are required for general dentistry certification?

Answer: Courses typically include dental anatomy, physiology, pathology, pharmacology, radiology, clinical sciences and patient management. Additionally, many states require continuing education courses each year in order to maintain licensure.

4. Are there any specializations available within the field of general dentistry?

Answer: Yes, there are several specialty areas available including endodontics (root canal therapy), orthodontics (alignment of teeth), periodontics (gum disease), oral surgery and prosthodontics (replacement of missing teeth).

5. How much does it cost to become certified as a general dentist?

Answer: Costs vary depending on the type of program you enroll in and your location; however, tuition alone can range from $10,000-$50,000 per year for four years plus additional fees such as licensing examinations and malpractice insurance.

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Brenna Goyette

Expert Verified

Brenna is a certified professional resume writer, career expert, and the content manager of the ResumeCat team. She has a background in corporate recruiting and human resources and has been writing resumes for over 10 years. Brenna has experience in recruiting for tech, finance, and marketing roles and has a passion for helping people find their dream jobs. She creates expert resources to help job seekers write the best resumes and cover letters, land the job, and succeed in the workplace.

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