Practicing Dentistry in Canada: CIDE courses through Auspak

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  • Canada is an interesting country compared to most places immigrants come from.
    • The area is the 2nd largest in the world but the population is ranked #38
    • Opportunities are that much less than most places immigrants come from
    • Population growth is highly immigration dependent
  • The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB) is the organization responsible for establishing and maintaining a national standard of competence of dentists in Canada.


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Coming from a dental institution recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada / CDAC. (Generally from Canada, USA, Australia, New Zealand and Ireland)


Coming from a dental institution not recognized by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada / CDAC.


While Accredited graduates go directly to the Certification Process (OSCE/Written), the Non-Accredited graduates are subjected to an “Equivalency Process” administered by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB), in concert with CDRAF and Provincial Royal Colleges.

Direct Licensing (Equivalency Process)

Profile and Paperwork (Application) 1





University (DDS; Advanced Placement)

Profile and Paperwork (Application) 1


Interview/Bench Test

Bridging Program

2yrs DDS


1. Profile and Paperwork

  1. Creation of an online profile
  2. Documentation Submission
  3. Credential verification

2. AFK

  • Administered in two books of 150 multiple-choice questions
  • Each book given in a three hour session
  • Held in the morning and afternoon of one day

3. ACJ

  • Administered in two books of a combination of 60 single-answer and multiple-answer multiple choice questions.
  • Each book given in a three hour session
  • Held in the morning and afternoon of one day

Book 1 - Diagnosis, Treatment Planning and Clinical Decision Making
Single answer and extended match type questions that evaluate ability to formulate a diagnosis and make clinical decisions. Case histories, dental charts, photographs, and radiographic images may be provided for patients of all ages.

Book 2 - Radiographic Interpretation
Using radiographic images, this component evaluates radiographic interpretation and diagnosis.

4. ACS

Two-day assessment of procedures on manikins.


  1. Class II amalgam preparation
  2. Class III composite resin preparation
  3. Full metal crown preparation
  4. Metal-ceramic (porcelain fused to metal) crown preparation
  5. Endodontic access preparation on a molar tooth
  6. Direct Class II composite resin restoration on a provided pre-prepared tooth
  7. Direct Class IV composite resin restoration on a provided pre-prepared tooth
  8. Class II amalgam restoration on a provided pre-prepared tooth
  9. Provisional crown restoration for a provided pre-prepared metal-ceramic crown preparation
  10. Rubber dam application
  11. Record keeping
  12. Infection control and material hygiene


5. Certification Process


  • Administered in two books of 150 multiple-choice questions
  • Each book given in a three hour session
  • Held in the morning and afternoon of one day


Station type examination held in a morning and afternoon session with five minutes to answer the questions at each station.

There are two types of questions in the OSCE. Most stations have two questions and require the candidate to review the information supplied and answer extended match-type questions which will have up to 15 answer options and one or more correct answers.

Some stations require the candidate to review the information supplied and write an acceptable prescription for a medication commonly prescribed by general dentists in Canada.



  • Since dentistry is perceived as a rewarding career, the stakes and barriers are high as the local dentists see it as competition and hence don’t necessarily welcome the induction of foreign dentists.
  • Some information disseminated from ‘official’ sources is not necessarily an accurate reflection of the on-ground realities, which also contribute to confusion and frustration.
  • Needless to say, the easiest way to introduce barriers known to man is to increase the price.
  • The ball parked costs involved in the Equivalency Process include but are not limited to the adjacent chart.
  • For ease of understanding for planning, the process may be divided into 3 stages as seen in the table.

Equivalency Process

  • STAGE 1 (Theory Exams)
    • Profile & Paperwork $1,000
    • AFK Preparation Fee $3,000
    • AFK Exam Fee $1,000
    • ACJ Preparation Fee $2,000
    • ACJ Exam Fee $1,500
  • STAGE 2 (Clinical Exam)
    • ACS Preparation Fee $5,000-7,000
    • ACS Equipment Costs $10,000-15,000
    • ACS Exam Fee $7,000
  • STAGE 3 (Certification Process)
    • Preparation Fee $1,500
    • Exam Fee $2,000


Faculty of Dentistry, University of Toronto, ON (intake around 30)

Faculty of Dentistry, University of Western Ontario, ON (intake around 20)

Faculty of Dentistry, University of Manitoba, MB (intake around 8)

Faculty of Dentistry, University of Albert, AB (intake around 8)

Faculty of Dentistry, Dalhousie University, NS (intake around 8)

Faculty of Dentistry, McGill University, QC (intake around 8)


Equivalency Process

  • Valid for practice in Canada only
  • Less Overall Cost ($40-$50k)
    • However, upfront availability may be difficult
  • Some may complete the process in 9-18 months
  • A certain percentage may never complete it
  • Wider window of opportunity
    • Around 300 people every year

Advanced Placement

  • Internationally recognized
  • High Overall Cost ($200-250k)
    • However, upfront availability may be easier 
  • Cannot finish sooner
  • Completion of the process is almost guaranteed
  • Narrower window of opportunity
    • Only 80 people every year


  • There are 3 groups of internationally trained dentists approaching Canadian Dental practice.
    • Those aiming for Advanced Placement
    • Those aiming for Both to see what clicks
    • Those aiming for Equivalency Process
  • Again, some people fall in one of the first two but most end up in the third.
  • Regardless, the AFK needs to be challenged first and may be approached in either of the following ways.
    • Needless to say, the NDEB profile and paperwork need to be initiated and completed ASAP 
    • The sooner candidates start preparing for AFK, the better. Whether they're in Canada or still in their current country of residence. They can start as early as one year before the AFK date with an online course after which they can either continue study on their own or join an in-class course. 
    • Online education refers only to attending the classes relayed from reputable centres. Courses that are delivered "from the comfort of my home to the comfort of yours" may not present the content the required context. Online engagement with a small, closed study group is best. Social media can ruin your preparation in many ways. As with Dr. Google, Professor Facebook should also be approached with caution. 
    • While studying, develop question solving skill in parallel to subject knowledge. 
  • Those thinking of self-preparation and / or writing the exams on the fly / as visitors are indeed brave - think again. You're doing yourself no favour by underestimating the project or by not duly contextualizing it. give it the due time, effort and respect. This is not a traditional exam and you will find out how - just try not to discover that the hard way. 
  • Knowing timelines is crucial to plan
    • AFK is held in February & August and ACJ & ACS in June & December.
    • Although the timelines for each university varies, applications are generally invited in the first quarter of the year… calls and invitations go out around the second quarter… preparation , interviews and tests take place in the third and candidates come to know the results around the fourth quarter of the year.
    • Both AFK & ACS require at least 5 months of full time preparation
    • For candidates vying for both, the AFK score is important.
      • August AFK: start preparing for skills in January… if you get called by a Canadian University for a bench test (Jun-Aug for most) you will not only be well prepared for the bench test but in case of the misfortune of not being accepted, would also be able to go for the skills in the following December

WHICH COURSE TO TAKE? Assisting vs Hygiene vs Office Admin

  • Many ITDs ask this question but for different reasons but most common are: 
    • To get entry into Canada through student visa 
    • To plan their study, work and exam process while on student status 
    • To plan their study, work and exam process after acquiring PR 
    • To study while you write exams (might not actually ever work in your field of study) 
  •  The first thing to remember is the time factor - each plan will take it's time. If you first study, then work and then prepare and write exams, you cannot expect to start before 2 years (which is too late). 
  • If you plan to study and work, and then approach exams, it will also take time. 
    The ideal scenario is to start preparation early and try to go through it without any other concurrent commitment like study / work, if you can afford. 
  • The second scenario is to study a course and prepare for exams in parallel, without working. The ideal courses for this approach are office admin or assisting since they are light courses and can allow you to study for equivalency while you're in school. Hygiene does not suit this plan a lot for two reasons: (a) it's a longer course & (b) it is very heavy / hectic. OSAP can help provide some financial cusion. 
  • The third scenario is when you're studying an need to work as well as prepare for AFK. In this case you will need to slow down and pace your prep accordingly. It's not an ideal scenario. 
  • The fourth scenario is working and equivalency preparations. This is subjective. Look for a light duty job like security that can allow you study time because this is a full time commitment. 
  • There are many other variables depending on your personal and professional circumstances including residential status but the bottom line is "where there is a will, there is a way". 
  • Remember, failure is not the opposite of success, it's a part of it.

Course Offerings


Dental Fundamental Knowledge