Key Takeaways

  • Dentistry is a rapidly changing, expanding, and rewarding profession.
  • The Dentistry Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 govern how dentistry is regulated in Ontario.
  • The Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario licenses and oversees dentists in the province.

Dentistry is a rapidly changing, expanding, and rewarding profession. The scope of a dentist’s work is much broader today than ever before. This page outlines some information on the practice of dentistry in Ontario.

Governing Legislation

The Dentistry Act, 1991 and the Regulated Health Professions Act, 1991 govern how dentistry is regulated in Ontario.

Regulated Health Professions Act

The Regulated Health Professions Act (RHPA) applies to 27 health professions and the 27 colleges that regulate them. These health regulatory colleges set standards for their health professions and make sure each profession complies with the RHPA and related laws. Anyone who calls themselves a regulated health professional must be a member of their regulatory college.

The Dentistry Act

The Dentistry Act sets out the scope of practice and controlled or authorized acts for dentists in Ontario. The Act, through the Health Professions Procedural Code, gives the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario the authority to develop regulations that establish obligations and requirements for dentists to practice in Ontario.

Learn more about the RCDSO.

Educational Requirements in Ontario

There are two dental schools in Ontario and a total of 10 dental schools across Canada. The majority of ODA members are graduates of the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Dentistry or the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry at Western University. Admission to Ontario’s dental schools requires completion of at least two years of an accredited undergraduate degree program.

University of Toronto Faculty of Dentistry
124 Edward Street
Toronto, ON
M5G 1G6
Tel: 416-979-4900

Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry, Western University
1151 Richmond Street
Dental Sciences Building, Room 1003
London, ON N6A 5C1
Tel: 519-661-3330


Some ODA members received their dental education in other Canadian provinces, or at dental schools in the United States and overseas. These programs are usually four years in length, resulting in a DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. There is no difference between these two degrees.

Possessing a dental degree is only the first step to practising dentistry in Ontario. All practitioners must fulfill the requirements of the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario (RCDSO) before they are licensed to practise in Ontario.

Visit the RCDSO website for information on how to apply for a license.

Internationally Trained Dentists

To serve the growing number of internationally trained dentists seeking to practise in Ontario, both dental schools offer a special two-year program that leads to a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). These programs are the International Dentist Advanced Placement Program (IDAPP) at the University of Toronto, and the Advanced Standing Program for International Dental Graduates at the University of Western Ontario.

Adapting to Professional Life as an Internationally Trained Dentist in Canada

Internationally trained dentists face a new health-care system with diverse laws and regulations. They may lack the knowledge of and experience with the professional etiquette and dental team structure in their adopted country. They may also experience language barriers, cultural disparities, feelings of isolation and the hardships induced by the economic realities of practice.

The Canadian Dental Association offers a general and national-level toolkit that provides a number of resources for internationally trained dentists in Canada. To help you adapt to practicing in Ontario, contact the ODA, and become a member. We have the resources to help you settle into your profession and succeed. We have developed a helpful one-page information sheet that can help internationally trained dentists understand how to start their journey to becoming licensed to practice in Canada.

Seeking Licensure in Canada?

Download this one-page info sheet for international dental graudates seeking certification and licensure in Canada.


Dental Career Options

Canadian leaders in dentistry want newcomers to the profession to fully understand the career options that are available to them. If you are graduating from dental school or have been practising dentistry for less than five years, it is important to make informed decisions to help shape your future career path. provides valuable information about traditional associateships, corporate and group practice associateships, choosing a residency program, choosing a specialty program, owning a practice and more.

Check out the site frequently for the latest updates, helpful resources and to learn more about career options that would match your individual goals and needs.

Brush up on your dental history!

Learn about the beginning of the ODA and dentistry in Ontario.

See our 150th anniversary site!