Dentist Credentials Mexico vs. Canada
A good understanding of dentist credentials is important when determining whether a dental practitioner will be able to meet your needs. This is as true in Canada as elsewhere.
The following outlines differences and similarities between the Canadian and Mexico dentist credentials process; who's involved, what's involved, and whether there is anything that needs to be noted.
Due to some differences in the Mexican and Canadian dental education systems, it's not always easy to make a direct comparison of the dentist credentials of a dentist in Mexico and in Canada.
Dental Schools Admission Process
Canada Dental Schools
For most undergraduate dental programs in Canada, students must complete the equivalent of two years fulltime study in a general science program before applying for admission to dental school. Most dental schools set a minimum grade average of B for students to be considered for admission.
Students applying to dental schools in Canada are required to write the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT). The DAT is administered by the Canadian Dental Association. In 210 multiple choice questions, the DAT covers natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension and manual dexterity. Manual dexterity is tested by way of a soap carving. Dental schools generally consider a mark of 50% as a pass.
After completing two years pre-dental studies and passing the DAT, students can apply for admission. If they advance they also generally have to pass a structured interview. The admission decision is based on academic performance, DAT results and performance on the interview. In some cases reference letters are also requested.
Mexico Dental Schools
In Mexico the dental schools admission requirements are not as uniform as in Canada. There is no prescribed test similar to the DAT and with over 100 dental schools, some public and some private, entrance requirements vary. Some are more stringent than others. The publicly funded schools are generally large, particularly UNAM the national university, which has campuses across the country. Because they are also more affordable, academic competition for spaces at public schools tends to be intense.
Holiday Dental recently met with senior representatives from university dental programs, click here to learn more.
Dental Schools Program Duration
Canada Dental Schools
Upon admission, the undergraduate dental programs at Canadian dental schools are four years long.
Mexico Dental Schools
Upon admission, undergraduate dental programs in Mexico are also four years in duration, however a fifth year of social service, working in dentistry, is also required.
Dental Schools Accreditation
Canada Dental Schools Accreditation
Dental schools in Canada are accredited by the Commission on Dental Accreditation of Canada (CDAC). The accreditations cover programs for dentists, hygenists, assistants and specialists.
Once accreditation has been granted, schools are subject to periodic site surveys to ensure standards are maintained and programs reflect evolving requirements.
There is also an Association of Canadian Faculties of Dentistry (ACFD), whose stated objective is "to promote excellence in university-based dental teaching, research and management". This organization plays a primarily networking and advisory role.
Mexico Dental Schools Accreditation
In Mexico, dental schools are accredited by CONAEDO (National Council on Dental Education or Consejo Nacional de Educación Odontológica). Only about one third of the dental schools in Mexico are currently accredited, however because the accredited schools include most of the larger ones, the majority of dental graduates in Mexico are graduating from accredited programs.
When the guidelines for seeking accreditation by CONAEDO are compared to the same guidelines published by the CDAC in Canada, the similarities are obvious; right down to the process outlined for provision of documentation for site surveys.
Holiday Dental recently spoke with Dr. Javier de la Fuente, President of CONAEDO. Click here to go to our video content page.
Although not all dental schools in Mexico are accredited, there is a movement to encourage and support the non-accredited schools to seek accreditation. This is being advanced by FMFEO (Federation of Mexican Schools and Faculties of Dentistry or Federacion Mexicana De Escuelas Y Facultades De Odontologia). Their role appears similar to that of the ACFD in Canada.
Holiday Dental recently spoke with Dr. Guillermo Ortiz, President of FMFEO. Click here to go to our video content page.
Canada Dentist Licensing
In Canada there are dental colleges at the provincial level that grant dentists licenses to practice. In all cases dentists must pass a board exam, which is set by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada, before a license is issued.
Mexico Dentist Licensing
A license to practice dentistry in Mexico (called a Cedula Profesionel) is granted by the Federal Ministry of Education. The standard for issuance of a license is graduation from a dental school. No board exams are required. The exception is in the case of dental specialists who are required to pass board exams, after which they are issued a second license for their specialty.
The various dental governing bodies in Mexico (e.g. The Federal Ministry of Health or Secretaría de Salud México) are moving towards instituting a board exam process for GP dentists, but until the process is in place, there will be a significant difference in the credentials of a GP versus a specialist.
This is one of the reasons Holiday Dental's network of dentists in Mexico only includes specialist dentists.
Continuing Education Requirements
Canada Dentist Continuing Education
In order to maintain their licenses, Canadian dental associations at the provincial level require that dentists take part in a pre-scribed level of continuing education, for example 60 hours over two years is prescribed in some provinces. This continuing education can take many forms, such as attendance at conference lectures or workshops.
Mexico Dentist Continuing Education
In Mexico, for general practitioner dentists, there are no continuing education requirements. Although there is no formal requirement, certain dentists still maintain a continuing education routine voluntarily. Members of the Mexican Dental Association complete 40 hours of continuing education every two years in order to maintain their membership. Membership is voluntary.
In the case of specialist dentists, continuing education is not voluntary and must be maintained. This is another reason Holiday Dental's network includes only specialist dentists.
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