What is the mission of ADEX? What impact does ADEX hope to have on dental licensure in the United States?

The American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX) is a non-profit corporation of State Boards of Dentistry with a Mission “To develop clinical licensure exams for dental professionals.

ADEX’s philosophy is motivated by the concept of a Uniform National Dental and Dental Hygiene Clinical Licensure Examination administered throughout the country in accredited dental and dental hygiene institutions by regional and independent testing agencies.  Understanding that dentistry is no different in one part of the country then another and there should be no difference in the standards of dentistry from one part of the country to another the ADEX feels that candidates that successfully complete the ADEX examination in dentistry and dental hygiene should have the portability to practice their chosen profession throughout the United States.

When and How was ADEX created?

In 2003 the US had sixteen (16) different dental and dental hygiene licensure examinations administered by four regional and twelve independent testing agencies.  Concerned, the AADE called a special meeting of all testing agencies and they collectively decided to participate in the process of developing a uniform national dental and dental hygiene licensure examination.  This newly created group of representatives from the four regional testing agencies and 12 independent States started work on the development and organizational structure of the exam in a collaborative effort unprecedented in AADE history.  This group decided that this organization would be an organization of State Boards.  In 2004 most of the criteria, scoring and content of the examination was in its final stages and most of the work was on the organizational and structural design of this new organization.  The group adopted the name of the examination as the American Dental Licensure Examination (ADLEX) and the American Dental Hygiene Licensure Exam (ADHLEX).  The group also named itself the American Board of Dental Examiners (ADEX).  ADEX was incorporated in Kansas and the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws were adopted in May of 2005.  The ADEX would function as a National Exam committee for the participating State Boards of Dentistry and Testing Agencies.  The first ADLEX, now simply called the ADEX Dental Exam, was administered by the Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS) in Hawaii in December 2005.

 

What does it mean that certain regional licensing agencies offer the ADEX examination? How is this different than what these agencies did previously?

There are five Regional Testing Agencies in the United States.  The NERB (DBA)  as  the Commission on Dental Competency  Assessments (CDCA), the Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA), the Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS), the Western Regional Examining Board (WREB), and the Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA).  At one point in time all regional testing agencies administered their own independently developed initial clinical dental and dental hygiene licensure examinations for their member states.  These regional testing agencies had their own examination committees who designed clinical licensure examinations based on the principles of test development.  Although test development principles are universal and apply to all test development, not all dental licensure examinations developed by these testing agencies are similar.

With the creation of ADEX, an exam development corporation and the movement toward a uniform national dental and dental licensure examination, States Boards of Dentistry and Regional Testing agencies that supported this concept became the members of ADEX and ADEX then became/replaced the exam committees for those participating State Boards of Dentistry and Regional Testing Agencies.  Therefore, the ADEX would now develop the dental and dental hygiene examination for that particular testing agency, not the testing agencies exam committee.  Unfortunately, not all testing agencies believe in a uniform national dental and dental hygiene licensure examination and still retain their own exam committees and continue to develop and administer their own dental and dental hygiene licensure exam.

Note:  ADEX is an organization of State Boards not Testing Agencies.  ADEX only develops the examination; it does not administer any exam.  Currently the Regional Testing Agencies that administer the ADEX Dental licensure examination are the NERB (DBA) CDCA and CITA testing agencies.

Where can I take the ADEX examination?

The ADEX is a national test development corporation that develops the ADEX dental and dental hygiene clinical licensure examination.  ADEX has thirty-five (35) jurisdictions and two (2) participating Regional Testing Agencies.  The ADEX exams are administered by the NERB (DBA) at CDCA and CITA regional testing agencies.  By contacting these testing agencies, they will direct you to the schedule of examinations being administered by that testing agency during the current exam season.  You will then have an opportunity to select the particular exam sight that best fits your needs. Contact information can be found at adex.org.  ADEX in its quest for a uniform national examination continues to make progress toward its goal.  New locations for the administration of both dental and dental hygiene examinations are added on every year.

If ADEX is the most widely accepted licensure examination, why is it not offered at all US dental schools?

The ADEX dental and dental hygiene examination is the most widely accepted dental licensure examination in the US.   It is the purview of States Boards of Dentistry to accept any of the initial licensure examinations in dentistry and dental hygiene as their means of assessing competency and providing public protection.  Some States accept all regionally administered licensure examinations and some States only accept one.

 

The educational institutions act independently of States Boards of Dentistry as far as the administration of a particular licensing examination at that school.  Dental Schools can choose to allow the administration of as many different dental or dental hygiene licensure examinations they want but due to time constraints, curriculum interruption, politics, the schools will typically allow only the administration of the licensing examination that corresponds with the regional of independent testing agency which that state is a member of.  As an example, the State of Oregon accepts the results of all regionally administered dental and dental hygiene licensure examinations but the Oregon School of dentistry only allows the WREB licensure examination to be administered at that school.

 

It is the hope of ADEX to have the ADEX national dental and dental hygiene licensure examination be administered throughout the country with all states accepting its results for licensure.  This would only be possible if student dental and dental hygiene candidates for licensure believe in a uniform national dental and dental hygiene licensure examination and the increased portability of licensure.  The ultimate decision for licensure lies within the States Boards of Dentistry but without mutual understanding of the concept of a uniform national exam the challenge for the successful creation of a Uniform National dental and dental hygiene licensure examination becomes greater.