Dentists and dental specialists

Pathways for gaining registration as a dentist or dental specialist


To apply to register as an oral health practitioner under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, you must meet these criteria:

  • you must be fit for registration
  • you must have a prescribed qualification
  • if you don’t have a prescribed qualification, you must have a qualification that’s assessed as being equivalent to, or as satisfactory as, a prescribed qualification for your scope of practice
  • you must be competent to practise within that scope of practice.

Your qualifications may be recognised in New Zealand

You can apply for registration as a dentist or a dental specialist if you have a prescribed qualification. 

Registering with a prescribed qualification

A prescribed qualification is one that has been through a formal accreditation process to verify that it is of an appropriate quality and standard, either by us, the Dental Council, or another jurisdiction whose accreditation processes are recognised by us.  Prescribed qualifications are gazetted against the relevant scope of practice. 

To see if your qualification has been prescribed, refer to the lists below.

If your qualification is not prescribed, you have two choices

If your qualification is not prescribed, you can either:

  • sit an examination
  • apply to have your overseas, non-prescribed qualifications, training and experience assessed.


You can sit an examination

If you want to register as a dentist, and you do not have a prescribed qualification, you can undertake the New Zealand Dentist Registration Examination (NZDREX). This is done through the National Dental Examining Board of Canada.

The New Zealand Dentist Registration Examination

If you want to register as a dental specialist, and you do not have a prescribed qualification, you can sit the relevant New Zealand Dental Specialist Registration Examination. The examination consists of a written examination, a clinical examination, case presentations, an oral examination, and evaluation of your research skills.   

The New Zealand Dental Specialist Registration Examination


You can submit your overseas, non-prescribed qualifications, training and experience to be assessed

If you do not have an overseas prescribed qualification, but believe your qualifications, training and experience are equivalent to a prescribed qualification for your scope of practice, you can apply for individual assessment.

Individual assessment of qualifications and experience

If you are registered in Australia, you may be eligible for Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition

If you are registered in Australia, you can register in New Zealand in a similar scope of practice, under the Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition Act 1997.

Trans-Tasman Mutual Recognition

Registration fees

The relevant registration fees for dentists and dental specialists