CE for Dentists: FAQ

CMEList May 19, 2020

What is Dentistry CE and why is it important?

Dentistry Continuing Education (CE) is a requirement for all dental professionals to obtain in order to maintain their license to practice in their field. CE is meant to update the dental professionals with new developments, skills, and technologies in the dental field in order to provide exceptional care for their patients.

Dentistry is continuously changing and Dental CE requirements encourage dental professionals to pursue expanding their knowledge in the broadening topics of dentistry. Successfully completing these courses can lead to a better reputation and enhance networking for oneself for personal and clinical growth.

Dental CEs can be accomplished through accredited programs and must be maintained individually for future possible audits from your specific state.

How many dental CE hours do you have to earn?

Every state has its own specific requirements for dental professionals to obtain their CE hours/credits. Continuing education varies by state as well as the dental profession you are in. For example, Virginia requires dentists to complete 15 hours of continuing education every year and it is necessary 4 hours are in the administration of anesthesia/sedation Dentists, dental hygienists, and dental assistants have their own separate requirements in hours and specific topics they need to be certified in.

Our guide to state dental CE requirements will help dentists easily identify their CE requirements. The American Dental Hygiene Association has an overview of each state’s CE necessities but it is ideal to look into the specific states’ dental board requirements for proper and updated requirements.

How can you earn Dental CEs?

Dental professionals can obtain their CE hours through numerous methods as long as it is via an accredited source.

The American Dental Association Continuing Education Recognition Program (ADA CERP) and the Academy of General Dentistry Program Approval for Continuing Education (AGD PACE) are prominent organizations that develop accredited activities and implement rules and regulations for dental education programs to follow in order for them to be CE eligible and ensure high quality.

Dental professionals can take advantage of the ADA activities or their own states’ CE approved programs to obtain their hours. Dentists, dental assistants, and dental hygienists can participate in these forms of activities:

  • Live webinars
  • On-Demand webinars
  • CE articles
  • Dental journals
  • Live seminars/conventions
  • Study clubs/groups

It is important to note memberships are often required to obtain dental CE credit from an organization. Being a member of your state's dental board, the ADA or other recognized programs will allow you to have easy, free, or discounted access to the continuing education courses or events that the organization provides.

Who are the top Dental CE providers?

There are many providers and organizations that offer dental CE hours. See the chart below for some of the top providers.

Dental CE Provider

ADA Online CE 

Oakstone - Practical Reviews 




Biologix Solutions

DentalCare from Crest

Academy of General Dentistry

Advanced Continuing Education Systems

Patterson Dental 




Proctor and Gamble


What CE topics are permitted for Dental CE?

Typically, all topics that are dental related are eligible for dental continuing education. However, many states require reviewing specific topics to meet your dental CE requirements. It is important to be aware of your state's requirements in order to maintain your license. Some topics that dental professionals often look for more knowledge in to complete their CE requirements include:

  • General dentistry
  • Cosmetic dentistry
  • Basic sciences
  • Cariology
  • Anesthesia and pain management
  • Domestic violence
  • Practice management
  • Infection control and waste management

Can Dental CEs roll over?

In certain cases, Dental CEs you earn in a given cycle may roll over into the next cycle. This is highly dependent on specific state board rules and regulations.