New gateway licensing examination using 3D imaging technology is designed as an ethical, valid replacement for dental clinical skills assessment.

The Joint Commission on National Dental Examinations (JCNDE), in partnership with Prometric, has implemented the Joint Commission’s new Dental Licensure Objective Structured Clinical Examination (DLOSCE).

The DLOSCE is a professionally developed, content-valid examination built specifically for clinical licensure purposes that assesses candidates’ clinical judgment and skills using sophisticated 3D models, without the need to involve patients. Teams of dental subject matter experts reportedly designed the lifelike computerized models, and constructed questions to mirror situations in clinical practice with high fidelity. Prometric, which works with many of the world’s credentialing and licensure organizations in the design, development, and delivery of reliable examination programs, worked with the JCNDE to deploy the DLOSCE, and serves as the primary administrator of this new examination across the United States.

As DLOSCE puts it, the new technological aspects of the DLOSCE represent a “significant leap forward” in the standardized assessment of aspiring dental professionals. According to the organizations, unlike current clinical dental licensure examinations—and consistent with examination trends in medicine, nursing, and numerous other health professions—the DLOSCE does not require candidates to perform procedures on patients. The partners also report that by replacing actual patients with advanced 3D-models in a controlled virtual environment, the new DLOSCE avoids many of the weaknesses and disadvantages of traditional clinical examinations, increases validity, and also significantly decreases the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other airborne pathogens for all involved.

At its core, the DLOSCE is designed to help dental boards protect the public health, and to do so far more effectively than existing clinical licensure tools. 

“The DLOSCE is the first dental licensure examination to employ a laser focus on clinical judgment to help protect the public,” commented William F. Robinson, DMD, a former member of the Florida Board of Dentistry who also served on the DLOSCE steering committee. “That’s a key reason why it was quickly accepted in six states, all within six months of its release. This is an unmatched advancement in dental licensure and will ultimately have a positive impact on the oral and overall health of the public.”