About RCDC

Since its inception, RCDC has administered a high-calibre examination that has been a requirement to gain Fellowship within the College and permitted qualified dental specialists to use the designation of FRCDC or MRCDC.

The College has grown significantly since the 1960s, and now has over 2,500 Fellows and Members worldwide in nine nationally recognized dental specialties and Dental Sciences. This puts the College in a very unique position within Canada and abroad, as it is able to provide programs and events for its members that are multispecialty in nature.

Current requirements to obtain the FRCDC designation can be found on the Requirements for Fellowship page.

Starting in 2024, RCDC is in charge of the administration of the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE). This examination is a requirement for provincial licensure within Canada. One of the requirements for the College to administer this assessment is a clear division between the Fellowship program and the NDSE.

Constitutional Objectives

As outlined in its Constitution, The Royal College of Dentists of Canada’s primary objectives are:

  • To promote high standards of specialization in the dental profession.
  • To set up qualifications for and provide for the recognition and designation of properly trained dental specialists.
  • To encourage the establishment of training programs in the dental specialties in Canadian schools; and
  • To provide for the recognition and designation of dentists who possess special qualifications in areas not recognized as specialties.


To inspire and foster excellence in dental specialties.


To be a globally recognized leader in dental specialties through:

  • Assessing competencies as part of the licensing process;
  • Advancing excellence; and
  • Promoting Fellowship.


  • Excellence
  • Leadership
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Trust
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Accountability


At the turn of the 20th century, only three dental specialists were to be found across Ontario, and only one in the entire province of Quebec.  At that time, no regulations existed to govern dental specialization. 

As the number of dental specialists began to increase, licensing bodies across Canada began to notice, and Alberta was the first province to amend its regulations to include them. Their regulation stated that no person could claim to be a specialist unless they had demonstrated special skills. Ontario followed suit and adopted a by-law for the recognition of specialties and the certification of specialists in 1944. Rapid growth in the various special branches of dentistry followed, as well as the number of dentists who began to limit their practices to them. 

As a result of this, a Committee on Specialists and Specialization was established by the Canadian Dental Association (CDA) in 1945, with a vision to institute training programs in the various branches of dentistry and to effectively delineate clear and careful definitions of each specialty. 

In 1960, the Committee presented a report to CDA summarizing the requirements and licensing procedures of each province with respect to the various specialties.  It showed a wide discrepancy in standards and regulatory uniformity from one province to another.  It became very clear that guidelines were needed nationwide for licensing boards to adopt and implement.

To address this problem, a proposal was included in the report for the creation of a national specialty regulations body, which was approved by the Association. One year later, a more specific proposal was presented to the CDA: to create The Royal College of Dentists of Canada. This too was sanctioned, and meetings followed to formulate a constitution for the College.

On March 18, 1965, the Act of Incorporation for RCDC was passed in Parliament. Through this legislation, RCDC had parliamentary authority to examine dental specialists on a national basis.  Since that historic time, the College has had to adapt and reinvent itself when faced with organizational challenges. However, throughout the past 55 years, the College has remained true to its initial mission and vision.

As outlined in the new 2023-2026 Strategic Plan, the cornerstone of RCDC’s development is the assessment of competencies as part of the licensing process, the expansion of the membership program and the administration of a Fellowship Examination. The Board of Directors for The Royal College of Dentists of Canada believes that this new strategic plan will guide RCDC as it continues this phase of its history.