What Happens if You Fail Your Dental Boards?

Posted by Amy Carbone on Aug 9, 2021 9:00:00 AM

Failing your dental boards is very likely a fear of just about anyone who's studying to be a dentist. But really, what happens if you fail your dental boards? It depends.

There are plenty of consequences that could happen, but that doesn't mean all of them will happen. Still, it's important to know what you could be facing, so you can adequately prepare and reduce your risk of serious problems.

You don't want to give up on your dental career, and if you're focused and have a good understanding of the issues and consequences, you can make adjustments to improve your future. Be aware that what happens if you fail your dental boards varies from state to state, so you need to be clear on what your specific consequences could be based on where you're taking the boards. Starting your career -- and getting past adversity -- in some states may be easier than in others.

Here are some of the basic steps you'll want to take, if you fail your dental boards.

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Step 1: Learn Your Next Steps

The first thing to do if you fail your dental boards is to find out what you should do next. You may need to reapply within a certain time, or there might be additional paperwork or fees. You'll want to check into that directly with your school or the testing facility, because every state can be different. You don't want to make assumptions. That could get you into trouble, and make it harder for you to test again.

Schedule a new test date, and make sure it's close enough to retain the knowledge you've learned but far enough away to give you time to study. It's likely that you know what sections you really had trouble with, and what you might need to address. 

Your test date will likely come up quickly. In the interim, consider how you want to study and what you really need to review the most. That can help you be as ready as possible for your dental boards the second time around.

Step 2: Look into Remediation Programs at Your School

Your school probably has a remediation program, or some additional type of training. After all, you're not the first person to fail your dental boards, and you won't be the last one. Just leaving students to deal with that issue and try to solve it on their own probably isn't realistic for a well-established dental school. But if you aren't sure what your school offers, it's time to check into that right now. A remediation program could be just what you need to get an extra boost of support and pass your boards in the future.

Step 3: Consider an Appeal

Sometimes, people make mistakes -- and that includes people who are trained to judge the competency of others. If you really feel like you shouldn't have failed, and you think you have a strong case, you can appeal the decision. Make sure you're truly prepared to do that, though. If your appeal is unsuccessful, you could be less prepared for your re-test and it could make it harder for you to get through your dental boards when you re-test. It could also be upsetting, and you want to have a clear head and a good focus for taking the boards again.

Step 4: Retake the Exam

At the scheduled day and time, you'll want to show up prepared and retake the exam. The chances are that you'll be much more prepared this time, and you'll know what you missed from the last time. You'll also want to put more of a focus on the areas you struggled with in the past, but be sure you don't neglect areas where you did well the first time. Those areas are still just as important for you to perform well on the second time around.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line is that, what happens if you fail your dental boards can vary from state to state. How you handle that issue can also vary, but don't let it get you down. You won't be the first person that's happened to, and you can go through the necessary steps to take the dental boards again. By working through the issues that caused the first failure, you can put it behind you and be more prepared for the dental boards, so you can pass them and move on with your career.

At Treloar & Heisel, we help people in all stages of their dental career get the insurance protection they need and want. Having proper coverage is an important part of being ready for a career in dentistry, and should be something you look into long before you're through school and working as a dentist. We're here to help you protect what matters.

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Treloar & Heisel, Inc. does not offer legal advice. This content is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be construed as advice.

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Topics: Dental School Tips