Use of qualifications, titles, and designations

The General Regulation under the Dentistry Act outlines the permitted designations and titles that dentists may use.  The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that the public receives clear and complete information about their dentist’s qualifications. 

Dentists are allowed to advertise and hold themselves out by their registration category.  The two categories of registration are general dentist or certified specialist.  If a dentist has received a certificate of specialist registration from the College, they may use that title when holding themselves out.  In Ontario, there are 11 recognized dental specialties, they are:

  • dental anaesthesia
  • endodontics
  • oral and maxillofacial surgery
  • oral medicine
  • oral pathology
  • oral radiology
  • orthodontics
  • paediatric dentistry
  • periodontics
  • prosthodontics
  • public health dentistry.

General dentists who do not hold a specialty certificate may limit their practice to a branch of dentistry, but they must clearly indicate they are general practitioners.  For example, a general dentist may only take on orthodontic cases, but they must make clear to their patients they are a general dentist who practices orthodontics.  Clearly identifying one's credentials ensures that patients are not misled or confused by other titles or certifications irrelevant to a dentist’s registration class.

Dentists are permitted to list the services that they provide.  However, it is not permissible for a dentist to imply that they are a specialist if they do not hold a specialty certificate.  Dentists cannot describe themselves with an area of treatment in a manner that suggests it is a recognized specialty when it is not a specialty.  For example, a dentist may not describe themselves as a “cosmetic dentist”, “implant specialist” or “holistic dentist”. 

Dentists are also reminded that if their practice name refers to a specialty, it must be one of the 11 specialty branches noted above AND all dentists practicing in the office using that practice name must be registered with the College as specialists in that branch of dentistry. 

Dentists must ensure their qualifications, designations, or titles are accurate in all professional advertising materials.  Advertising materials include print advertising, office signage, radio or television advertising, office website/social media accounts, business cards, and stationery.  Dentists are permitted to reference any degrees or diplomas required to obtain a registration certificate from this College.




General Regulation, Dentistry Act:

Professional Misconduct Regulations, Dentistry Act: O. Reg.  853/93: PROFESSIONAL MISCONDUCT (

Practice Advisory – Practice Names: Practice Advisory – Practice Names (

Practice Advisory – Professional Advertising: Practice Advisory – Professional Advertising (