Class of 2020 Completes CDCA Exams

After months of delay due to COVID-19, TCDM’s inaugural class completes official licensure

June 19, 2020

This past week, 20 remaining members of TCDM’s Class of 2020 completed their CDCA (The Commission on Dental Competency Assessments) licensing exams which were postponed after clinical care was canceled in March due to COVID-19. TCDM had started administering a series of CDCA licensing exams for its inaugural class in February and early March when the news broke that non-emergent dental care could no longer be provided. Wasting no time, TCDM immediately began working in collaboration with testing agencies to organize potential future exam dates. As a result of these incredible efforts which demonstrate an unwavering commitment to supporting our students, TCDM, in its first year organizing the CDCA exams, was in the 2nd cycle of testing in the nation once the CDCA reopened.

“I feel relieved now that I am done. It’s been a long process,” said Class of 2020 graduate Dr. Allyson Brennan. “Luckily, our faculty worked vigorously with the CDCA to make this happen for us. They really were the powerhouses to make this happen and keep us informed.”

When the students of our newly graduated class got word of the cancelations back in March, they were concerned about what that might mean for their future plans. Though she had already passed all but one portion of the exam, Dr. Brennan was affected by the cancellations. “Having not completed the class 3 restorative during the initial CDCA process, and knowing it was the only thing keeping me from my certification of completion was disheartening. It was also confusing at the time too because as time progressed states were resistant to accepting the alternative path of the simulation CompeDont tooth,” said Dr. Brennan.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, the restorative part of the CDCA exam was revised drastically, requiring students to complete their examination on manikins as opposed to patients. These testing manikins were equipped with a brand-new tooth technology that had not previously been distributed for practice, the CompeDont™ DTX, which was developed by the CDCA and Acadental, Inc. Despite this unforeseen challenge, the CDCA exams were successful overall, especially taking into account that these TCDM alumni only had three days to practice after several months off from dentistry and were required to wear protective face shields for the first time. 

“The Class of 2020 has shown remarkable resilience, hard work, and dedication throughout their journey as the pioneering class of TCDM, and this accomplishment is overwhelmingly fantastic,” said Bert Goldfinger, D.D.S., Director of Pre-Clinical Education and Associate Professor of Dental Medicine, who organized the CDCA exams.

Having now completed their licensing exams, the graduates of TCDM’s Class of 2020 are on their way to residency programs and private practices across the country. Dr. Brennan, who began her General Practice Residency at the University of Rochester - Eastman Institute of Oral Health only a day after completing her CDCA exam, shares that she is incredibly grateful that throughout all of the uncertainty, she felt the support of an incredible national community of dental professionals. “Through this whole experience I am just grateful for how hard the dental community has worked to overcome these challenges together,” said Dr. Brennan. “It shows you how powerful organized dentistry really is.”