" " How To Become A Dentist


how to become a dentist

by Leila Wiza Jr. Published 2 years ago Updated 1 year ago

How to Become a Dentist

  • Enroll in a Bachelor’s Degree. Before you can set yourself on the path to become a dentist, you will need to have at least a bachelor’s degree.
  • Clear the Dental Admission Test. ...
  • Get a Dental Degree. ...
  • Complete the Required Training. ...
  • Get Your Licensure. ...
  • Go for a Specialization. ...

Full Answer

What you should know before you become a dentist?

Oct 01, 2021 · Dentists are required to hold a valid license to practice dentistry. Passing the National Board Dental Examinations is required to earn your license and is a two-part test that will cover dental science, ethics and clinical procedures. In addition, candidates must pass a practical exam approved by their state's licensing board.

What is the easiest way to become a dentist?

Take the DAT at least a year prior to seeking admission to dental school. This computerized test measures general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information and perceptual ability. Completion of at least one year of college level courses in biology and general and organic chemistry is recommended before taking the DAT. Applying

How long do you have to go to school to become a dentist?

After you successfully complete a dental program, you'll earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) degree. Step 3: Acquire a License to Practice Once you've obtained a degree from an accredited dental school, you'll need to pass both a practical and written examination to become licensed.

What education and training is required to become a dentist?

Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry (DMD) The type of degree you’ll work towards will depend on the type of dental career you’d like to have. After dental school, graduates have the option of pursuing a residency in order to further hone their skills, although this is not mandatory.


How hard is it to be a dentist?

Being a dentist can be hard, it is challenging, and you'll spend various years studying. You might be convinced to be a dentist now, but is it really the right path for you? Sure, dentistry is interesting, however, you will need to be genuinely interested and dedicated to teeth and oral health in general.Mar 22, 2022

What are the steps to be a dentist?

The Steps to Becoming a DentistComplete a bachelors degree. Completing a bachelor's degree is step one in becoming a dentist. ... Take the Dental Acceptance Test. Admission to dental school is very competitive. ... Complete a DDS or DMD degree. ... Pass national and state licensing exams.Jul 26, 2018

What qualifications would you need to become a dentist?

University degree: you will need to do a bachelor's degree in dentistry (that's a BDS or BChD). The course usually takes five years. You'll learn in lectures and seminars, as well as developing practical skills. You'll get the chance to treat patients in hospital and community clinics.

How long is dental school USA?

four yearsThe traditional dental school program is four years long. In the first two years of dental school, students spend most of their time studying basic biological sciences and learning the structure and function of the body and the diseases that can affect it.

How do I become a orthodontist?

It typically takes a total of 10 to 11 years before they are certified and licensed to practice; that's about four years at an accredited undergraduate school, four years at an accredited dental school and two to three years in an accredited orthodontics residency program.

Is becoming a dentist worth it?

Dentistry is still a great profession for many reasons and can be extremely worthwhile. It is not always an easy road, but it can be a highly rewarding one. I still love what I do every day, despite the challenges!

How much does a dentist make a year?

How Much Does a Dentist Make? Dentists made a median salary of $158,940 in 2020. The best-paid 25 percent made $208,000 that year, while the lowest-paid 25 percent made $115,290.

How long does it take to study dentistry?

The Bachelor of Dental Science (BDS) is a five-year, full-time course. Years one to three focus on bioethics, health law, and dental sciences. Years four and five focus on understanding the medical, dental, social, and community context of dental clinical practice.

How long does it take to become a dentist?

How long does it take to become a dentist? All dentists must have completed four years of dental school and received a doctorate in dentistry. There are two types of dental doctoral degrees you can get:

How to become a dentist in high school?

Step 1: Take Lots of Math and Science Classes (and Do Well in Them!) The field of dentistry requires high-level knowledge of science and math, so try to take (and of course, do well in!) as many math and science classes as you can throughout high school.

What is the second part of dental licensure?

The second part of dental licensure is the clinical, or live-patient, examination , which generally takes place after you finish dental school and have passed both Part I and Part II of the NBDE (see Step 12).

What is the American Student Dental Association?

The American Student Dental Association (ASDA) is a group that gives out free advice and publications for dental school students and college and high school students who are interested in becoming dentists.

What state has the highest salary for dentists?

In terms of what state offers dentists the highest salaries, that award goes to Delaware, which has an annual mean wage for dentists of $264,440.

What are the first two years of dental school?

The first two years of dental school are primarily classroom and lab instruction, with an emphasis on basic health sciences. In the last two years, you'll work with real patients under the supervision of licensed faculty. To see what a day in the life of a dental student looks like, go to the ASDA website.

How much does an orthodontist make?

As you can see from the above table, oral surgeons and orthodontists make the most amount of money of any dental professional, with median salaries exceeding $200,000. Nevertheless, all types of dentists make a lot of money, so much so that they're one of the highest-paying jobs, according to the BLS.

How long does it take to become a dentist?

It takes eight years to become a dentist: four years to earn a bachelor’s degree as an undergraduate and four years to earn a DDS or DMD in dental school. If you’re interested in specializing, you’ll need to complete a dental residency.

What do you do when you decide to pursue a career in dentistry?

If you decide to pursue a career in clinical dentistry, you’ll be interacting with and delivering healthcare to patients on a daily basis. Many will be coming to you with distressing dental problems. To develop the skills you’ll need to serve others, pursue meaningful extracurricular activities that give you experience working with the public. The activities you select need not be directly related to dentistry.

Why do universities grant DMD?

Because all of their degrees are in Latin they chose to grant a DMD ( Doctor Medicinae Dentariae or Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. Since then, universities choose which degree to grant, with two thirds currently offering the DDS.

What was the first dental school in the United States?

A quick history lesson explains the difference between the two. The first dental school in the United States was the Baltimore College of Medicine founded in 1840, which began granting the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree. Harvard founded a dental school shortly thereafter.

How many specialties are there in dentistry?

In addition to becoming a general or family dentist, dentistry also offers a number of specialties. The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes 10 dental specialties within the field: To enter a specialty, you’ll need to do a residency following dental school.

What are the career options for a dentist?

Career opportunities in dentistry include academics, private practice, public health, and more. A dentist could work in several different settings across the course of a career, for example starting in public health, moving into private practice and finishing in academics.

How to set yourself up for success in dentistry?

1. Talk to and Shadow Dentists. One of the best things you can do to investigate a career is to spend time with people who are already in that field.

What is required to become a dentist?

Dentists are required to hold a valid license to practice dentistry. Passing the National Board Dental Examinations is required to earn your license and is a two-part test that will cover dental science, ethics and clinical procedures.

How to get a dental degree?

Here are the steps you can expect to take while earning your degree: Earn a bachelor's degree. Take an entrance exam. Earn a dental degree. Become licensed. Choose a specialization. Apply for positions. 1. Earn a bachelor's degree.

What are the most common questions asked by dentists?

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions and answers that should help you pursue a career as a dentist with confidence: 1 What skills should I have if I want to become a dentist? 2 What is the demand for dentists? 3 Is there a potential for growth if I am a dentist? 4 Do I have to have a degree to become a dentist? 5 Do I have to have any other certifications? 6 Do I have to work for someone or can I have my own dental practice? 7 Is there any danger of contracting a disease in the dental field?

What are the specializations in dentistry?

Some of these include oral surgery, orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, endodontics, dento-maxillofacial radiology and many others. Your specialty will depend on the area that seems most appealing to you.

What is the job of a dental assistant?

Their typical duties include: Cleaning teeth and gums. Removing and filling damaged teeth and cavities. Prescribe appropriate medicine to treat infections and oral diseases.

How to be a dentist?

Most dentists will see numerous patients each day and need to be as quick and efficient as possible. Start making schedules for your days. Prioritize what needs to be done and what you can do later. Plan time in your day for classes, work, and studying, along with food, relaxation, physical activity, and sleep.

How long does it take to get a dental degree?

Complete coursework at a dental school. When you go to dental school, you will receive a doctorate degree. A standard program is four years, which includes coursework and clinicals. You can get a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD). These are the same degree.

Why do you need to be compassionate at the dentist?

Dentists should have good bedside manner and genuinely want to interact with people. You need to be compassionate because many people who visit the dentist will be scared or have anxiety.

What is the average score on the dental exam?

An average score on this test is 19 out of 30. It is taken about a year and a half before you start dental school. Most people take it in the spring or summer of their junior year of undergrad. The test contains a lot of questions related to natural sciences, along with reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning.

What do you need to do after dental school?

If this is your wish, you will need to become a specialist . Becoming a specialist requires acceptance into a residency or postgraduate program.

What is the best undergraduate degree for dental school?

The most beneficial undergraduate degree is one in pre-dentistry or a science. Degrees in science-related fields help you meet any prerequisites you will have when entering dental school. While in school, you should focus on getting good grades, learning as much as you can, and developing good study habits.

What skills do dentists need?

Have good manual dexterity. Because dentists use their hands, often doing precision work in tiny, hard to reach areas, you will need to have outstanding manual dex terity. Your fine motor skills are imperative to your success as a dentist. Working with your hands is an important part of your career.

How many hours of chemistry do I need to become a dentist?

8 hours General Chemistry with lab. 8 hours Organic Chemistry with lab. Majoring in science is not a must, but completion of predental science requirements is necessary. A college undergraduate degree is recommended in preparation for dental school. Most dental students have completed four years of college.

What are the career options for dentists?

Dentistry offers stimulating career options. In addition to private practice, excellent opportunities exist in teaching and research, careers with government agencies or in industry. Private Practice: Many dentists work either in solo private practice or in partnerships with other dentists.

Why do people choose dentistry?

Why Choose Dentistry? There are many reasons to choose dentistry as a career. Dentistry offers an opportunity to make a difference in your patients’ health and well-being. It's a career that allows you a chance to be your own boss and own a dental practice.

What is the job of a dental lab technician?

Hygienists and assistants interact closely with patients to ensure a high level of care, while dental lab technicians work behind-the-scenes, designing the dentures, crowns and braces used by dentists.

How long do you have to take the DAT before dental school?

This computerized test measures general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information and perceptual ability. Completion of at least one year of college level courses in biology and general and organic chemistry is recommended before taking the DAT.

What is the difference between academic and private dentistry?

Academic Dentistry: An academic dentistry career combines teaching, research, community service and patient care.

What is the role of a dentist?

Promoting dental health, developing health policy and preventing disease are the major roles of a public health dentist. Numerous opportunities exist in research and teaching within public health dentistry.

What are the requirements to get into dental school?

They include required pre-dental courses, such as chemistry, physics and biology, as well as opportunities to gain volunteer dental experience, shadow dentists and participate in student organizations. Many dental schools prefer to admit students who have earned a bachelor's degree, but most require a minimum of two years of college coursework. To apply to dental school, you'll need to take the Dental Admissions Test (DAT), which is administered by the American Dental Association (ADA).

How long does a dental degree last?

Dental programs generally last four years. You can expect to spend the first two years in a classroom and working in a laboratory, taking science courses like anatomy, physiology, microbiology and biochemistry. During the final two years, you'll treat patients while under the supervision of a licensed dentist.

What is a dentist's specialty?

While some dentists specialize in one area, such as periodontics, orthodontics or oral surgery, most are general practitioners. As a dentist, you'll be responsible for educating patients on habits important to good hygiene, such as brushing, flossing and adhering to a healthy diet.

Do dentists have to work long hours?

You may be required to work long hours when you are first establishing your career, but the number of hours you work will typically decrease with experience. The BLS projected that from 2018-2028, the number of positions available for dentists would grow by 7%, which was above the average national job growth.


Many dental schools expect to see a respectable number of volunteering hours. Not all of the hours have to be related to dentistry, although the majority of them being within that general realm is helpful. Exploring service opportunities also allows you to explore your interests and dabble in the field prior to attending dental school.

Dentist Shadowing

Shadowing a dentist is an invaluable opportunity. Not only does it demonstrate your commitment to dental schools reviewing your future application, but it also allows you to gain field experience which will help you decide what kind of dental career you’d like to eventually have.


Internships are an additional means of demonstrating commitment while also gaining relevant field experience, and they’re particularly great to pursue during the summer when your course load is lighter or you’re on break!

What Does a Dentist Do?

Dentists diagnose and treat ailments of the teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They either specialize in a certain part of dentistry or practice general dentistry, which covers overall oral health.

Professional Spotlight

Dr. Adrienne Hedrick is a general dentist who completed her dental degree at the Indiana University School of Dentistry in 2006. After spending several years in corporate dentistry, she purchased a dental practice in 2008. Since purchasing the practice, Dr.

Areas of Specialization for Dentists

Dentistry offers several areas of specialization for those pursuing this career. These areas focus on specific parts of the mouth or treatments for unique ailments. Dentists who specialize become experts in their field.

Dentist Career and Salary Outlook

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that demand for dentists will increase as the population ages and research continues connecting oral health to overall wellbeing. The BLS projects a 3% growth for dentists between 2019 and 2029. These professionals earned a median annual salary of $164,010 as of May 2021.

Where Can I Work as a Dentist?

Consider location when choosing where to begin a career in dentistry. Making the biggest impact often requires relocating to the area with the largest need, even if the pay cannot reflect the workload.

Becoming a Dentist

Earn a Bachelor's Degree: Earning a bachelor's degree kicks off the journey toward becoming a dentist. A BS in biochemistry is the most popular undergraduate major for dentists, followed by bachelor's degrees in physics and molecular biology.

Frequently Asked Questions

Most dental programs last four years. Students may graduate in less time if they combine their undergraduate degree with dental studies.

How long does it take to get a DDS degree?

Overall, a DDS degree program can take 2 to 2.5 years to complete.

What test do you need to take if your first language is not English?

Complete the NDEB’s AFK exam with a high score (preferably 90% or more will greatly improve your chances of acceptance).

What is NDEB in dentistry?

The National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB): To begin the process with the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB), you must apply to be accepted into the Canadian Dentistry Equivalency Process. As long as you have a recognized degree, you should be accepted. Due to COVID-19, response times may vary on acceptances as there may be ...

Is DAT an application to dental school?

It’s important to note that registration for the DAT is not an application to dental schools but a step towards getting your foot in the door. Don’t be afraid to schedule a call with an advisor and find out what they’re looking for in successful candidates, such as extracurriculars.

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