Dentists prevent, diagnose and treat problems affecting the teeth, gums, tongue, lips and jaws. Dentistry requires diagnostic ability and manual skills. Since most dentists work in private practice, good business sense and communication skills are also helpful.
- 2 semesters General Biology with labs
- 2 semesters Anatomy and Physiology with labs
- 2 semesters General Chemistry with labs
- 2 semesters Organic Chemistry with labs
- 1 semester Biochemistry with lab
- 2 semesters General Physics with labs
- 1 semester General Psychology
- 1 semester English Composition: (some schools may require 2 semesters of English)
- Other recommended courses: jewelry making, sculpture, or ceramics to demonstrate manual dexterity. Generally, a grade below a C is not acceptable for prerequisite courses.
Dental programs offer either the DMD (Doctor of Medical Dentistry) or DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery). Although named differently, they are equivalent degrees.
The DMD and DDS have the same requirements, and both must complete the national Board Dental Examination for licensure. The difference lies in the school you attend. There are 35 accredited DDS degree schools and 20 accredited DMD degree schools.
Aptitude Test and Application
Dental schools require the Dental Admission Test, which is administered through the American Dental Association. The exam tests knowledge of the natural sciences, perceptual ability, reading comprehension and quantitative reasoning. Most students take the DAT in the spring of their junior year. Application to dental school starts in June prior to your final year of undergrad. Students apply through a centralized application service called AADSAS (American Association of Dental Schools Application Service).
Links and Additional Information
- American Dental Education Association (includes application information)
- American Dental Association (includes DAT information)
- TMDSAS — for applications to schools in Texas