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How to Become a Dentist: Everything You Need to Know

Is it difficult to become a dentist? What is the dental career path like, and how may I improve my chances of pursuing my chosen profession?

This article will explain how to become a dentist, as well as provide you with tips on how to get started so that you can take full advantage of your chances of becoming a Dentist or Orthodontist In Raleigh.


How to Become a Dentist

Becoming a dentist entails a great deal of money spent on education. To apply to most dental institutions, you will need a bachelor’s degree, with only a few institutions providing accelerated admissions after just two or three years of undergraduate study.

Dental schools don’t care what specific major you choose; instead, they want to see that you’ve completed dental school requirements, which include various courses (particularly in the sciences), a DAT score, letters of recommendation, a dental school personal statement, and relevant extracurriculars.

A DDS or a DMD is the degree awarded to those who complete dental school. These degrees are equivalent in all respects, with the same accreditation authority and course guidelines.

The difference between the two is explained in a few words. The first dental school in the United States was the Baltimore College of Medicine, which began offering the DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) degree in 1842. Shortly after, Harvard established a dental school. They chose to offer a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree because all of their degrees are in Latin. Since then, institutions have voted on which credential to give out, with two-thirds giving the DDS.

How Difficult Is It To Become A Dentist?

The years of education required, the financial cost of education and establishing a dental practice, as well as the competitive dental school application process, are all difficult aspects about becoming a dentist.

To be accepted to dental school, you’ll need to show a strong academic performance. Dental school acceptance rates currently stand at about 55 percent nationally—that is, 45 percent of applicants each year don’t enroll anywhere—and gaining admission will require exceptional academic achievement. The average college GPA and DAT score for successful dental school applicants have remained consistent in recent years, with the most prestigious institutions boasting considerably higher averages.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Dentist?

The typical time it takes to become a dentist is eight years: four years as an undergraduate and four years as a dental student. If you want to specialize, you’ll need to complete a dental residency (more on that later).

There is another route to dentistry for high school students who are completely dedicated to the profession. BS/DDS programs, also known as “direct dental programs,” link an undergraduate institution and a dental school, allowing students to attend both straight out of high school.The majority of these programs are spread out over seven or eight years, though there are a few that can be finished in as little as six or five years.

Dental residency programs are available in numerous locations.

Dental practice is a broad specialty. Dental careers include academics, private practice, public health, and more. During a career, a dentist could work in several different settings, such as public health to private practice before returning to academics.

Dentistry has a number of specialties, in addition to becoming a general or family dentist. The American Dental Association (ADA) recognizes 12 dental specialities within the field:

Dental anesthesiology

Dental public health


Oral and maxillofacial pathology

Oral and maxillofacial radiology

Oral and maxillofacial surgery

Oral medicine

Orofacial pain

Orthodontics and dentofacial orthopedics

Pediatric dentistry



To study dentistry as a specialty, you must complete a residency following dental school. The majority of residencies are two to three years in length, with oral and maxillofacial surgery requiring four to six years. Some institutions pay students stipends while others demand that students pay tuition and may be rather expensive.

Tips For High School Students Who Want To Be Dentists

If you’re a high school student interested in dentistry, there are several things you can do to ensure your success.

1. Talk to and shadow dentists.

Spending time with individuals who are already in that line of work is one of the most effective methods to find out more about a profession. The majority of the time, getting started is as simple as making contact with your own family dentist. Make contact with your pals and relatives to see if anyone knows a dentist and would be willing to introduce you.

2. Prepare academically in the sciences.

Science classes such as biology, chemistry, anatomy, pharmacology may be required throughout your dental career. Taking science courses in high school will help you prepare for college by giving you a solid foundation.

High school science classes can also assist you in determining whether you will like any of the topics that would be covered in dental school. If biology isn’t your favorite subject, don’t give up hope; many dentists and dental students majored in the humanities, business, or other disciplines. For others, obtaining a science degree is a stepping stone to becoming a dentist. You should make sure you know what the requirements for dental school are, regardless of how you intend to use your education.

3. Participate in interesting extracurricular activities.

If you decide to pursue a career as a dentist, you’ll be dealing with and giving healthcare to patients on a daily basis. Many patients will visit you with serious dental issues. To gain the abilities you’ll need to serve others, engage in meaningful extracurricular activities that provide you hands-on experience working with the general public.

Final remarks

The road to becoming a dentist is difficult. You may begin your adventure today by excelling in your scientific classes and participating in outside activities that will help you get ready for a career as a dentist. You’ll be well-equipped with the talents and experiences you need to become an outstanding dentist when you’re ready to apply to dental school.

At Engstrom & Hamilton Orthodontics, we are experts in our field and enjoy offering braces, Invisalign, and other orthodontic treatments. Our soft and courteous staff, as well as our caring and competent doctors, are certain to amaze you. With a personalised treatment plan and answers to any and all of your queries, we will expertly guide you through your orthodontic journey.


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