Dentists - Educational Background and Training

Dentists go through a lot of years in college before actually graduating and are able to practice. The amount of time that medical students spend on their education is understandable considering that they are dealing with the health and well being of an individual. Usually, if not always, students who graduate from high school should graduate from a college course with a bachelor's degree before they can apply for a dental school. Many aspiring medical or dental students complete their Bachelor's degree with a course that is somewhat connected to medicine or dentistry. This somehow gives them a background of what they can expect from the dental school. Usually, these degrees take at least four to six years to finish. The goal of dentists all over the world is to promote good oral health. To be able to do this, they need to go through several years of college, dental school and specialty courses if they want to. General practitioners do not need to specialize while specialist can also take on tasks that general practitioners usually do.

Dental College

Before applying for a reputable dental college, the aspiring student should have a Bachelor's degree. Future dentists will benefit more if their Bachelor's degree courses are connected to medicine since these give them a background of thongs to come. Sciences and other related courses are welcomed by most colleges that offer dentistry. There are two basic dental courses, (DDS) Doctor of Dental Surgery and (DMD) Doctor of Dental Medicine. In many cases of accredited colleges, those who take up Bachelor's degrees in sciences and related courses can have some of the subjects credited when they enter dentistry. This helps to lessen their load and the time that they will spend in some courses. Before that, prospective applicants must also present their DAT scores to the colleges of their choice. DAT is the Dental Admissions Test that is a requirement for those who wish to enter dentistry. High scores in this test along with good grades from the Bachelor's degree course related to science can lead to admission.

Courses in general dentistry usually take around four to six years to complete, depending on the performance of aspiring dentists. Included in the course are clinical skills, dental treatment and diagnosis as well as pathology. Externship comes in the fourth year and they are required to do rotation for this. During the fourth year the student can take the National Board Dental Exams to be able to practice this field of medicine. In some places, the exams take place before the fourth year.


Specialization can be taken up after the fourth year of general dentistry or after they graduate and pass their Board Exams. Continuing education is an option that many dentists go for after dental school. There are not a lot of specializations in this field of medicine and they include, but are not limited to, pediatrics, orthodontics, cosmetic dentistry and surgery in the oral and maxillofacial areas.

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