Dental degree

Dental degree

There are a number of academic degrees in dentistry offered by schools in various countries around the world. These include the following:

  • Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
  • Bachelor of Dentistry (BDent)
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS or BChD or BDentS)
  • Bachelor of Dental Science (BDSc or BDentSc)
  • Bachelor of Dental Medicine (BDM)
  • Licentiate in Dental Surgery (LDS)
  • Graduate Diploma in Dentistry (Grad Dip Dent)
  • Master of Dentistry (MDent)
  • Master of Dental Surgery (MDS)
  • Doctor of Dentistry (DD)[1][2]
  • Cirujano Dentista (CD)[citation needed]
  • Candidate of Odontology (Cand.Odont.)
  • Doctor of Medical Dentistry (Dr.Med.Dent.)

Each fully qualifies the holder to practice dentistry in at least the jurisdiction in which the degree was presented, assuming local and federal government licensure requirements are met.[3]


Australia and New Zealand

Australia has nine dental schools:

All except for Sydney and Melbourne usually accept a mixture of high school leavers and university graduates. Sydney (as of 2001) and Melbourne (as of 2010) are four-year graduate programs that require a previous bachelor's degree for admission. Post-graduate training is available in all dental specialties. Either the Master of Dental Surgery/Science (MDS/MDSc), Doctorate in Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) is awarded upon completion of a minimum of three years of specialty training.

New Zealand has only one dental school, the University of Otago Faculty of Dentistry. The Otago Faculty of Dentistry awards the Master of Community Dentistry (MComDent) for public health/community dentistry, and Doctorate in Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) for the rest of the dental specialties.

Both Australia and New Zealand recognize the educational and professional qualifications and grant professional licenses via reciprocity identical to the United States and Canada.

Additional qualifications can be obtained through the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) after the candidate has completed the Primary Examination (basic science examination in Anatomy, Histology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology and Microbiology) and the Final Examination (clinical subjects in dentistry). After the successful completion of the examinations and meeting the College requirements, the candidate is awarded the title of Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (FRACDS).

The United Kingdom General Dental Council had been recognizing the Australian and New Zealand dental qualification as registrable degree until 2000. Graduates who have applied for dental license registration in the United Kingdom now have to sit the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE), a two-part examination.

Australia and Canada have a reciprocal accreditation agreement which allows graduates of Canadian or Australian dental schools to work in either country.[4]


There are ten approved dental schools in Canada:

Several Universities in Canada offer the DDS degree, including the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Alberta, and Dalhousie University, while the remaining Canadian dental schools offer the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree to their graduates.

Additional qualifications can be obtained through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) administers examinations for qualified dental specialists as part of the dentistry profession in Canada. The current examinations are known as the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE). Successful completion may lead to Fellowship in the College (FRCD(C)) and/or may be used for licensure purposes.

Canada has a reciprocal accreditation agreement with Australia and the United States which allows graduates of Canadian dental schools to work in any of the 3 countries.


In India, training in dentistry is through a 5 year BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) course, which includes 4 years of study followed by one year of internship. As of 2010, there were a total of 291 colleges (39 run by the government and 252 in the private sector) offering dental education. This amounts to an annual intake of 23,690 graduates.[5]

Post graduate training is for three years in the concerned speciality. Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) is offered in the following subjects -

  • Prosthodontics
  • Periodontics
  • Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
  • Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics
  • Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics
  • Oral Pathology & Microbiology
  • Community Dentistry
  • Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
  • Oral Medicine Diagnosis and Radiology.

Dental education in India is regulated by the Dental Council of India.


In Israel there are two dental schools, The Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem, founded by the Alpha Omega Fraternity and The Tel Aviv University School of Dental Medicine in Tel Aviv. The two schools have 6-year program and provide Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degrees. In last decades, the students eligible to Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMedSc) degree after the first three years of training.

United States

In the United States, at least three years of undergraduate education are required in order to be admitted to a dental school; however, many dental schools require at least a bachelor's degree. There is no mandatory course of study as an undergraduate other than completing the requisite "pre-dental" courses, which generally includes one year of general biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, English, and higher level mathematics such as statistics and calculus. Some dental schools have requirements that go beyond the basic requirements such as psychology, sociology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology etc. The majority of pre-dental students major in a science but this is not required as some students elect to major in a non-science related field.

In addition to core prerequisites, the Dental Admission Test, a multiple choice standardized exam, is also required for potential dental students. The DAT is usually taken during the spring semester of one's junior year. The vast majority of dental schools requires an interview before admissions can be granted. The interview is designed to evaluate the motivation, character, and personality of the applicant.[citation needed] It is often a crucial step in the admissions process.[weasel words]

For the 2009-2010 application cycle, 11,632 applicants applied for admission to dental schools in the United States. Just 4,067 were eventually accepted. The average dental school applicant entering the school year in 2009 had an overall GPA of 3.54 and a science GPA of 3.46. Additionally, their mean DAT Academic Average (AA) was 19.00 while their DAT Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) score was 19.40.[6]

In the United States, DDS and DMD degrees are equivalent. The American Dental Association specifies:

The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. They are awarded upon graduation from dental school to become a general dentist. The majority of dental schools award the DDS degree; however, some award a DMD degree. The education and degrees are the same.[7]

Dental education and training

Dental school is four academic years in duration and is similar in format to medical school: two years of basic medical and dental sciences, followed by two years of clinical training (with continued didactic coursework). Before graduating, every dental student must successfully complete the National Board Dental Examination Part I and II (commonly referred to as NBDE I & II). The NBDE Part I is usually taken at the end of the second year after the majority of the didactic courses have been completed. The NBDE Part I covers Gross Anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology, and dental anatomy and occlusion. The NBDE Part II is usually taken during winter of the last year of dental school and consists of operative dentistry, pharmacology, endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, pain control, prosthodontics, orthodontics, pedodontics, oral pathology, and radiology. NBDE Part I scores are of importance when considering residency training after graduating from dental school.[citation needed]

After graduating, the vast majority of new dentists go directly into practice while a small, yet increasing, percentage of dentists apply to a residency program.[weasel words] Some residency programs train dentists in advanced general dentistry such as General Practice Residencies and Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residencies, commonly referred to as GPR and AEGD. Most GPR and AEGD programs are one year in duration but several are two years long or provide an optional second year.[citation needed] GPR programs are usually affiliated with a hospital and thus require the doctor to treat a wide variety of patients including trauma, critically ill, and medically compromised patients. Additionally, GPR programs require residents to rotate through various departments within the hospital, such as anesthesia, internal medicine, and emergency medicine, to name a few. AEGD programs are usually in a dental school setting where the focus is treating complex cases in a comprehensive manner.

Licensing examinations

To practice, a dentist must pass a licensing examination administered by an individual state or more commonly a region. There are a handful of states that maintain independent dental licensing examinations while the majority accept a regional board examination. The Northeast Regional Board (NERB), Western Regional Board (WREB), Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS), and Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA), Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA)[8] are the five regional testing agencies that administer licensing examinations. Once the examination is passed, the dentist may then apply to individual states that accept the regional board test passed. Each state requires prospective practitioners to pass an ethics/jurisprudence examination as well before a license is granted. To maintain one's dental license the doctor must complete Continuing Dental Education (CDE) courses periodically (usually annually). This promotes the continued exploration of knowledge. The amount of CE required varies from state to state but is generally 10-25 CE hours a year.

The completion of a dental degree can be followed by either an entrance into private practice, further postgraduate study and training, or research and academics.

South Africa

Training in South Africa generally comprises a 5 year degree, with 1 year compulsory medical service / internship. The country has 5 universities with dental faculties:[9]

Institution School Founded Location Programme(s)
University of KwaZulu-Natal Durban Diploma in Dental Therapy
University of Limpopo MEDUNSA Campus, Pretoria BDS
University of Pretoria School of Dentistry Pretoria B.Ch.D, MChD (Master of Dentistry), MSc Dentistry, PhD (Dentistry), DSc
University of the Western Cape Faculty of Dentistry Cape Town B.Ch.D
University of the Witwatersrand Johannesburg B.Ch.D

Until 2003, Stellenbosch University offered the B.Ch.D degree. In 2004 the dental faculties of The University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University merged and moved to The University of the Western Cape, which is currently the largest dental school in Africa.

Specialisation is through the College of Dentistry within the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, with certifications offered in oral medicine and periodontics, orthodontics, and prosthodontics. Research degrees are the M.Dent and Ph.D.. See also Medical education in South Africa.

United Kingdom & Ireland

Many universities award BDS, including The University of Manchester, The University of Glasgow, King's College London, and the University of Cardiff.

The Licentiate in Dental Surgery (L.D.S.) is a dental degree conferred by one of the Royal Colleges of Surgeons in England, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Ireland.

Dental Specialties

In addition to general dentistry, there are about 9 recognized dental specialties in the US, Canada, and Australia. To become a specialist requires one to train in a residency or advanced graduate training program. Once residency is completed, the doctor is granted a certificate of specialty training. Many specialty programs have optional or required advanced degrees such as a masters degree: (MS, MSc, MDS, MSD, MDSc, MMSc, MPhil, or MDent), doctoral degree: (DClinDent, DChDent, DMSc, PhD), or medical degree: (MD/MBBS specific to maxillofacial surgery and sometimes oral medicine).

The following are not currently recognized dental specialties in the US:

  • Anesthesiology (programs currently undergoing CODA accreditation and ADA review): 2–3 years
  • Oral medicine: 2–4 years
  • Special needs dentistry 3 years
  • Cosmetic Dentistry - ranges from a weekend course to a 1-year course depending on the certificate issuing agency.

Dentists who have completed accredited specialty training programs in these fields are designated registrable (U.S. "Board Eligible") and warrant exclusive titles such as orthodontist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, endodontist, pedodontist, periodontist, or prosthodontist upon satisfying certain local (U.S. "Board Certified"), (Australia/NZ: "FRACDS"), or (Canada: "FRCD(C)") registry requirements.


  1. ^ "International University of Cambodia". 
  2. ^ "Study in Russian Universities". 
  3. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". British Dental Health Foundation. 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-25. 
  4. ^ "The National Dental Examining Board of Canada - Certification Overview". 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  5. ^ "Statistics from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, India". Retrieved 2010-10-10. 
  6. ^ "". Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  7. ^ "DDS/DMD", American Dental Association
  8. ^ : Council of Interstate Testing Agencies
  9. ^ "World Dental Schools List". Retrieved 2011-09-27. 
  10. ^ "Orthodontist Training". American Association of Orthodontists. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  11. ^ "Endodontist Training". American Association of Endodontists. Retrieved 5 June 2010. [dead link]
  12. ^ "Periodontist Training". American Academy of Perodontology. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  13. ^ "Prosthoodntist Training". American College of Prosthodontics. Retrieved 5 June 2010. 
  14. ^ "Pediatric Dentist Training". American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. Retrieved 19 September 2010. 
  15. ^ "Dentistry | DOCTOR OF CLINICAL DENTISTRY (DClinDent) in Paediatric Dentistry". 2001-05-15. Retrieved 2011-09-27. 

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