Dentistry throughout the world

Dentistry throughout the world

Dentistry throughout the world is practiced differently, and training in dentistry varies as well.

"The Toothpuller"
--ascribed to Caravaggio (1571-1610)


Dentistry in Australia

Australian dentistry is overseen by the Australian Dental Council and the Dental Board of Australia while specialization is overseen by the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons. The professional body for dentists is the Australian Dental Association. Dentists trained in Australia must meet the entry requirements of one of the Australian institutions offering dental courses, and then complete the required full-time academic training leading to a dental degree. If dentists wish to specialize, they must complete extra study after having had clinical experience.

In order to practice dentistry in Australia (as of July 2010) you must obtain registration and licensing from the nationalized Dental Board of Australia. Generally, the only persons immediately entitled to apply to be registered as dentists are persons holding the qualifications of DDS, BDS, BDSc, BDent, BDentSc, DMD, MDent, or GradDipDent from an accredited Australian and New Zealand university. Usually registration will not be granted to a foreign graduate until he or she has passed the ADC examinations and/or completed a 2-year advance standing program in order to obtain a locally accredited dental qualification

The Universities of Adelaide, Western Australia, and LaTrobe all offer undergraduate dental degree courses of 5 years in length. Sydney University offers a graduate entry program which is 4-years duration and requires a previous bachelors degree for admission. Melbourne University also has a 4-year graduate entry dental program starting in 2011. The qualifications awarded by these schools satisfy the formal academic requirements for registration.

Admissions to an undergraduate dental school in Australia is often known as the most difficult admissions among other countries. Only 4% of all qualified applicants yearly pass the Australia's dental school admissions and get entry into dentistry programs.

Australian dental schools

Dentistry in New Zealand

New Zealand dentistry is overseen by the Dental Council [1], while specialization is also overseen by the Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons.

University of Otago is New Zealand's only dental school that offers the required academic training. Entry into New Zealand's only dental school requires the student to compete into the second year dentistry course via the Health Sciences First Year course [2]. Once in the course, students will start their dental education in their second year of University study. The total time to complete the course, including the first year competitive course, is 5 years of full-time academic study.

Dentistry in Brazil

Dental care is provided by both the private and public sector. However, private clinics are the most common place a person would go if a dentist is needed. Today, the private market is dominated by large companies that hire mostly recently graduated dentists. Nevertheless, there are thousands of small clinics spread throughout the country. The practice of dentistry in Brazil is overseen by Conselho Federal de Odontologia, a federal entity that coordinates the 27 State bodies. This institution has 340,000 registered dentists and 191 universities and/or colleges in Brazil.

Dentistry in Canada

The practice of dentistry in Canada is overseen by the National Dental Examining Board of Canada (NDEB), while specialization is overseen by the Royal College of Dentists. Today, Canada has about 16,000 dentists. Canadian dentistry is not publicly run (see Medicare (Canada)); however, some provinces [3] provide for free dental care for children and the elderly. Other Canadians are mostly covered by workplace dental plans, but many have to pay out-of-pocket.

For most of the early colonial period dentistry was a rare and unusual practice in Canada. In severe situations, barbers or blacksmiths would pull a tooth, but for many years Canada lagged behind European advances. The first dentists in Canada were United Empire Loyalists who fled the American Revolution. The first recorded dentist in Canada was a Mr. Hume who advertised in a Halifax newspaper in 1814.

During the first half of the 19th century, dentistry expanded rapidly. In 1867 the Ontario Dental Association was formed and in 1868 they founded Canada's first dental school in Toronto, the Royal College of Dental Surgeons of Ontario. The University of Toronto agreed to be affiliated with the dental school. As time passed, other Canadian universities also created dentistry programmes. However, the University of Toronto still has the largest dental school in Canada that features the most postgraduate research opportunities as well as certifications for all the dental specialties. The UBC Faculty of Dentistry supports five specialty programs being Prosthodontics, Endodontics, Orthodontics, Pedodontics and Periodontics.

Dental care is not covered by the Canadian health care system, as it is in many other countries with public health care.

Canadian dental schools

Dentistry in Chile

In Chile dentists require six years of post secondary education. The first dental school was established at the Universidad de Chile in the year 1888. Other institutions providing professional dental education in Chile are Universidad Austral de Chile Universidad de Concepción, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (since 2009), Universidad de Valparaíso, Universidad de Talca, Universidad Nacional Andrés Bello, Universidad Mayor, Universidad de los Andes, Universidad Diego Portales, Universidad del Desarrollo, Universidad San Sebastián and Universidad de Antofagasta

(Best universities in Chile are Universidad de Chile and Universidad de Concepción, "Revista Qué Pasa 2010")

Dentistry in Costa Rica

Dentistry is overseen by the Colegio de Cirujanos Dentistas de Costa Rica. Dentists complete 6 year courses from the University of Costa Rica in D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery), or similar courses from various private universities. Costa Rica is often cited as being one of the top ten countries in the world for medical tourism, including dentistry.

Dentistry in Egypt

Dentistry is taught in governmental and private dental schools in Egypt : 1/School of Dentistry, Misr International University (MIU) 2/school of oral & dental medicine, cairo university 3/school of dentistry, Ainshams university 4/school of dentistry, suez canal university 5/school of dentistry, Alexandria university 6/school of dentistry, Mansoura university 7/school of dentistry, Tanta university 8/school of dentistry, Alminia university 9/school of dentistry, Al-azhr university. The private schools have better facilities in education. There is a syndicate for all dentists which regulate the work in dental clinics in association with ministry of health. For any dentist to practise, he should be enrolled in the dental syndicate . The dentist should complete 5 years study course plus year for practice in his dental school or general hospitals in the country . Most governmental dental schools give degrees of bacheolar, master degree & PhD in all dental fields.

Dentistry in Europe

In all European countries, there exist public dental services and/or subsides that ensure that most (if not all) citizens have access to the dental services they require, regardless of their ability to pay. Information regarding the various levels of dental care provision throughout Europe can be found in the Manual of Dental Practice, published by the Council of European Dentists.[1]

Dentistry in Greece

Dentists in Greece complete a 5 year program that leads to the Degree of Dental Surgeon (equivalent to D.D.S). Two Universities in Greece provide training for Dentists: the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki. Except from undergraduate training, those institutions provide graduate degrees of the MS and PhD level as well as postgraduate training in all dental fields.

Dentistry in Hong Kong

To become a dentist in Hong Kong, one must complete the 5-year B.D.S. course in The University of Hong Kong. Students learn basic health sciences, dental sciences under a problem-based learning curriculum. Besides, formal training and supervised practice are prescribed. It is accepted that only after 5 years of such training would the trainees achieve a superior level of professional competence.

Graduates can enter general practice or pursue a specialist M.D.S. degree after gaining one to two years of working experience.

Before the dental school was established in the University of Hong Kong(in 1980), most of the practicing dentists obtained their dental degree from the Philippines.

Dentistry in India

In India, training in dentistry is through a 5 year BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) course, which includes 5 years study since 2008 (earlier, it was 4 years of study + 1 year 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.[2] Dental education in India is regulated by the Dental Council of India.

In most states, 15% of seats in state run Dental Colleges are filled through a national examination conducted by the CBSE (Central Board for Seconary Education). The remaining seats are filled up by the respective state's designated authority. Some autonomous universities conduct their own selection tests. Selection to privately run Dental Colleges vary and usually require payment of higher fees.

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.

Selection to postgraduate courses are through national / state entrance examinations and are very competitive. In addition, cerrtificate courses of 2 years duration are offered in Dental Mechanics and Dental Hygiene.

The First Dental College of India was established in Calcutta in 1924. It was then called Calcutta Dental College and Hospital and was established by Dr Rafiuddin Ahmed. Incidentally it was the first Dental College to be established in Asia. After his death on 9 February 1965, the college was renamed after him. The second dental college started in 1933 in Bombay - Nair Hospital Dental College (after Dr AL Nair). It iss run by the MCGM (Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai) and is the only dental college in the world to be run by a municipal of the top college in karnataka is Krishnadevaraya college of dental sciences (KCDS).

In India, street dentists often operate without licenses in large cities. These practitioners charge far less than conventional dentists and cater to those who cannot afford licensed dental care.[3]

Dentistry in Iran

In Iran dentists require six years of post secondary education. The whole program is one single degree of D.D.S. (Doctor of dental surgery). After this, those wishing to specialize in a particular field may pursue higher education. Upon graduation, a dentist may need to fulfill two years of military service(as a dentist in uniform for males) or governmental service(both males and females) in order to collect enough scores to start in private practice. The current universities offering Dentistry are:

Dentistry in Israel

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 provide Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degrees. In addition, there are several post-graduation training centers such as Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa and Barzilai Medical Center in Ashkelon. The post-graduation programs in the Sheba Medical Center in Tel Hashomer are held by the Medical Corps of the Israel Defense Forces.

Dentistry in Italy

In Italy dentists complete 6 years of undergraduate study to earn a degree. Nevertheless it is possible to agree on certain basic clinical competences common to all member states of the European Union.

The following is an example of one such clinical competency (excision of a buried tooth root): If a clinician is deemed to be clinically competent in the surgical removal of a buried root, this implies much more than the technical and surgical ability required to excise a buried piece of root from alveolus. It embraces a broad range of pre-clinical and clinical knowledge and understanding on which surgical treatment is based.

Dentistry in Malaysia

The first dental degree program in Malaysia was offered by University of Malaya. The qualification was moderated and recognised by the Malaysian Dental Council and one of the leading associations representing dental surgeons of Malaysia is the Malaysian Dental Association.

Dental surgeries (or better known as dental clinics)[4] in Malaysia are required to be registered and approved by the Ministry of Health Malaysia under the Healthcare Facilities And Services Act 1998.[5] It is a requirement that all dental surgeons hold an valid Annual Practising Certificate. Foreign dentists, that is, qualified dentists from other countries are not allowed to hold an annual practising certificate unless they are studying or lecturing at a higher-learning institute.

Dentistry in Malta

The first course leading to a degree in Dental Surgery, at the University of Malta, commenced in 1933. The qualification was recognized by the Medical Council of the United Kingdom in 1936.

Dental Surgery was established as a separate Faculty in 1954, previous to which the course was under the direction of a Board of Studies within the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery. The Faculty caters for an undergraduate intake of 8 students annually. A B.Ch.D Degree is awarded at the completion of the 5 year course.

Dentistry in the Netherlands


All practicing dentists must be subscribed in the national medical register called the BIG-Register. The registry can be freely consulted through the internet, if one wants to check if his or her dentist has got the right credentials.


The dental curriculum was just changed from a 5 years study to 6 years. There are three dental schools in the Netherlands:

  • Amsterdam (ACTA): a joint venture between the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and Free University of Amsterdam (VU)
  • Groningen University
  • Nijmegen University

The oldest dental education in the Netherlands used to be taught at the University of Utrecht. The faculty of dentistry in Utrecht was closed because of governmental economizing.

Dentistry in Norway

The 5-year dental education is offered at three universities:

All dentists in Norway are organized through "Tannlegeforeningen". Dental services are free for children. Some complicated procedures such as the fitting of prosthetics and some oral surgeries are partially covered by the national health service, usually at the rate of 50%.

Dentistry in Pakistan

History of dentistry in Pakistan starts even before the country's birth. Pakistan's premier and oldest dental institution 'De'Montmorency College of Dentistry' was established in 1934 at Lahore by then Governor of Punjab Sir Jeff Fitz Harway de' Montmorency. Later in 1974, Nishtar Institute of Dentistry joined the list. de'Montmorency College of Dentistry has a very rich heritage of academic and clinical excellence both before and after independence. The history of dentistry in Pakistan is in fact the story of progress of de'Montmorency College of Dentistry. At present there are 24 dental schools (public & private) throughout Pakistan, according to the Pakistan Medical and Dental Council the state regulatory body has upwards of 9822 registered dentists. The four year training culminates in achieving a Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) degree, which requires a further one year compulsory internship to be a registered dentist in Pakistan.

PAKISTANI DENTAL INSTITUTIONS:- Karachi Medical & Dental College, Karachi. Jinnah Medical & Dental College, Karachi. Baqai Dental College, Karachi. Fatima Jinnah Dental College, Karachi. Margalla College of Dentistry, Rawalpindi. FMH College of Medicine and Dentistry, Lahore. Sharif Medical & Dental College, Lahore. Dental Section, University Medical & Dental College, Faisalabad. Institute of Dentistry/CMH LMC, Lahore. Dr. Ishratul Ebad Institute of Oral & Health Sciences, Karachi. Altamash Institute of Dental Medicine, Karachi. Khyber College of Dentistry, Peshawar. Sardar Begum Dental College, Peshawar.

Dentistry in Peru

In Peru, dentists require six years of post secondary education in a University. There are several Universities that provides dental education. The three first study years are similar education to the Human Medicine schools, then fourth and fifth years are dental studies and practices in the school clinic, and the last year students have to accomplish evaluated and paid services in an public hospital and in a rural medical post (as there are no hospitals or doctors nearby, is frequent; see general medicine cases). Finally, students have to elaborate and support a thesis to obtain the Cirujano Dentista (C.D.) degree (Dental Surgeon). Dentistry is overseen by the Colegio Odontológico del Perú (COP).

Dental care in Peru is considerably less expensive than in USA, Mexico and other American, European or Asian countries and the registered Peruvian clinics have good quality level.

Peruvian dental schools


  • Universidad Nacional Mayor de San Marcos.
  • Universidad Nacional Federico Villarreal.
  • Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia.
  • Universidad de San Martín de Porres.
  • Universidad Inca Garcilaso de la Vega.
  • Universidad Alas Peruanas.
  • Universidad Privada San Juan Bautista.
  • Universidad Científica del Sur.
  • Universidad Norbert Wiener.
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas.


  • Universidad Católica Santa María.

Cerro de Pasco

  • Universidad Daniel Alcides Carrión.


  • Universidad Los Ángeles de Chimbote - ULADECH.


  • Universidad Andina del Cuzco.
  • Universidad Nacional De San Antonio Abad del Cuzco.


  • Universidad Peruana de los Andes.


  • Universidad Nacional Hermilio Valdizán.


  • Universidad Privada de Tacna.
  • Universidad Nacional Jorge Basadre Grohmann.


  • Universidad Nacional de Trujillo.
  • Universidad Privada Antenor Orrego.


  • Universidad José Carlos Mariátegui.


  • Universidad Nacional San Luis Gonzaga de Ica.


  • Universidad Nacional de la Amazonía Peruana - UNAP.
  • Universidad Científica del Perú - UCP.


  • Universidad Nacional del Altiplano.[6]

Dentistry in the Philippines

Most Filipino Dentists must earn a total of 6 years of dental school (2 years preparatory; 4 years proper) to obtain the degree Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.). Presently, the country has a total of 25 dental schools, in which the board licensing is administered and regulated by the Board of Dentistry of the Professional Regulation Commission.

Dentistry in Slovakia

In Slovakia, dentists complete 6 years of undergraduate study to earn a MDDr. (lat. Medicinae Dentalis Doctor) degree. A MDDr. graduate can perform the therapeutic interventions in area of restorative dentistry, prosthodontics and endodontics. For performing orthodontics and dentoalveolar surgery the post graduate course is required in length of 2 years. For oral and maxillofacial surgery the length of 4 yeats of post graduate course is recuired. Also the absolvent of general medicine (titled as MUDr.) can run course for oral and maxilofacial surgery, but the atestation course takes 5 years. Dental education is offered at two universities: Comenius University in Bratislava and University of Pavol Jozef Safarik in Košice. Junior graduates work under a skilled doctor for at least 3 years to receive their license from The Slovak Chamber of Dentists. Part of dental service is paid from health insurance but mostly treatment (fillings, prosthodontics) is paid cash by patient.

Dentistry in Sweden

The 5-year dental education is offered at four universities:

Most dentists in Sweden are organized through "Tandläkarförbundet" which also issues the scientific 'Swedish Dental Journal':

Dental care is provided at public and private dental offices. Dental services are free for everyone up to 20 years of age. From the age of 20 and upwards there is a fixed state refund which usually is, depending on the dentist's fee and what type of dentistry performed, around 10 % - 15 % of the total cost. For more expensive dental work above the age of 65 the patients only pay 7800 SEK (~ $1,000) plus the cost of the dental material that was used.

The English title given to dental graduates in Sweden is D.D.S (University Degree in Dental Surgery[7][8]) as well as a BSc (Bachelor of Science in Dental Science) until 2013. Due to the implementation of Bologna the dental high schools changed the title D.D.S to Degree of Master of Science in Dental Surgery and the BSc is replaced by Master of Science (120 credits) in Dental Science.[9][10][11][12]

All dentists in the European Union/EES are eligible to work in Sweden. Dentists with an exam outside EES are required to take a one year course at Karolinska in Stockholm.

Dentistry in Taiwan

All the dental schools are undergraduate entry in Taiwan. After graduating from high school, students are required to take a 6 year dental program to complete their DDS/DMD degree. Dental school admissions are competitive in Taiwan. Only students obtain top 3% of academic results in the Taiwan Joint College Entrance Exam for admission in Taiwan will be admitted. The tuition for dental schools are around TWD 70,000-75,000 (~USD 2,200-2,400) per semester. Students are also required to pay additional fees for tools and other materials most of time. Students should complete 5 years of medical basic and dental professional courses at their own universities ,followed by a year of internships before graduation. During summer vacation, clerkship is recommended for students to acquire experience for the future. The first dental school in Taiwan belonged to the School of Dentistry at National Taiwan University which was founded in 1953. There are currently 7 dental schools in Taiwan:

Dentistry in the United Kingdom

An NHS dentist performing an examination

In the United Kingdom, dentists complete 5 years of undergraduate study to earn a B.D.S. or BChD degree. After graduating most dentists will enter a V.T. (vocational training) scheme, of either 1 or 2 years length, to receive their full National Health Service registration. Dentists must register with the G.D.C. (General Dental Council), and meet their requirements as the governing body of the profession, before being allowed to practice.

See List of dental schools in the United Kingdom

Dentistry in the United States

In the United States dentistry is generally practiced by dentists who have completed a post-graduate course of professional education. With exception of rural Alaska, Dental therapists are not permitted to practice in the United States. Use of dental therapists, dental health aids, or dental hygienists to independently perform routine fillings or cleaning is strongly opposed by the American Dental Association, (the A.D.A.), the dentists' professional association. This has resulted in excellent but high-priced treatment which, however, fails to delivers services at a reasonable price to the lower social classes. With only a few exceptions, neither government-sponsored health care programs such as Medicare nor Medicaid cover routine dental treatment. As a result large sections of the population do without.[13][14] The worst conditions are in Kentucky and West Virginia.[15]

Rates for dental services have been rising rapidly, out pacing the rate of inflation. After falling for many years, the percentage of both adults and children with unfilled cavities began to rise in 2000 as did the percentage of adults with no teeth. Increasingly, people with adequate income to pay the fees are forgoing treatment.[13][14]

Dental therapists

Outside the United States, more than 50 countries allow technicians called dental therapists to drill and fill cavities, usually in children. In the U.S., most state boards of dentistry have blocked dental therapists from working, arguing that only dentists should be allowed to drill teeth, because it is an "irreversible surgical procedure" and "can lead to serious complications like infections or nerve damage".[13] The University of Minnesota is the first University in the United States to start a dental therapy program. [5]

Dental education in the United States

There are limited opportunities for dental education in the United States with only 4,440 graduating in 2003, down from 5,750 in 1982. There is little or no movement on the part of the American Dental Association, the ADA, or the states to expand dental education. Due to the hands-on training required, dental education is expensive and is not subsidized by the federal government.[13][14] The average dental student graduates with over $200,000 in debt.

In the United States, dentists earn either a D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery) or D.M.D.(Doctor of Dental Medicine) degree. There is no difference in the training for either degree. The degrees are equivalent, and recognized equally by all state boards of dentistry. There are 56 Accredited Dental schools in the United States requiring 4 years of post graduate study (except for one unique 3 year program at the University of the Pacific)[6]. Most applicants to dental school have attained at least a B.S. or B.A. degree, however, a small percentage are admitted after only fulfilling specific prerequisite courses. So unlike many other countries (other than US, Canada, and Australia), it usually takes more than 8 years to become a dentist. (List of dental schools in the United States) The difference relates to the history involved in the division of medicine and surgery in medical practice. There has been a recent movement to include a 5th year of education or residency that focuses on purely practical training in the clinical setting. In at least one state, New York, a state dental license can be received without taking the licensing exam (State Board Exam) upon completing this additional year of training (usually in the form of a GPR or AEGD).

Licensure is organized on three levels in most areas. Many dentists must pass National Boards, Regional Boards, and then take a jurisprudence exam accepted by their state to fulfill their requirements to get a state license. Not all states require or even accept regional boards. Although a state license is only valid in the issuing state, because of the regional boards a dentist may be able to apply for licensure in any other state within the jurisdiction of their regional board. There are many cooperative agreements between states that allow recognition of another state's license so as to procure a license either via "licensure by credentials" or "licensure by reciprocity." Although a national licensure exam has yet to be made, the American Dental Association (ADA) has worked with education and examining groups to form such an exam.[7]

A dentist may go on for further training in a dental specialty which require an additional 1 to 7 years of post-doctoral training. There are 9 recognized dental specialties. They are Endodontics (root canal treatment), Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics (gums), Prosthodontics (complicated dental reconstruction), Orthodontics (moving teeth), Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery (surgery of the mouth and face), and Dental Public Health. There is no specialty in esthetic dentistry or implantology, and no additional training is required for a dentist to make the claim of being an esthetic or cosmetic dentist. Dentists are forbidden to claim that they are specialists in areas of practice in which there is no recognized specialty. They may limit their practices to a single area of dentistry, and claim that their practice is limited to that area.

Any general dentist may perform those procedures designated within the enumerated specialties if they deem themselves competent. Many general dentists train in certain aspects of the above specialties such as the placement and restoration of dental implants, advanced prosthodontics and endodontics, and have limited or heavily focused their practices to these areas. When a general dentist performs any procedure that falls within the realm of a specialty, they are expected to perform with the same level of expertise as a certified specialist and are legally held to such standards with respect to any issues of malpractice.



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