A Guide to Becoming A Dentist

Dentistry is an excitingly popular career for individuals who are interested in oral health, medicine and simply assisting others. While becoming a dentist is an undertaking that requires years of study, it is a challenging field with rewards that make every sacrifice worth it.


If you are reading this, you are interested in becoming a dentist and you are unsure of the steps to take. Below is are the steps required of anyone before they can become a dentist:

  1. Gain a bachelor’s degree in any science related program. A degree in pre-dentistry is typically accepted, however it can be in any science course, as these programs will help you pass the prerequisites required by most dental schools. Science courses such as biology, physics, chemistry, anatomy, physiology and biochemistry are some of the prerequisites dental schools require before being accepted into their programs.

2. The aim is to get as many letters of recommendation as you can. The majority of dental schools require, in addition to prerequisite science courses and grades letters of recommendation. It is imperative that your letters are from people with in-depth knowledge about your characteristics and work ethic. This helps to make the letter a strong indicator of your abilities. Examples of people you can have write a letter of recommendation for you are past lecturers or dentists that worked with you during your previous studies.

3. The next step should be applying to dental schools. It is best to apply to at least two dental schools. You should however, only apply to dental schools that have been accredited by the American Dental Association.

4. Once you get accepted into a dental school, it is your mission to finish the appropriate coursework. Once that is done the dental school gives you a doctorate. The typical dental program lasts about four years and includes clinicals and coursework. You either get a DMD Doctor of Medical Dentistry or a DDS Doctor of Dental Surgery. Don’t be confused by these two different names, they simply mean the same thing. Depending on the dental school you get one or the other. Should you want to, you can specialise in a dentistry field, although this would take a couple more years.

5.Should you decide to be a specialised dentist rather than practicing general dentistry, you will have to get accepted into a postgraduate program or a residency. This usually lasts anything from 2 to 6 years. The length is dependent on the specialty chosen. There are 9 official dental specialties and they are: Endodontics, Dental Public Health, Radiology, Surgery, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Prosthodontics, Periodontics, Paediatric Dentistry, Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopaedics.

With this bit of information, you have the opportunity to find a dentist in yourself.