In the United States, you must first complete a Bachelor’s degree in a related field such as math, chemistry, biology or physics. Then, you need to write the Dental Admission Test (DAT). Your score on the test is often a reliable predictor or how you will do in dental school, but it isn’t the only consideration that evaluators think about. Personality plays an important role as well. In order for you to become a dentist, you must pass exams at the end of a properly accredited program in order to obtain a liscence to practice dentistry. A Bachelor’s Degree takes 4 years and dental school takes an additional 3 to 4 years depending on the program.
There are two types of specializations to pursue; a Doctor of Medical Dentistry and a Doctor of Surgical Dentistry. Both professions deal in the care of mouth and teeth tissues. There are various subprofessions within the field that you can specialize in:
Pediatric Dentistrty deals with the dental health of children and teenagers.
Orthodontist – construct and install braces and retainers for structural problems. You will need one year of internship plus 3 additional years of specialization.
Periodontist – deals with the gums and other supportive structures for teeth. You will need an additional 2 to 3 years of specialization after completing dental school.
Endodontist – mainly perform root canals. You will need an additional 2 to 3 years after completing dental school.
Oral-Maxillofacial Surgeon – perform reconstructive surgery. Their schooling is the longest because there is crossover into the other surgical fields. From graduation of high school to graduation as this surgeon, you are looking at 14 to 16 years.
Prosthodontist – deals with constructing dentures and replacing missing teeth. You will need 3 or more years of additional training after completing dental school.