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Dentistry is the field of oral health, comprised of health professionals who provide a range of oral health care instrumental in general public health maintenance and quality of life. Dentists also detect and treat for oral cancer and systemic conditions originating in the mouth. Dentists are the forefront of a research field that comprises developments in dental implants, computer generated imaging, and cosmetic and aesthetic procedures.

Dental Medicine (DDS/DMD)

Becoming a dentist requires four years in dental school after college to attain either a degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD), depending on the school. Despite perpetual confusion over the name difference in these degrees, the training each entails is very much the same. To be licensed, dentists must pass certain state tests as well.

It is recommended that students apply to dental school at least one year in advance, and taking the DAT (Dental Admissions Test) is required. While many dental schools don’t post their acceptance rate, recent statistics have pegged the national acceptance rate at 42.5%, and each year applications to dental school are on the rise.

For more information on dentistry and the dental admissions process, see the American Dental Education Association (ADEA) Official Guide to Dental Schools.