Dentists diagnose and treat problems with a patient’s teeth, gums, and other parts of the mouth. They also administer advice for care and prevention of future dental problems.
"Dentistry is the branch of the healing arts and sciences devoted to maintaining the health of teeth, gums and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity and adjacent structures. A dentist is a scientist and clinician dedicated to the highest standards of health through prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of oral diseases and conditions." (ADEA, 2010)
Dentists can practice in several clinical fields including general dentistry, dental public health, endodontics (dental nerves and pulp), orthodontics, pediatric dentistry, periodontics (tissue and bone supporting teeth), and oral and maxillofacial pathology, radiology, and surgery.
As an undergraduate student, you may choose any major in preparation for attending dentistry school. Dentistry schools do not have a specific preference on a particular major, so you are encouraged to choose a major based on your own personal interests and strengths. What’s important is that you have completed the prerequisite courses required by the institution you are applying to.
Requirements may vary from school to school, so you will want to research different program requirements. In general, most dental schools will expect applicants to have completed the following types of courses:
|Course||Course Title||Required or Recommended|
|CHEM 150||General Chemistry I||Required|
|CHEM 150L||General Chemistry I Lab||Required|
|CHEM 210||General Chemistry II||Required|
|CHEM 210L||General Chemistry II Lab||Required|
|CHEM 350||Organic Chemistry I||Required|
|CHEM 355||Organic Chemistry I Lab||Required|
|CHEM 360||Organic Chemistry II||Required|
|CHEM 365||Organic Chemistry II Lab||Required|
|CHEM 400||Biochemistry I||Recommended|
|CHEM 405||Biochemistry I Lab||Recommended|
|BIOL 111||Cell Biology||Required|
|BIOL 111L||Cell Biology Lab||Required|
|BIOL 115||Organismal Biology||Required|
|BIOL 115L||Organismal Biology Lab||Required|
|BIOL 323||Human Anatomy||Recommended|
|BIOL 323L||Human Anatomy Lab||Recommended|
|BIOL 341L||Genetics Lab||Recommended|
|BIOL 349||Human Physiology||Recommended|
|BIOL 349L||Human Physiology Lab||Recommended|
|BIOL 350L||Microbiology Lab||Recommended|
|MATH 261||Calculus I||Recommended|
|BIOL 275, MATH 234, PSY 230L||Statistics||Required|
|PHYS 160/L or PHYS 200/L||College/General Physics I & Lab or Physics I with Calculus & Lab||Required|
|PHYS 161/L or PHYS 201/L||College/General Physics II & Lab or Physics II with Calculus & Lab||Required|
|PSY 113||General Psychology||Recommended|
*Other courses may be required/recommended by specific programs. You are responsible for knowing the requirements for each individual program. Policies on AP, IB and community college credits vary by institution.
Find a complete listing of dental schools and their specific requirements.
DAT: Dental Admissions Test
The current DAT focus on the four sections below:
- Survey of Natural Sciences (biology, chemistry, organic chemistry)
- Perceptual Ability Test
- Reading Comprehension
- Quantitative Reasoning (algebra, geometry, trigonometry, etc.)