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How Long Does It Take to Become a Dentist? A Career Guide to Dentistry

By indeed Editorial Team

July 23, 2021TwitterLinkedInFacebookEmail This article has been approved by an indeed Career Coach


Dentists are authoritative in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of coarse alveolar consonant conditions. Aspiring dentists can typically complete their education and train requirements in approximately eight years, but it can vary. In this template, we review the requirements to become a dentist and how long it takes to become one .

What is a dentist?

A dentist is a medical professional who specializes in oral health. They prevent alveolar consonant diseases and use diagnostic measures to evaluate dental problems. Dentists besides use tools to treat conditions like break teeth, misaligned teeth, periodontic disease and exposed tooth roots .

How long does it take to become a dentist?

It takes between six and eight years to become a dentist. The demand route to becoming a dentist will depend on a few factors, such as whether you choose a specialization. Specializations like becoming an oral surgeon or periodontist will require extra train and education. however, some students who choose not to specialize can shorten their time in school with a combined educational program. The watch factors can affect your timeline when becoming a dentist :

Type of program

Some aspirant dentists will complete four years in an undergraduate broadcast, followed by another four years in a alveolar consonant course of study. Dentistry programs that combine the undergraduate degree with dentistry training will typically allow students to complete the platform in about six years .


Whether or not you choose to specialize in an area of dentistry will besides influence your timeline, as specializations require extra educate .

Undergraduate major

The major that you pursue in your undergraduate program can affect how long it takes for you to become a dentist. For example, students who choose an undergraduate plan in areas such as biology, chemistry or pre-med may have to take fewer courses in alveolar consonant school. Some students may choose to pursue a double major to further train themselves for dental school, but a double major can besides take more time to complete .

Application results

admission to alveolar consonant school can be a competitive march. Students will need a good GPA and recommendations from former professors or employers. additionally, students will need a minimal mark on the state examination. The number of programs that you apply to and whether or not you are admitted into your prefer school can affect how long it takes to become a dentist. Related : letter of Recommendation for College Students

Responsibilities of a dentist

Dentists much have the play along responsibilities :

  • Promoting and educating full alveolar consonant health with patients
  • Taking X-rays to determine the cause of alveolar consonant annoyance
  • Cleaning teeth and routinely removing tooth disintegrate
  • Creating treatment plans to overcome common dental problems
  • Monitoring the development and placement of children ‘s tooth

additionally, dentists may choose to specialize in a certain area of dentistry. The American Dental Association recognizes nine specializations within the dentistry industry, which include :

General dentist

A general dentist typically works in a dental agency in a public health environment. They complete checkups and train patients on proper dental care practices but they may besides sometimes perform surgeries .


An orthodontist focuses on the alignment of the tooth. Orthodontists often work with children, teens and unseasoned adults in diagnosing and treating misaligned teeth.

Oral and maxillofacial pathologist

Oral and maxillofacial pathologists are chiefly focused on the diagnosis and discussion of oral diseases. They may work with dental patients with frequent cavities, periodontic disease, dental injury or cleft lips .

Pediatric dentist

A pediatric dentist specializes in the department of education and treatment of dental conditions affecting younger patients. Children and teens have unique dental concerns, as they are still growing and developing .

Oral and maxillofacial radiologist

An oral and maxillofacial radiologist focuses chiefly on the evaluation and interpretation of diagnostic images. oral radiologists will frequently assist other dental professionals when evaluating the results of X-rays .

Oral and maxillofacial surgeon

An oral surgeon focuses primarily on the surgical side of dentistry. They may conduct surgery to repair damaged tissue or to correct misalignments with the yack .


A periodontist focuses primarily on periodontic disease. They use diagnostic tools to determine the extent of periodontic disease and develop a treatment plan to address it .


A prosthodontist creates crowns and dental implants and focuses on improving the overall cosmetics of the tooth .


An endodontist treats tooth conditions that extend to the root of the tooth. They evaluate, diagnose and process diseases and injuries to the home separate of the tooth. alveolar consonant specializations can offer aspirant dentists even more career opportunities but extra education and discipline are required. dental students who want to specialize in one of the nine approved ADA specializations will need to enroll in a dental platform that offers the extra needed aim. Related : 12 Healthcare Jobs That Pay Well

Education levels for dentists

Becoming a dentist requires the completion of two degrees. First, students will need to complete an undergraduate academic degree before applying for dentistry programs. then, you will need to complete all the requirements of your dentistry program before taking the state examination. The trace department of education levels typically apply to dentists :

Bachelor’s degree

The completion of a bachelor ‘s degree is required before applying to any dental school. Some dental programs combine a bachelor ‘s degree with a Doctorate of Dentistry, which can decrease a student ‘s time in school by two years. After completing a bachelor ‘s degree, students will need to complete the Dental Admissions Test and begin applying for dentistry programs .

Dental program

After completing a bachelor ‘s degree, aspiring dentists will need to complete a dental program. This leads to a Doctoral degree, either a DDS or a DMD. Dental program students can expect to take courses in dental anatomy, biology, oral microbiology and dental radiology. Students will besides complete multiple internships and residencies during their dental program to receive on-the-job alveolar consonant prepare .

Specialty program

Students who want to specialize in a specific area of dentistry will need to complete extra trail. This aim normally takes topographic point in the form of a residency, which frequently takes between one and two years to complete. More in-depth specializations can require even more time to complete. Oral surgery, for example, requires a four-year residency or a six-year program to become a aesculapian doctor .

Completion of state exam

All dentists must be licensed in the state in which they want to rehearse. This requires the successful completion of the National Board Dental Exam. The National Board Exam for dentists consists of a bipartite written examination with 500 questions. dental students who have completed extra training in a alveolar consonant specialization will besides need to complete a board examination in that specialization. Related : definitive Guide to Internships

Types of dental degrees

Two types of degrees will qualify you to work as a dentist. These degrees include a Doctor of Dental Surgery and a Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry. The educational and license requirements for each one are the lapp. While they might sound like unlike degrees, the lone dispute is the dentistry plan that you attend. Some dentistry programs award the DDS, while others award the DMD. Your job opportunities as a dentist should not be affected by which type of dental degree you have .

Jobs similar to dentists

There are many careers to consider if you ‘re interest in becoming a dentist or entering the checkup field. here ‘s a list of 10 jobs that are similar to dentists : 1. dental hygienist 2. orthodontist 3. periodontist 4. medical biller 5. Dental assistant 6. chiropractor 7. Oral surgeon 8. aesculapian receptionist 9. clinical research worker

10. orthodontic assistant

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