How Long Does It Take To Become A Dentist?

A gratifying job decision can include choosing to become a dentist. 

You get to make a difference in people’s lives every day while also helping them maintain and enhance their oral health. 

However, it takes a lot of effort and commitment to become a dentist. 

The required education and training can often be expensive and time-consuming to complete. 

What follows is a response to the question, “How long does it take to become a dentist? ” is dependent on a number of elements, such as: 

  • what kind of dentist you hope to become 
  • current degree of training and education

Also, Dentists are specialists in oral health, who play a crucial part in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of common dental disorders. 

It can vary, but most aspiring dentists finish their educational and training requirements in roughly eight years. 

In this article, we examine how long it takes to become a dentist, the typical time it takes to enter the field, the duties of dentists, and some of the recognized dental specializations.

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What is a Dental School like?

Prerequisites for admission to the majority of dental school programs include a four-year bachelor’s degree. 

There is no necessary major, however chemistry, biology, and physics are popular choices for undergraduate dentistry students. 

Take the Dental Admission Test in order to get admitted into a dental program (DAT). 

The DAT includes four exams that include natural sciences, perceptual abilities, literary comprehension, and quantitative thinking. 

In the event that you are approved, you will start a four-year program to earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. 

In their first and second years of dentistry school, students take lectures and labs in health-related subjects such anatomy, biochemistry, histology, microbiology, pharmacology, and physiology.

Additionally, they will explore the fundamental concepts of oral diagnosis and care. 

Students in their third and fourth years will start treating patients under the supervision of a professional dentist. 

You’ll have the ability to see community clinics, medical facilities, and outpatient clinics during this time. 

In order to complete your study throughout these years, practice management courses will also instruct you in efficient communication and company management. (ADA) 

Students need to obtain a license in order to work as a dentist. 

This entails passing a written and practical exam in your state in addition to graduating from a dental school that has been granted accreditation by the Commission on Dental Accreditation.

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Is Attending a Dental School Worth It?

1. An Expanded Need 

The need for dental care is increasing along with the population in the United States. 

A growing need for more dental professionals is also influenced by other factors, such as changes to health care regulations and the expectation that retirees will leave more vacancies unfilled. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of dentists will increase by 16 percent between 2012 and 2022, which is a quicker rate than the national average for all occupations in the country. 

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2. A Satisfying Career 

Dentists may literally change the life of their patients by conducting corrective treatments, enhancing bites, filling in tooth gaps, and providing pain relief through extractions and fillings.

By providing their services to communities and people that cannot afford or access dental care, dentists also have a unique opportunity to improve the quality of life in their local area. 

Some dental professionals donate their time and expertise to treat patients at public health clinics, while others go abroad to spread the word about preventive care and give aid to those in need.

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3. Numerous Career Possibilities

Although the majority of dental school graduates open general dentistry private practices, the field offers a wide range of career opportunities for dentists, including academic pursuits, work in a hectic hospital emergency room, taking on clinical positions abroad, conducting advanced research in a lab, offering consultation, and authoring textbooks. 

All of these opportunities can be pursued at any point in a dentist’s career.

4. The capacity to run a business

Almost 90% of dentists provide care in private practices, where they have varied degrees of autonomy and scheduling freedom as a result of opening a dental office. 

Additionally, there is a good likelihood of maintaining a successful self-employed business. 

According to a study, dentist clinics were the third-best category for start-up enterprises with the highest chance of success.

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What Schooling Do You Need to Be a Dentist?

Two degrees must be earned before becoming a dentist. 

Before applying to dentistry programs, individuals must first earn their undergraduate degree. 

Before sitting for the state exam, you must finish all of your dental program’s requirements. 

Dental professionals often possess the following degrees of education: 

1. Undergraduate degree 

Any dental school requires applicants to have a bachelor’s degree before they may submit an application. 

A student’s time in school could be cut by two years if they enroll in one of the dental programs that combines a bachelor’s degree with a doctorate in dentistry. 

After earning a bachelor’s degree, candidates must pass the Dental Admissions Test and start applying to programs in dentistry.

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2. Dental Education 

A dental program must be finished by aspirant dentists after earning a bachelor’s degree. 

This results in either a DDS or a DMD as the doctoral degree. 

Students in dentistry programs can anticipate taking courses in oral microbiology, biology, dental radiography, and dental anatomy. 

Throughout their dentistry degree, students will also do numerous residencies and internships to gain hands-on dental training.

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3. Specialization Program 

It will be necessary for students to complete further training if they want to specialize in a particular branch of dentistry. 

Residency programs, which typically last one to two years to complete, are the most common way that this training is conducted. 

It could take considerably longer to complete more in-depth specialities.

For instance, obtaining a medical doctorate in oral surgery necessitates a six-year or four-year residency program.

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4. Finishing the State Test 

Every dentist needs to have a license in the state where they want to work. 

The National Board Dental Examination must be passed in order to do this. 500 questions are divided into two parts of the dentists’ National Board Exam. 

A board exam in that specialization will also be required of dental students who have completed extra training in that field.

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How Long Does It Take To Become a Licensed Dentist in 2023?

The training period for becoming a dentist is six to eight years. 

Your specific path to become a dentist will rely on a number of variables, including your decision to specialize. 

It will take more training and education to specialize in a field like oral surgery or periodontology. 

A blended educational curriculum, however, can help some students who opt not to specialize and shorten their time in school. 

Your path to becoming a dentist may be impacted by the following variables:

Program type: Some aspirants in the profession of dentistry will spend the first four years of their education in an undergraduate program, then another four years in a dental program. 

Students can usually finish their dental education in around six years if they enroll in programs that combine their undergraduate education with dental training. 

Specialization: Since specialities call for more training, your decision to specialize in a particular area of dentistry will also affect how long it will take you to complete it. 

Major in undergraduate studies: The length of time it takes you to become a dentist might be influenced by the major you choose in your undergraduate program. 

For instance, students may need to take fewer classes in dentistry school if they chose an undergraduate program in biology, chemistry, or pre-medicine.

Application outcomes: Getting into dentistry school might be difficult. Students will require a strong GPA and endorsements from prior teachers or companies. 

The state exam must be passed with a minimum grade as well.

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How Much Does It Cost to Become a Licensed Dentist in 2023?

A dental student might anticipate spending between $151,508 (for in-state, public school) and $268,348 (for private school) over four years. 

Adding these expenses definitely sounds intimidating if you’re going straight from undergrad to dental school. 

However, the BLS reports that the median annual compensation for dentists is $156,240, while the top ten percentile earns more than $208,000. 

Additionally, there are other ways to pay for dentistry school. 

Payments can be made more convenient and automatically through specialized loans, grants, scholarships, and cheap programs. 

The four years you invest in dentistry school will pay off for the rest of your life. 

You’ll be better prepared to make choices that enhance your future and lay the groundwork for a fulfilling career with the correct resources and research.

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Salary and Job Outlook for Dentists after Study

The average net salary for a dentist working in private practice in 2013 was $283,900 for specialists and $180,950 for general practitioners, according to the American Dental Association’s Health Policy Institute. 

The average pay received makes dentistry one of the most lucrative professional alternatives in the United States, despite the fact that the majority of dentists start their own firms.

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In conclusion, the path to becoming a dentist is one that is arduous. 

You can start your path right away by excelling in your science courses and engaging in extracurricular activities that will help you get ready for a career in dentistry. 

When you are prepared to apply to dental schools, you will have the knowledge and practical experience required to succeed as a dentist.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What area of dentistry pays the most well? 

In dentistry, there are so many variables that it is impossible to say which specialty pays the most. 
The amount of patients you see each day, for instance, may have an impact on your income. 
Depending on where in the nation they work, dentists’ income may vary. 
The average medium general dentist earned $164,000 a year in 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. 
The average yearly salary for orthodontists and oral surgeons was $208,000.

What does a dentist find difficult? 

Even though many people probably don’t realize it, dentistry is an extremely physically demanding profession. 
Dentistry is physically taxing because it requires one to perform precise, time-consuming work with their hands in a limited space and to keep their eyes trained on a small region through loupes for extended periods of time.

Is dentistry school challenging? 

Absolutely, dental school is challenging. The majority of pupils have trouble with a lot of studying. In order to get admitted to dental school, candidates must exhibit a wide range of abilities, both theoretical and practical.

Should I pursue a career in dentistry? 

In addition to preserving a healthy work-life balance, the capacity for creative expression, and a lengthy, healthy career, becoming a dentist or oral surgeon gives you the opportunity to enhance the quality of life and well-being for your patients. 
The field of dentistry offers countless prospects.

Why do people choose to become dentists? 

You can work alone in dentistry. In order to fulfill their unique requirements and ambitions, dentists can successfully juggle their personal and professional life. 
Private practice, teaching, research, public health, and administration are just a few of the private and public settings where dentistry offers opportunities.



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