The professional education of a dentist is obtained at a School of Dentistry, where the curriculum typically takes four years to complete. Students graduate with a doctorate, as either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD); these two degrees are entirely equivalent in terms of the program completed and the rights conferred for practice. Graduates then take a state licensure examination. There are optional internship or residency programs.

Each dental school has a set of prerequisites that must be completed (with letter grades) before admission to that school. For a complete list of dental schools and their prerequisites, consult the handbook:

Admission Requirements of U.S. and Canadian Dental Schools

Dentistry Resources

For information on the publication described above or other publications related to dental schools, meetings and conferences, government and legislature related to dentistry issues, awards and scholarships, and dentistry job listings, contact American Dental Education Association. For information related to the centralized application service for dental school admission, contact American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS)

For detailed information on dental education, schools, specialty programs, dental hygiene programs and information about membership in the American Dental Association (ADA), and meetings and conferences of the ADA, contact American Dental Association

For information about membership in the American Student Dental Association (ASDA), contact American Student Dental Association

For information on traditional private practice, alternatives to private practice, advanced specialty programs, and other dental careers, contact Careers in Dentistry

For information about the Postbacculaurate program at Southern Illinois University to assist educationally disadvantaged students to prepare for success in the dental profession, contact MEDPREP

For information, publications, and internet links about dentistry pertaining to children, contact American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry