Choosing a Health Profession
Allied Health Program
How to Prepare
Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.)
or Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.)
Dentistry is a dynamic health profession committed to maintaining oral health. Dentists examine teeth and tissues of the mouth to diagnose and treat diseases or abnormalities. Students preparing for dental school follow the typical prehealth curriculum exactly. Like medical school, dental school consists of four years of postgraduate study.
Upon receipt of degree, newly-graduated dentists many enter practice immediately or continue specialty work in graduate school. Postdoctoral Dental Education programs are available in the following areas:
In order to gain a better understanding of what the practice of dental medicine entails, it is highly recommended that you gain firsthand exposure by shadowing a dentist. The experience will not only confirm your desire to practice dental medicine but will also make you a competitive dental school candidate. You are encouraged to contact a dentist where you are attending school or home town and ask if they would allow you to shadow. Most dentists are happy to help and want to give you the experience necessary for dental school.
Applications for dental school are submitted online through the American Association of Dental Schools Application Service (AADSAS), which is a centralized application process that allows applicants to complete one central application form and apply to participating dental schools. Eighty-five percent of dental schools are AADSAS participants; please look on the ADEA website for a list of participating schools. The student should apply at the earliest possible date, which varies by school.
The Dental Admission Test (DAT) is required. Although the DAT and MCAT are very similar, there are two major differences: The DAT contains no test questions on physics, and the DAT has a section on three-dimensional perception (Perceptual Ability Test).
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