Dentistry involves maintaining the health of the teeth, gums, and other hard and soft tissues of the oral cavity. The majority of dentists engage in general practice, focusing on oral diagnosis, prevention, and rehabilitation. Dental school includes four years of study, and most dentists begin practicing immediately after they graduate. However, some pursue one or more years of post-graduate study.
Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) and Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) are the names of the two dentistry degrees.
Here you will find information on pre-dental required coursework for, the required dental school admission test, and other useful websites related to the dental profession.
Many dental schools require the following coursework for admission. However, different schools may have different pre-requisite coursework so be sure to check with individual schools about their admission requirements. Coursework requirements tend to resemble those for medical school.
Some dental schools require at least 8 credits of introductory biology and at least 4 additional intermediate or advanced biology credits. At Edgewood, we recommend the following Biological Sciences courses for a pre-dental route:
- Bio 151 General Biology: Cell Biology and Ecology (or)
- Bio 181 Honors General Biology: Cell Biology and Ecology
- Bio 152 General Biology: Genetics and Evolution (or)
- Bio 182 Information Flow in Living Systems – Honors
- Bio 210 Anatomy and Physiology I
- Bio 211 Anatomy and Physiology II
- Bio 312 Microbiology
- Bio 401 Genetics
Additional 400-level Biological Sciences courses may be useful for admission to and success in dental school. These include but are not limited to:
- Bio 402 Cell and Molecular Biology (offered even falls)
- Bio 406 Medical Microbiology (offered odd springs)
- Bio 408 Immunology
- Bio 410 Pathology
- Bio 425 Comparative Animal Physiology (offered even springs)
Most dental schools require at least one semester of biochemistry in addition to general and organic chemistry coursework. At Edgewood College, students must complete one year of general chemistry and one year of organic chemistry before enrolling in biochemistry. Here is the sequence of courses at Edgewood:
- Chem 120 General Chemistry I
- Chem 121 General Chemistry II
- Chem 321 Organic Chemistry I
- Chem 323 Organic Chemistry II
- Chem 340 Biochemistry
Most dental schools require 6 credits of English, or literature taught in English, and emphasize composition. Some schools also recommend a course on public speaking.
Most dental schools require mathematics and/or statistics. We advise that you take at least one math course and one course in statistics, such as:
- Math 114A Precalculus A: Algebra
- Math 114B Precalculus B: Trigonometry
- Math 231 Calculus I
- Math 121 Statistics
Many dental schools require a one-year, or 8-credit, physics sequence. At Edgewood we recommend either of the following two sequences (the second-sequence, Phys 201 and 202, is calculus-based):
- Phys 130 and 131 General Physics I and II
- Phys 201 and 202 College Physics I and II
Social Sciences & Art
Most dental schools require at least one semester of psychology. Some schools also require business or economics courses since most dentists work in private practice.
Drawing, three-dimensional design, and/or sculpture courses may also be required to enhance hand-eye coordination and to craft teeth. At Edgewood, some course possibilities include:
- Psy 101 General Psychology
- Art 114 Drawing - Non Art Majors
- Art 117 Ceramics for Non Art Majors
- Art 216 Three-Dimensional Design
Dental schools require the American Dental Association's (ADA) dental admission tests (DAT). The exam tests knowledge of the natural sciences (biology, general chemistry, and organic chemistry), perceptual ability, reading comprehension, and quantitative reasoning.
Students take the computer-based DAT at Prometric Test Centers. A fee assistance program is available. Examinees may request the fee assistance forms by e-mailing (firstname.lastname@example.org) or calling (800.232.2162) the ADA Department of Testing Services.
Most students take the DAT in the spring of their junior year. If you want to retake the exam, you must wait 90 days.