Dentists treat problems with teeth or mouth tissue. They may clean, extract, provide braces, or perform corrective surgery on the teeth or mouth. Most dentists are solo practitioners who have a general practice that handles many different dental needs. Other dentists may specialize in one of several specialty areas including: orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, pediatric dentistry, or prosthodontics. Dental schools require a minimum of 2 years of college-level courses, regardless of the major chosen, but most schools require incoming students to have at least a Bachelor's degree. They also require test scores from the Dental Aptitude Test (DAT), which evaluates general academic ability, comprehension of scientific information, and perceptual ability.
Pre-Requisite Course Work
Pre-requisite requirements vary by dental program, so be sure to find out the specific requirements for the programs you are interested in. However, most require the following prior to admission:
- One year of major's biology (Bio 106 and lab and Bio 113 and lab)
- Two years of chemistry (Chem 150, 151, 250, and 251 all with associated labs)
- Biochemistry (Chem 311)
- One year of physics (Phys 201 and 202) or (Phys 217 and 218)
- Microbiology (Bio 208)
- English composition (Comp 150 and 250 or Comp 250 and 350)
Other recommended courses:
- Cell Biology (Bio 381),
- Human Anatomy (Bio 233)
- Human Physiology (Bio 234 or Bio 326)
- Business management (BA 301)
Application Procedures & Timeline
Most dental schools have a centralized application web site - the Associated American Dental School Application Service (AADSAS). The site opens May 15 and is available for submission of application materials through February 1. Although the web site is open during this period, do not wait until deadlines approach to submit your application. Each dental school has its own application deadline and AADSAS does not send your application to a school if your application is received by AADSAS after the school's deadline. You must also submit official transcripts - sent directly from the registrar's office - from all colleges and universities to AADSAS, as well as your DAT scores. This will require planning ahead so that your DAT scores will be available for submission when your application is due.