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Dental Degrees: All you need to know

Dental Degrees:All you Need to know

There are several online programs that can help you start a career in dentistry, but more training may be required to pursue your career of choice. Most dentists complete their undergraduate work in biology or a similar science degree before earning their master's or doctorate in dentistry. A solid foundation in science is useful for those studying a dental degree because most programs focus on anatomy, pharmacology, and physiology.

About Dental Degrees ➤

Dental degrees allow students to work in the dental community as a dentist. There are many types of dental degrees, including:
  • Doctor of Dentist Surgery (DDS)
  • Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM)
  • Master of Dental Surgery (MDS)
  • Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD)
There are also undergraduate dental degrees, such as:
  • Bachelor of Dentistry
  • Bachelor of Dental Surgery
  • Bachelor of Dental Medicine
  • Bachelor of Oral Health in Dental Science

  • Do I Have to Have a Master’s Degree to Become a Dentist?

To become a dentist, things work a little differently than other fields. A student with a bachelor’s degree does not need a master’s to obtain a doctoral degree in the subject. Instead, students go straight from finishing their undergraduate degree to working in the dental field for training and work experience or go on to obtain their doctoral degrees. It is common for dental assistants or hygienists to return to school after working for a few years to become a dentist. After working in a dental environment for a while, students see the dentist at work and often want to obtain an education that will allow them autonomy in the workplace, as well as the earning power of being a dentist.
You must have a bachelor’s degree to enter most accredited dental school programs, although some schools allow that to be a degree in any area versus a science degree, provided you have the prerequisite courses completed. Whether participating in a traditional school’s online or conventional program, most of these established schools do require a degree in biology, microbiology, or a similar science field. The stronger your background in science is, the better chance you have of getting into the dental program of your choice.

  • Why Do I Need a Background in Science for a Dental Degree?

Some dental programs have a list of prerequisites for applying to the program. These are science courses that provide students with a base for building their dental education. These prerequisites include courses like microbiology, organic chemistry, chemistry, physics, and biochemistry. The exact list of prerequisites varies from program to program, but for the most part, these are the types of classes you can expect to see on an accredited program’s list. If you do not have a bachelor’s degree in a related field, you will have to take these classes on their own in order to have grades to submit to a dental program. This is not common, but it can be done and is accepted by most dental programs as long as the grades in the courses are high enough. High scores in a class will not automatically admit you to a select program.

  • What is the Dental Admission Test (DAT)?

This is the test that’s required to enter all accredited dental programs in the United States and Canada. Scores and prerequisite classes also transfer between the two countries, provided they are from accredited colleges and universities. The DAT is taken on a computer and is administered throughout the country at designated testing centers. The cost to take DAT is $320 and must be paid each time a student takes the test. The DAT can be taken up to three times. After that, the student must get permission to take the test again. A duration of 90 days must pass between taking the test each time. The DAT is only taken after preliminary applications for dental school have been sent out to potential schools.

  • What is DAT like?

The DAT is considered a standardized test and is comprised of four sections. It is a timed test; students have 90 minutes to complete the survey of the natural sciences portion of the test. This section tests a student’s knowledge of biology, chemistry, and organic chemistry. The next portion of the test is the perceptual ability test (PAT), in which students have 60 minutes to finish. For reading comprehension, students are given 60 minutes and 45 minutes for the quantitative reasoning portion of the exam. The latter explores math and problem-solving skills. The total duration of the test is five hours, which includes the testing sections mentioned above, as well as 15-minute breaks (scattered throughout the test) and an optional test survey at the end.

  • How Does a School Get My DAT Score?

In the past, students put their DAT score on an application to be sent to each dental program. Starting in 2011, schools now download a student’s score off the DAT website. If the test is taken multiple times, all scores are downloaded and viewed by the program. When registering for the DAT, a student designates which schools should have access to their score for application consideration.

  • Do I Need a Letter of Recommendation for Masters and Doctoral Dental Degrees?

This varies widely, as some established programs only require prerequisite courses and an appropriate DAT score. Other schools do require a letter of recommendation. Because many students in the dental field have limited work experience in the area, this letter of recommendation usually comes from a past professor or academic instructor. This should be from an instructor who teaches a science course that was on the institution’s list of prerequisite courses. For those who have worked in the dental field, the letter can be completed by a colleague or former supervisor. The letter should be written by someone you have known a while and who understands your work ethic and career goals. Because a letter of recommendation can take time to write, be sure to make the request a few months in advance. Most people will let you look over the letter to make sure it is what you need.

  • Differences Between DDS and DDM ➤

The DDS degree typically takes eight years to complete, from undergraduate school through the doctoral stage. A DDS is a general dentist, much like a primary care physician. It is the first line of contact when encountering trouble with the teeth or gums and is the doctor people see for maintenance, regular teeth cleaning, and minor dental work. A DDS refers patients to more specialized dental doctors who care specifically for the gums or treat extreme cases of tooth decay. The DDM does the same thing, it is simply a different title at some dental schools. Most schools do not offer both a DDS or DDM program because they are such similar degrees, and courses are virtually interchangeable.

  • Is There an Interview Process for Dental School?

Many established schools have an interview process for applicants. After reviewing your application, a student is sent an interview form. Students are expected to answer questions with honesty. The application displays a student’s passion for the field and may also request a letter of recommendation. After this application is received by the school, you may have to set up a time to meet with a pre-dental community to learn more about the program and tell them why you’re a good candidate for your select degree.

  • Is Dentistry Growing?

Dentistry is set to grow slightly faster than other industries in the coming decade. Dentists will experience a 16 percent increase in the need for their services. The vast majority of dentists work for themselves in private practices, though some dentists work with other dentists in one facility that offers general dentistry, an orthodontist, an oral surgeon, and other specialized areas of dentistry. This allows patients to visit the same facility for all of their dental needs. Pediatric dentistry is also on the rise, as parents look to prevention methods to ensure their children have good oral health practices from a very young age.

  • Changes in the Dental Field ➤

In large cities, the dental field is changing, and taking a more cosmetic approach to dentistry. Now dentists in cities like Manhattan and Los Angeles area looking to provide patients with a relaxing experience at the dentist to make the environment less threatening. General care dentists are partnering with cosmetic dentists and technicians that are certified to perform Botox and other cosmetic injections, along with the latest in teeth whiteners. This spa-like experience is what’s changing the dentistry field and taking it in a new direction. Dentists are finding that patients enjoy this treatment and are willing to spend money on dental aesthetics and oral health.
There are also many baby boomer dentists retiring from the field soon, or seeing far fewer patients. This opens spots for new dentists. Dental demand is increasing due to a growing population. The business of dentistry tends to follow general business trends since services are often paid for by insurance companies.


Dental Specialties

When it comes to dentistry, there are varieties of specialties that branch off from the area of dentistry. For a specialty to be added to the list it has to be formally recognized by the America Dental Association (ADA) and meet the Requirements for Recognition of Dental Specialties and National Certifying Boards for Dental Specialists.

Dental specialties require further training. Shown below are the additional number of training years required. After these additional years of training, you may also be required to complete a two-year residency program in your chosen specialty. In addition, you will also have to acquire a specialty license.

The ADA currently recognizes nine dental specialties.

1. Dental Public Health: this specialty is unique in that, unlike the other eight specialties in the list, dental public health is not primarily a clinical specialty. This specialty focuses on dental and oral health issues. Specialists in this field need to understand and apply planning, implementation, operation, and evaluation of dental public health programs. In addition, they will also need to understand the processes under which health policies are developed and regulated.
Dental public health programs vary from a certificate program to a master’s (M.P.H) and doctoral (D.P.H) programs.
Length of program: 12 – 24 months

2. Endodontics: is a branch of dentistry, which specializes in the treatment of the internal tissue or “pulp” of the tooth. With nerves and blood vessels predominantly making up this area of the tooth, an endodontist will perform root canal treatments and other procedures, prevention, and treatment of diseases and injuries involving the inner tooth.
Endodontics programs vary from certificates to degree programs at a master’s (M.S.D) level.
Length of program: 24 – 36 months

3. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology: this is a specialty of dentistry and discipline of pathology that covers treatment and management of diseases affecting the oral and maxillofacial regions. Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology involves research as well as a variety of examinations, including clinical, microscopic, radiographic, biochemical, etc. in order to diagnosis the disease.
Dental public health programs vary from a certificate program to a master’s (M.P.H) and doctoral (Ph.D.) programs.
Length of program: Most are 36 months

4. Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology: this is a sociality of dentistry and a discipline of radiology and deals with the production and interpretation of images and data produced by all modalities of radiant energy. These include, but are not limited to, multislice CT, MRI, PET, cone-beam CT, ultrasound scan, cephalometric imaging, dental panoramic radiology, and intra-oral imaging. These are used to diagnose and manage diseases related to the oral and maxillofacial area.
Length of program: 24 to 36 months

5. Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery: this specialty of dentistry involves diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects, which relate to the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial area. An Oral and Maxillofacial surgeon could deal with problems ranging from the removal of impacted teeth to the repair of facial trauma.
Oral and Maxillofacial surgery programs vary from certificates to M.D. degrees.
Length of program: Four to six years

6. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics: the specialty of orthodontics deals with the straightening and alignment of the teeth and jaw, the most familiar treatment being braces. They will also deal with the issues involving bone in and around the mouth area, which may relate to other health issues. While Dentofacial orthopedics involves the guidance of facial growth and development, for example with the use of headgear and expanders.
Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics programs offer certificates or degrees at the master’s (M.S.D.) level.
Length of program: 24 to 36 months

7. Pediatric Dentistry: this specialty of dentistry deals with the diagnosis and treatment of infants and children through adolescence. It also includes the treatment of children with special health care needs.
Pediatric dentistry programs offer certificates or degrees at a master’s (M.S.D.) or doctoral (Ph.D.) level.
Length of program: 24 to 36 months

8. Periodontics: this specialty involves the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases affecting the area around the tooth or dental implant, including the gums and other tissues.
Periodontics programs offer certificates or degrees at a master’s (M.S.D.) or doctoral (Ph.D.) level.
Length of program: Vary, but most are 36 months

9. Prosthodontics: individuals who have specialized in prosthodontics deals with the restoration and replacement of missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.
Prosthodontics programs offer certificates or degrees at the master’s (M.S.D.) level.
Length of program: 12 to 36 months

Know about different attractive positions in dentistry ➤

As with the expansion of the health care industry, there is a dire need of professionals at the cross-section of industry, whether it is an area of health care, talented people are needed for a number of tasks and utilities in that section of medicine and health. Among all the necessary sections of the health care industry, one area that is in must and will be needed in health care is dental the industry that is growing rapidly along with other health care sectors. However, the dental industry lacks a lot in numbers of qualified and motivated professionals. Among a number of positions available with Dental career, the most popular ones are Dental Assistant, Dental Hygienist, and Dental Office, Administrator.

Dental Assistant ➣
He performs the number of duties as related to the profession of dental care. He works in the laboratory, office care, and patient duties are to assist the dentist in the day-to-day operations of life. A dental assistant works alongside the dentist for testing and examining the patient. His other routine tasks are sterilizing instruments and equipment, making instruments prepare for procedures, etc. With job experience, a dental assistant can broaden his sphere to work now as he can take and process X-rays. Can remove stitches, can apply topical anesthetics, place rubber dams on the teeth to isolate them for individual treatment. The Dental assistant programs are offered by a number of institutes including junior colleges, trade schools, technical institutes, and the armed forces.

Dental hygienist ➣
It as an important part of the oral healthcare industry as a Dental hygienist. A dental hygienist helps the dentist to take care of the dental hygiene of the patient. To become a dental hygienist, it takes two years of college course work and training to become a dental hygienist. They perform a number of duties in dental care like removing plaque and developing surface of teeth, taking and developing dental X-rays, applying sealants and fluoride to teeth, teaching patients about oral hygiene techniques so that they may keep along with oral health. Performing clerical duties for the dental off

Dental Office Administrator ➣
This career is more related to administrative aspects of the job rather than the medical qualifications. A dental office administrator looks at the clerical duties of a dental office. He performs tasks and duties like answering phones, scheduling appointments, relating to patient accounts, preparing insurance claims, handling accounts, and many other procedural task and duties. He is very important to a dental office as he looks at and manages the dental office. The Dental office administrator programs are offered by a number of community colleges, technical institutes, and post-secondary vocational schools. These programs aim towards providing a student with office skills and specialized dental office training. He is trained for skills like marketing, patient communication, staff relations, insurance billing, and account management. Duration for the program extends from 24 weeks to one year as provided with the certificate.
Dental Degrees: All you Need to know Dental Degrees: All you Need to know Reviewed by swapee dee on February 10, 2020 Rating: 5
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