Cosmetic Dentistry Schools and Degree Programs

Get information on the education and special training you'll need for a career in cosmetic dentistry. Learn what you would study in a postgraduate certificate program, and find out about certification in this specialty. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What You Need to Know

Students interested in the cosmetic dentistry field need to first complete dental school. After graduation, they typically enter a residency or advanced certificate program in cosmetic dentistry or a closely related field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that employment of dentists will grow by 19% between 2016 and 2026, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Degrees Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM)
Training Advanced certificate programs, residency programs
Licensure Licensure in general dentistry is required

What Level of Education Will I Need to Work in Cosmetic Dentistry?

Before you can specialize in cosmetic dentistry, you must earn a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctor of Dental Medicine (DDM) through a dental school accredited by the American Dental Association (ADA) Commission on Dental Accreditation. You also must attain state licensure in general dentistry, which might mandate experience through a residency program. Requirements for dental licensure can vary from state to state.

What Programs Are Devoted Specifically to Cosmetic Dentistry?

Postgraduate training in cosmetic dentistry typically is delivered in the form of advanced certificate programs. However, because cosmetic dentistry is a relatively new specialty, there are few programs specific to the field. Instead, you might learn about aspects of cosmetic dentistry through programs in oral and maxillofacial surgery, endodontics, periodontics or prosthodontics. A small number of schools are now offering residencies and studies in esthetic dentistry. Additionally, the ADA and the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) offer online continuing education coursework in esthetic dentistry.

Schools where you can find esthetic or cosmetic dentistry studies include:

  • Boston University
  • University of Minnesota
  • Tufts University
  • New York University
  • University of California, Los Angeles

What Might I Learn?

Courses in cosmetic dentistry might teach you about bleaching and bonding techniques, crowns, veneers and methods of contouring and reshaping teeth. Other topics explored in these programs include:

  • Porcelain restoration
  • Ceramic onlays
  • Crown and bridge protheses
  • Computer-generated restorations
  • Teeth and gum disease treatment

If you're enrolled in a postgraduate certificate program, you'll likely attend lectures as well as complete laboratory work and patient presentations. You also may be required to publish one or more articles on cosmetic procedures in dentistry.

Is Specialty Licensure Available?

Cosmetic dentistry isn't one of the nine specialties approved by the ADA's Council on Dental Education and Licensure, so specialty licensure isn't available. However, cosmetic dentists can become accredited members of the American Academy for Cosmetic Dentistry. This multi-year process involves passing a written exam, attending two workshops and submitting a number of clinical cases. Candidates are then invited to take an oral examination.

Topics covered on the exams might include case selection, diagnoses and treatment options, as well as photography and radiography. Candidates also should be familiar with dental anatomy and esthetic issues, such as color, shade and appearance of teeth, as well as smile design. Prosthodontic and periodontic elements also might be addressed.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

  • 1. Degree Options:
The schools in the listing below are not free and may include sponsored content but are popular choices among our users. Tuition and costs will vary across programs and locations. Be sure to always request tuition information before starting a program.

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