Dentistry Colleges and Classes
Get information on what you'll study in dental school, and learn about the admission requirements. Find out about specialties, such as orthodontics and oral surgery, and explore what types of courses you might take.
What Courses Do Colleges Offer?
Dentistry courses engage the spectrum of knowledge and skills required to perform patient care and manage a practice. All degree programs involve heavy participation in clinical rotations, which give you the opportunity to practice dental techniques on patients under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Skills you may develop from clinical rotations can include patient evaluation, X-ray analysis, interpersonal communication and disease recognition. Below is a sample of courses you might take:
One of the foundations of dentistry, students in this course might expect to learn the morphology of each tooth, as well as the development of adult dentition. Students may learn the terminology of dentition and surrounding anatomical structures and tissues. Techniques for working within the mouth by making models of teeth might be introduced.
Students in this course typically learn the materials used in dentistry and how to handle them. Other topics covered might be the compositions of these materials, as well as the properties that make them useful in dentistry. Students may expect labs to work on techniques used to handle materials like dental waxes and metallics.
Oral diseases, inflammation, and disorders are usually covered in this type of course, including oral cancers, genetic diseases, and neoplasia. Students might learn detection and recognition methods, as well as treatments of these pathologies. Also covered might be handling pathology specimens and when a referral to a specialist is needed.
Students in this course typically learn cavity preparation using dental materials. This course might be hands-on with students preparing various materials such as composites and glass ionomer cement. There might also be a focus on communicating with the patient and presenting a professional manner.
This course focuses on how the teeth meet, or occlude. Students might expect to learn how to make a dental impression using dental wax, as well as the anatomy behind a proper occlusion. Students may discuss the importance of restorative dentistry to occlusal traumatism, as well as issues like temporomandibular disorders.
What Requirements Must I Meet to Enroll in Dental College?
Most dental schools require an undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or university. As part of the pre-dental degree requirements, you'll generally need to satisfy a grade point average (GPA) and meet certain curriculum requirements. While these requirements vary among schools, dental colleges usually demand a core of biology, chemistry, physics and English courses.
Some dental schools also highly recommend specific courses in areas such as microbiology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, mathematics or psychology. After you have earned your undergrad degree or while you are in your final year of school, you will need to take the dental admissions test (DAT) offered by the American Dental Association (ADA).
What Degree Will I Earn?
Completion of a dental curriculum can lead to one of two degrees: a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD). Both degree programs qualify you to take the national licensing examinations. You may also choose to pursue licensing in an area of specialization, such as endodontics, orthodontics, or periodontics, which are offered in post-graduate programs that include residencies.