What Core Courses Are Required for a Dental Degree?

In dental school, both coursework and clinical experience play important roles in developing future dentists. Read on to learn more about the core courses that are required for a dental degree. Schools offering Dental Assisting degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Overview of a Dental Degree

Because there are different educational paths within the field of dentistry, you can choose from several types of dental degree programs, such as a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) or a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS). While the curricula of these programs may vary depending on the specific degree offered, many of the core courses are similar.

Important Facts About This Occupation

PrerequisitesBachelor's degree and completion of specific undergrad lab/coursework
Some Residency SpecializationsEndontics, orthodontics, periodontics, prosthetics
Online AvailabilityUncommon, though some courses may be offered online
Continuing EducationRequired in all states to maintain dental licensure
Median Salary (2018)$151,850
Job Growth (2016-2026)19%

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Core Courses Description

Dental Anatomy

This course introduces students to the principles of dental anatomy. You will learn about the morphology and nomenclature of individual teeth. You'll also explore tooth function and the way that tooth anatomy affects clinical dental procedures. Tooth form and contour are also discussed.


First-year students are introduced to the occlusion of permanent teeth. You'll look at the normal and abnormal ways in which maxillary and mandibular teeth come into contact. Waxing exercises help dental students develop an understanding of occlusal concepts.

Dental Materials

This course introduces students to the physical, chemical and mechanical characteristics of many dental materials. The history of dental materials and the nature of metals and alloys are discussed. Other dental materials, including resins, waxes, cements and sealers, are studied.

Oral Pathology

Oral pathology provides a survey of the many diseases of the face and maxillofacial region. You will learn to identify and manage conditions, such as oral cancer and salivary gland lesions. Pathology report interpretation is also examined.

Fixed Prosthodontics

The many aspects of restorative dentistry are introduced in this course. Students learn how to crown a tooth, mount casts and perform single unit provisional restorations.

Other Core Courses

Because there is some variety in core courses based on the degree you choose to earn, other core courses in your dental degree program might include the following:

  • Clinical dentistry
  • Pharmacology
  • Periodontics
  • Geriatric Dentistry

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:
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