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Category: Dentist Durham NC | Dentist Office | Dental Cleaning & Cavity Prevention
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If you are thinking of becoming a dentist, you need to know what the education requirements are.  Knowing what the education requirements will help you determine if dentistry is right for you or not.  It is important to note that the requirements for licensing could vary depending on the state that you want to practice in.

The Basic Education

To become a general dentist, you will need to complete a dental degree.  The degree will need to be achieved through a school which has been accredited by the American Dental Association’s Commission on Dental Accreditation.  Only people who have completed their degree through an accredited school will be able to gain a license to practice within the United States.  

It is important to note that admission to these dental schools is highly competitive and you will need to take the DAT or Dental Admissions Test to be considered.  During the admissions process, the different schools will look at various factors including grades and interviews.  There are some dental schools which require you to have a bachelor’s degree before you apply while others do not have this requirement.

When you are accepted into the dental school, you will be able to obtain either a Doctorate of Dental Surgery or a Doctorate of Dental Medicine.  These degrees are equivalent to each other and will both take four years to complete.  The first two years of the course will include classroom and laboratory instruction of clinical and natural science.  The final two years will consist of practical experience within a dental clinic and the treatment of patients under supervision.

The Postdoctoral Education

When you have completed the necessary education requirements, you will be able to practice general dentistry.  However, if you wish to specialize, you will need to complete further education.  This will be the post doctoral education, and there are nine fields that you can choose from.

The education will also need to be completed through an accredited dental school.  The length of the post doctoral training will vary depending on the field you choose. 

Getting A License


After the education requirements have been completed, you will need to obtain a license before you can legally practice dentistry.  The specific requirements for the grant will vary depending on the state.  However, the minimum requirement is the primary education resulting in a DDS or DMD degree.  

You will also need to complete a written and clinical examination before you can gain your license.  The National Board Dental Examination is divided into two parts with multiple-choice questions.  This is the written aspect of the investigation while the state dental boards administer the clinical perspective.  If you wish to become a licensed specialist, you will need to have 2 to 4 years of postgraduate education and pass the specialist examinations after two years of residency training.

Continuing Education

While there are necessary educational requirements to become a dentist, there are further education requirements to remain one.  If you want to maintain your license, you will need to earn many continuing education credits.  The credits will be determined by the state boards, and you will need to adhere to them to retain the license.

Interview with a Current Dental Student

To give you an idea of just how much work is involved in studying to become a dentist we are going to interview Britney from Britney Goes to Dental School (YouTube channel).

She is a second-year dental student and she'll be showing us what a typical day as a student looks like.

Without further ado here's her typical day.

"Hi everyone my name is Brittany and I'm second year dental student and I'm going to show you what a typical day is like for a dental student. First thing you do is grab some breakfast. Usually I make some eggs but I'm in a rush right now so I'm gonna grab a banana and also I have a croissant here.

So let's go to school. Alright so it's all day for me is that I have class from 8:00 to 5:00 and that includes lectures in the morning, and then usually in the afternoon we have labs. Here's a quick run-through through the first floor of my school, the second floor is the clinic floor where patients are seen but I'm a second-year so I haven't met patients yet.

Students start meeting patients at their third year. So I have one more year left before I start meeting them but yeah I'm going into my first class of the day. Oh kind of random fact, but if you ever wondered why dentistry and medicine are separate it's because a long long time ago dentistry started out as barbers, so that's why they're historically separate.

Here's my lab class where everybody goes and there's their labs feed. Dentistry stands out from the other healthcare fields because we really use our hands a lot. For example, here's a project where I had to do a on leg. Back and then I got to do a 3d printing the crown using a CEREC machine. So I made that crown yeah and I'm gonna have to to cement it which is really awesome.

Another cool thing is that we give patients local anesthesia before their procedures and we also make cool things like gold crowns. We started off with wax heat up some gold and we spin it around and the goal gets hardened in that mold. Then we put it in some water to cool down and we bust it open and here you go dull golden crown. Next, after we polish it, it gets so shiny and beautiful. Another thing that we do is make dentures which is probably the hardest thing that I've done so far.

It's so intricate and even though it's hard I just feel like it pays off so much that you know you've gone to this journey and you've seen the progress of your work. So I'm back home and I usually I usually end school around 5:00 and then I go home and then I relax for a bit because I just can't study right after I go home. Then after I do all that stuff then I take a quick nap and I get started with my work.

Here is my deck setup. I have two computers, here this one is my MacBook Pro it's really really old. I use it only for editing because I do make videos every week. We're just fun but kind of stressed a lot times. Then I have my Dell which I use for all my classwork and it's touchscreen so it's really great. I guess this is turning into a dust tour, but then a huge study tip that I have for all of you students out there is to really invest in a notebook.

I basically live by this. It's not like anything like 30-minute intervals but I write down everything I need to do. I do have finals in a week so it's really, like crunch time right now so really live by it. I feel like the hardest thing in dental school at least for me is time management and in the first and second year is just so much didactic, so much science courses, so much dental courses, dental labs it's kind of hard to balance all of that.

I know in third year and fourth year when we go off to clinic it will be much easier because it's gonna be half academics half clinic. I'm still in my second year so that's why that everything is just so busy right now. Thank you so much to for letting me have the opportunity to tell you all what it is like to be a dental student. I guess the biggest difference is really the labs and later on the clinic and just balancing that with the schoolwork.

If you are interested in learning more about dental school and what it's like to be a dental student go check out my channel. I post every single week and may be able to see you guys next time. Bye."