There are a number of professional degrees in dentistry offered by dental schools in various countries around the world.
On this page
- 1 Degrees
- 2 Dental specialties
- 3 India
- 4 Australia
- 5 Canada
- 6 Finland
- 7 Israel
- 8 United States
- 9 South Africa
- 10 United Kingdom and Ireland
- 11 Bangladesh
Degrees acknowledged world wide across North America, Europe, and Asia are:
- Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS)
- Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD)
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS)
There are a number of post-graduate degrees in dentistry as well.
- Master of Science (MS or MSc)
- Master of Science in Dentistry (MSD)
- Master of Medical Science (MMSc)
- Master of Dentistry (MDent)
- Doctor of Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent)
- Bachelor dental surgery (BDS)
- Fellow College of Physician and Surgeons (FCPS)
- Doctor of Dental Science (DDSc)
- Doctor of Medical Science (DMSc)
- Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
- Doctor of Dentistry
In some universities, especially in the U.S., some post-graduate programs award Certificate only.
- Certificate, GPR/AEGD/Dental Anesthesiology
- Certificate, Endodontics/Prosthodontics/Periodontics/Orthodontics/Dental Public Health/Pediatric Dentistry/OMS (CODA-recognized specialty programs)
In Commonwealth countries, the Royal Colleges of dentistry (or Faculty of Dentistry of the College) awards post-nominals upon completion of a series of examinations.
- Fellow of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Surgeons (FDSRCS)
- Membership in Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow [MFDS RCPS(Glasg)]
- Membership in Faculty of Dental Surgery of the Royal College Surgeons (MFDS RCS)
- Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (FRACDS)
- Membership in Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (MRACDS)
- Membership in Orthodontics, Royal College of Surgeons (M.Orth RCS)
- Fellow of Royal College of Dentists of Canada (FRCD(C))
- Member of Royal College of Dentists of Canada (MRCD(C))
- Fellow College of Physician and Surgeons, Bangladesh (FCPS)
- Fellow College of Physician and Surgeons, Pakistan (FCPS)
In the U.S., most dental specialists attain Board Certification (Diplomate Status) by completing a series of written and oral examinations with the appropriate Boards. e.g. Diplomate, American Board of Periodontics.
Each fully qualifies the holder to practice dentistry in at least the jurisdiction in which the degree was presented, assuming local and federal government licensure requirements are met.
In addition to general dentistry, there are about 2,009 recognized dental specialties in the US, Canada, India and Australia. To become a specialist requires one to train in a residency or advanced graduate training program. Once residency is completed, the doctor is granted a certificate of specialty training. Many specialty programs have optional or required advanced degrees such as a master’s degree: (MS, MSc, MDS, MSD, MDSc, MMSc, MPhil, or MDent), doctoral degree: (DClinDent, DChDent, DMSc, PhD), or medical degree: (MD/MBBS specific to maxillofacial surgery and sometimes oral medicine).
- Orthodontics: 2–3 years
- Endodontics: 2–3 years
- Oral and maxillofacial surgery: 4–6 years (additional time for MD/MBBS degree granting programs)
- Periodontics: 3 years
- Prosthodontics: 2–3 years
- Maxillofacial prosthodontics 1 year (a prosthodontist may elect to sub-specialize in maxillofacial prosthodontics)
- Oral and maxillofacial radiology: 3 years
- Oral and maxillofacial pathology: 3–5 years
- Pediatric Dentistry: 2–3 years
- Dental public health: 3 years
The following are not currently recognized dental specialties in the US:
- Anesthesiology (programs currently undergoing CODA accreditation and ADA review): 2–3 years
- Oral medicine: 2–4 years
- Special needs dentistry 3 years
- Cosmetic Dentistry – ranges from a weekend course to a 1-year course depending on the certificate issuing agency.
Dentists who have completed accredited specialty training programs in these fields are designated registrable (U.S. “Board Eligible”) and warrant exclusive titles such as orthodontist, oral and maxillofacial surgeon, endodontist, pedodontist, periodontist, or prosthodontist upon satisfying certain local (U.S. “Board Certified”), (Australia/NZ: “FRACDS”), or (Canada: “FRCD(C)”) registry requirements.
In India, training in dentistry is through a 5-year BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) course, which includes 4 years of study followed by one year of internship. As of 2010, there were a total of 291 colleges (39 run by the government and 252 in the private sector) offering dental education. This amounts to an annual intake of 23,690 graduates.
Post graduate training is for three years in the concerned speciality. Master of Dental Surgery (MDS) is offered in the following subjects –
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Conservative Dentistry & Endodontics
- Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopaedics
- Oral Pathology & Microbiology
- Community Dentistry
- Pedodontics and Preventive Dentistry
- Oral Medicine Diagnosis and Radiology.
Dental education in India is regulated by the Dental Council of India.
Australia has nine dental schools:
- University of Sydney, NSW
- Charles Sturt University, NSW*
- Griffith University, QLD*
- University of Queensland, QLD
- James Cook University, QLD*
- University of Adelaide, SA
- La Trobe University, VIC*
- University of Melbourne, VIC
- University of Western Australia, WA
(*) indicates new university dental programs that have opened up to aim at increasing the number of rural dental students entering and to return to rural practice. Traditional “sandstone” universities have been Sydney, Melbourne, Queensland, Adelaide and Western Australia.
Sydney (as of 2001), Melbourne (as of 2010) and Western Australia (as of 2013) have switched to 4-year graduate program that require a previous bachelor’s degree for admission.
Post-graduate training is available in all dental specialties. Degrees awarded used to be Master of Dental Surgery/Science (MDS/MDSc), but lately have changed to Doctorate in Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent).
New Zealand has only one dental school:
- University of Otago, Dunedin
The Faculty of Dentistry awards Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS) and Master of Community Dentistry (MComDent) for public health & community dentistry, and Doctorate in Clinical Dentistry (DClinDent) for the other dental specialties.
The body responsible for registering dental practitioners is the Dental Council of New Zealand (DCNZ).
Trans Tasman Mutual recognition
Both Australia and New Zealand recognize the educational and professional qualifications and grant professional licenses via reciprocity identical to the United States and Canada.
General Dental Council of the UK
The United Kingdom General Dental Council had been recognizing the Australian and New Zealand dental qualification as registrable degree until 2000. Graduates who have applied for dental license registration in the United Kingdom now have to sit the Overseas Registration Exam (ORE), a three-part examination.
Australia and Canada have a reciprocal accreditation agreement which allows graduates of Canadian or Australian dental schools to register in either country. However, this only applies to the graduates of 2011 class and does not apply to the previous years graduates.
Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons
Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (RACDS) is a post-graduate body that focuses on post-graduate training of general practitioners and specialist dentists. Additional post-graduate qualifications can be obtained through the College after the candidate has completed the Primary Examination (basic science examination in Anatomy, Histology, Physiology, Biochemistry, Pathology and Microbiology) and the Final Examination (clinical subjects in dentistry). After the successful completion of the examinations and meeting the College requirements, the candidate is awarded the title of Fellow of Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons (FRACDS). For the dental specialists, the exam pathway is similar (Primary Examinations) and then clinical/oral examinations just prior to completing the specialist training leads to the award of the title Member of Royal Australasian College of Dental Surgeons in Special Field Stream (MRACDS(SFS)). For the busy GP dentists, MRACDS in general stream is also available.
There are ten approved dental schools in Canada:
- University of Toronto (1868)
- McGill University (1905)
- Université de Montréal (1905)
- Dalhousie University (1908)
- University of Alberta (1923)
- University of Manitoba (1958)
- University of British Columbia (1964)
- University of Western Ontario (1966)
- University of Saskatchewan (1968)
- Université Laval (1971)
Several Universities in Canada offer the DDS degree, including the University of Toronto, the University of Western Ontario, the University of Alberta, and Dalhousie University, while the remaining Canadian dental schools offer the Doctor of Dental Medicine degree to their graduates.
Additional qualifications can be obtained through the Royal College of Dentists of Canada (RCDC) administers examinations for qualified dental specialists as part of the dentistry profession in Canada. The current examinations are known as the National Dental Specialty Examination (NDSE). Successful completion may lead to Fellowship in the College (FRCD(C)) and may be used for provincial registration purposes.
Canada has a reciprocal accreditation agreement with Australia, Ireland, and the United States which allows graduates of Canadian dental schools to work in any of the 4 countries.
In Finland, education in dentistry is through a 5.5-year Licenciate of Dental Medicine (DMD or DDS) course, which is offered after high school graduation. Application is by a national combined dental and medical school entry examination. As of 2011, dentistry is provided by Faculties of Medicine in 4 universities:
- University of Helsinki
- University of Turku
- University of Oulu
- University of Eastern Finland, Kuopio Campus
1st phase of training begins with a unified 2-year pre-clinical training for dentists and physicians. Problem-based learning (PBL) is employed depending on university. 3rd year autumn consists of clinico-theoretical phase in pathology, genetics, radiology and public health and is partially combined with physicians’ 2nd phase. 3rd phase clinical training lasts for the remaining 3 years and includes periods of being on call at University Central Hospital Trauma Centre, Clinic of Oral and Maxillofacial Diseases and at the Children’s clinic. Candidates who successfully complete the 4th year of training qualify for a paid summer rotation in a Community health center of their choice. Annual intake of dentists into Faculties of Medicine is a national total 160 students.
Ph.D. research is strongly encouraged alongside post graduate training. Post graduate training is available in all 4 universities and lasts an additional 3–6 years.
There are 11 post graduate programs:
- Pedodontology and Preventive Dentistry
- Cariology and Endodontology
- Prosthodontology and Stomatognathic physiology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology
- Oral and Maxillofacial Medicine
- Oral Clinical Microbiology (Program starts in 2014)
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Oral Public Health
In Israel there are two dental schools, The Hebrew University-Hadassah School of Dental Medicine in Jerusalem, founded by the Alpha Omega Fraternity and The Tel Aviv University School of Dental Medicine in Tel Aviv. The two schools have 6-year program and provide Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degrees. In last decades, the students eligible to Bachelor of Medical Sciences (BMedSc) degree after the first three years of training.
In the United States, at least three years of undergraduate education are required in order to be admitted to a dental school; however, most dental schools require at least a bachelor’s degree. There is no mandatory course of study as an undergraduate other than completing the requisite “pre-dental” courses, which generally includes one year of general biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, physics, English, and higher level mathematics such as statistics and calculus. Some dental schools have requirements that go beyond the basic requirements such as psychology, sociology, biochemistry, anatomy, physiology etc. The majority of pre-dental students major in a science but this is not required as some students elect to major in a non-science related field.
In addition to core prerequisites, the Dental Admission Test, a multiple choice standardized exam, is also required for potential dental students. The DAT is usually taken during the spring semester of one’s junior year. The vast majority of dental schools require an interview before admissions can be granted. The interview is designed to evaluate the motivation, character, and personality of the applicant. It is often a crucial step in the admissions process.
For the 2009-2010 application cycle, 11,632 applicants applied for admission to dental schools in the United States. Just 4,067 were eventually accepted. The average dental school applicant entering the school year in 2009 had an overall GPA of 3.54 and a science GPA of 3.46. Additionally, their mean DAT Academic Average (AA) was 19.00 while their DAT Perceptual Ability Test (PAT) score was 19.40.
Dental education and training
Dental school is four academic years in duration and is similar in format to medical school: two years of basic medical and dental sciences, followed by two years of clinical training (with continued didactic coursework). Before graduating, every dental student must successfully complete the National Board Dental Examination Part I and II (commonly referred to as NBDE I & II). The NBDE Part I is usually taken at the end of the second year after the majority of the didactic courses have been completed. The NBDE Part I covers Gross Anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, microbiology, pathology, and dental anatomy and occlusion. The NBDE Part II is usually taken during winter of the last year of dental school and consists of operative dentistry, pharmacology, endodontics, periodontics, oral surgery, pain control, prosthodontics, orthodontics, pedodontics, oral pathology, and radiology. NBDE Part I scores are Pass/Fail since 2012.
After graduating, the vast majority of new dentists go directly into practice while a small, yet increasing, percentage of dentists apply to a residency program. Some residency programs train dentists in advanced general dentistry such as General Practice Residencies and Advanced Education in General Dentistry Residencies, commonly referred to as GPR and AEGD. Most GPR and AEGD programs are one year in duration but several are two years long or provide an optional second year. GPR programs are usually affiliated with a hospital and thus require the dentist to treat a wide variety of patients including trauma, critically ill, and medically compromised patients. Additionally, GPR programs require residents to rotate through various departments within the hospital, such as anesthesia, internal medicine, and emergency medicine, to name a few. AEGD programs are usually in a dental school setting where the focus is treating complex cases in a comprehensive manner.
DDS vs DMD degree
In the United States the Doctor of Dental Surgery and Doctor of Dental Medicine are terminal applied doctorates which qualify a professional for licensure. The DDS and DMD degrees are generally considered equivalent. The American Dental Association specifies:
The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. They are awarded upon graduation from dental school to become a General Dentist. The majority of dental schools award the DDS degree; however, some award a DMD degree. The education and degrees are, in substance, the same.
Harvard University was the first dental school to award the DMD degree. Harvard only grants degrees in Latin, and the Latin translation of Doctor of Dental Surgery, “Chirurgiae Dentium Doctoris”, did not share the “DDS” initials of the English term. “The degree ‘Scientiae Dentium Doctoris’, which would leave the initials of DDS unchanged, was then considered, but was rejected on the ground that dentistry was not a science.” (The word order in Latin is not fixed, only the inflections; “Scientiae Dentium Doctoris” = “Doctoris Dentium Scientiae”.) A Latin scholar was consulted. It was finally decided that “Medicinae Doctoris” be modified with “Dentariae”. This is how the DMD, or “Doctor Medicinae Dentariae” degree, was started. (The genitive inflection -is on “Doctoris” instead of the nominative “Doctor” simply reflects that the syntax on the diploma was “the degree of Doctor of Dental Medicine”; they are both correct.) The assertion that “dentistry was not a science” reflected the view that dental surgery was an art informed by science, not a science per se—notwithstanding that the scientific component of dentistry is today recognized in the Doctor of Dental Science (DDSc) degree.
Other dental schools made the switch to this notation, and in 1989, 23 of the 66 North American dental schools awarded the DMD. There is no meaningful difference between the DMD and DDS degrees, and all dentists must meet the same national and regional certification standards in order to practice.
Some other prominent dental schools which award the DMD degree are the University of Connecticut, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Puerto Rico, Rutgers University, Tufts, University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois at Chicago, Boston University, Temple University, Western University of Health Sciences, and University of Pittsburgh.
The United States Department of Education and the National Science Foundation do not include the DDS and DMD among the degrees that are equivalent to research doctorates.
To practice, a dentist must pass a licensing examination administered by an individual state or more commonly a region. There are a handful of states that maintain independent dental licensing examinations while the majority accept a regional board examination. The Northeast Regional Board (NERB), Western Regional Board (WREB), Central Regional Dental Testing Service (CRDTS), and Southern Regional Testing Agency (SRTA), Council of Interstate Testing Agencies (CITA) are the five regional testing agencies that administer licensing examinations. Once the examination is passed, the dentist may then apply to individual states that accept the regional board test passed. Each state requires prospective practitioners to pass an ethics/jurisprudence examination as well before a license is granted. To maintain one’s dental license the doctor must complete Continuing Dental Education (CDE) courses periodically (usually annually). This promotes the continued exploration of knowledge. The amount of CE required varies from state to state but is generally 10-25 CE hours a year.
The completion of a dental degree can be followed by either an entrance into private practice, further postgraduate study and training, or research and academics.
Training in South Africa generally comprises a 5-year degree, with 1 year compulsory medical service / internship. The country has 5 universities with dental faculties:
|University of KwaZulu-Natal||Durban||Diploma in Dental Therapy|
|University of Limpopo||MEDUNSA Campus, Pretoria||BDS, MDent, MDS (Master of Dental Science), PhD|
|University of Pretoria||School of Dentistry||Pretoria||BChD, MChD, MSc Dentistry, PhD(Dentistry), DSc|
|University of the Western Cape||Faculty of Dentistry||Cape Town||BChD, MChD, MSc(Dent), PhD, DSc(Odont)|
|University of the Witwatersrand||Johannesburg||BDS, MDent, MSc(Dent), PhD(Dent), DSc|
Until 2003, Stellenbosch University offered the B.Ch.D degree. In 2004 the dental faculties of The University of the Western Cape and Stellenbosch University merged and moved to The University of the Western Cape, which is currently the largest dental school in Africa.
Specialisation is through one of the Universities as a Master of Dentistry, or through the College of Dentistry within the Colleges of Medicine of South Africa, with certifications offered in oral medicine and periodontics, orthodontics, and prosthodontics. Research degrees are the M.Sc.(Dent) / MDS and Ph.D.(Dent).
United Kingdom and Ireland
Many universities award BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery) degrees, including The University of Sheffield, The University of Bristol, Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry, The University of Birmingham, The University of Liverpool, The University of Manchester, The University of Glasgow, The University of Dundee, The University of Aberdeen, King’s College London, the University of Cardiff, Newcastle University, Queen’s University Belfast, The University of Central Lancashire and Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry.
In the Republic of Ireland, the University College Cork awards BDS degree and Trinity College Dublin awards the BDentSc degree.
The University of Leeds awards BChD and MChD (Bachelor/Master of Dental Surgery) degrees.
The Royal Colleges of Surgeons in England, Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Ireland award LDS (Licence/Licentiate in Dental Surgery) degrees.
In Bangladesh there is a list of dentals school providing graduate education in Dentistry. The graduation in Dentistry is named here as Bachelor of Dental Surgery (BDS). At present there are three university those have Medical faculty conduct dental degree in Bangladesh. These university have different affiliated dental college that conduct the graduation dental education in Bangladesh. The three university that have Dentistry in their Medical Faculty are The University of Dhaka, The University of Chittagong and the University of Rajshahi. This three Public university have their Medical Faculty affiliated dental college and hospital those may be publicly or privately funded.
List of Bangladeshi dental colleges
University of Dhaka affiliated dental colleges are:
- Dhaka Dental College, Dhaka
- Shaheed Suhrawardy Medical College Dental Unit, Dhaka.
- Sir Salimullah Medical College Dental Unit, Dhaka.
- Mymensingh Medical College Dental Unit, Mymensingh.
- MAG Osmani Medical College Dental Unit, Sylhet.
- Sher e Bangla Medical College Dental Unit, Barisal.
- Pioneer Dental College & Hospital/ Pioneer Dental College & Hospital
- Bangladesh Dental College
- City Dental College
- University Dental College
- Sapporo Dental College
- Holy Family Red Cresect Medical College Dental Unit,Dhaka.
- Update Dental College & Hospital
- Marks Dental College
- Saphena Women’s Dental College
- Mandy Dental College
University of Chittagong affiliated dental college are:
- Chittagong Medical College Dental Unit.
- Chittagong International Dental College
University of Rajshahi affiliated dental college are:
- Rajshahi Medical College Dental Unit.
- Rangpur Medical College Dental Unit.
- Rangpur Dental College
- Udayan Dental College
Post graduation dentistry in Bangladesh
At present post graduation in specialized dentistry exist in main four clinical speciality:
- Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics
- Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery
- Conservative Dentistry and Endodontics
The FCPS degree which require four(4) years of residency training is awarded by Bangladesh College of Physician and Surgeons. It considered the most prestigious specialized Degree in Dentistry at present. There are also MS degree only in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from University of Dhaka. Very recently MS in dentistry is also started in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), the first batch of which suppose to finish their degree in 2016.