What’s the Difference Between a DDS and DMD?

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When you’re looking for dentists, you probably notice their credentials – DDS or DMD. You might be wondering what each one is and what the difference is. DDS stands for Doctor of Dental Surgery. DMD is Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine. Interestingly, the education for either degree is the same. The only difference is the name. Some universities award the DDS, while others award the DMD. Either way, the dentist goes through a program on par with that of a medical school.

How Much Education Does a Dentist Need to Practice?

To get into dental school, a person needs an undergraduate degree. Typically, the degree might be in science or pre-med. The dental school will have certain courses that need to be completed to enter the program. Students who wish to enter dental school take a test to apply. This test is similar to the GRE, but it is a Dental Aptitude Test. Most schools require students to have at least a C GPA average.

During dental school, students spend almost 40 hours a week in class. Dentists have coursework that prepares them for the test that they have to take to become licensed. Some of the classes are clinical labwork where dentistry is practiced. The curriculum leans heavy on science, chemistry, anatomy and physiology, and ethics. By the third and fourth year of dental school, students begin to practice on patients under the supervision of their teachers.

Once the dentist graduates from college, he or she still must past national boards and state certifications to practice dentistry. Following that, to maintain the license, a dentist must complete continuing education courses every year of their career to stay up to date on technology and ethics in the industry.

Dentists who want to specialize in pediatric dentistry or orthodontics are required to go through additional training after graduation, at least one but up to three years of training. Most specialties have additional board certifications to go through to receive the credentials.

Your Dentist Is Well Qualified

Whether your dentist is a DMD or DDS, he or she has been through an extensive education to earn the degree. If your dentist accepts insurance, he or she has also been through an application process that verifies the information. It is quite difficult to practice as a dentist without being qualified. If you’re looking for a dentist, look beyond the degree to find a dentist in San Clemente, CA with whom you are comfortable and can have a relationship to take care of your teeth.


Thanks to John Redmond Orthodontics for their insight into dental care and the difference between DDS and DMD.